Even as technology firms across the world are reeling from the effects of what is described as a ‘tech winter’, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, India’s Minister of State for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, and Electronics and Information Technology, believes India is not seeing anything remotely close to what the rest of the tech world is going through.
He believes what India is going through now is a normal part of a startup ecosystem, where many fail and some succeed. “People tend to conflate the two, just because the common theme is tech. The US tech disruption or the structural changes that they are going through are for very different reasons and is a very different phenomenon,” said Chandrasekhar in an exclusive chat with Gulf News on the sidelines of the India Global Forum 2022 currently underway in Dubai.
Chandrasekhar attributed the restructuring at Facebook to their investment in Metaverse and the shedding of the workforce by Google and other big tech companies to the US economy going into a recession. “By any stretch of the imagination, I wouldn’t characterise this as a ‘tech winter’, because what I’m seeing in India is an unprecedented, accelerated growth and expansion of innovation, with startups continuing to grow. There is a slowdown in foreign capital flows. There is clearly a correction in valuation, but the appetite for entrepreneurship, the creation of startups, and the investments into that continue to be very, very robust. If anything, it is summer and autumn, with a slight excessive rainfall that has caused people to be a little bit more careful,” he added.
The minister also pointed out that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to deliver subsidies and benefits to citizens directly using technology is what led to India Stack being established as firmly and extensively as it is today. He said India Stack has helped address a decades-old problem of trust within the government and trust between the government and citizens.
He also said that there are several countries that are interested in replicating the programme. “As the Prime Minister has said during the India G20 presidency, we will offer India Stack and we will create an ecosystem in partnerships with certain countries who are interested and proliferate this to the Global South, because the narrative of technology has been so far that the rich and the big have it and the poor countries don’t have it.” He added that India wants to partner with the UAE to offer and proliferate India stack to countries in the Global South.
Chandrasekhar also said India is already playing a role in the electronics value chain and a growing role in the global semiconductor value chain. “It used to be that it was completely dominated by China till recently. We think that post-COVID there is an alternative global order for electronics and semiconductors emerging. And India is poised to play a role in that and be a trusted partner to the consuming nations,” the minister added.