Make in India is an initiative started by the Government of India to promote national, as well as multi-national corporations to manufacture their goods in India. Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched it on 25 September 2014. Similarly, Startup India; another campaign which is based on an action plan aimed at improving bank financing for startup ventures to increase entrepreneurship and encourage startups with jobs creation. The campaign was also announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his 15 August 2015 address from the Red Fort.
Digital India is another promising campaign launched by the Government of India to assure that Government services are made accessible to civilians electronically by improved online infrastructure and by improving Internet connectivity or by making the nation digitally enabled in the area of technology. It was launched on 2 July 2015 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
All three campaigns look impressing at first sight and seem promising that India will grow fastly. But is it happening or not?
A picture has been portrayed that Startup India campaign is doing wonders but those people who are active in Indian startup ecosystem and trying to make a change, know very well that it’s not happening the way it should be?
I feel, somehow in between Startup India and Digital India Government has forgotten Make In India. Why? Let me share with you each campaign issue(s) which I faced recently.
Let’s talk about Startup India first. This year India International Trade Fair’s theme was #StartupIndia, and a proper hall (Number 18) was dedicated to startups at Pragati Maidan. I entered the section with lots of enthusiasm and thought that now I will see lots of innovative startups. But it ended not making a good effect on anyone out there I guess as I had a word with few people and they said there is nothing innovative except very few things they could see. There were startups for renting a house or services, consult a doctor online, different kinds of toys for children and similarly some more.
Some of the innovations or right enough startup stalls were Soil-Free Farming, Baybee, the plastic tiles, Secure fire and few others.
Apart from that, there was no one to explain about the startup(s). Either there was a security guard or a random person sitting at the desk, and they were completely blank about the stall or startup idea I should say.
Let’s talk about Make In India campaign: In IITF 2017, products were getting distributed as a free startup goodie. One of those goodies which my friend and I got, I noticed something written on the product and that was “Made In Taiwan.” Wow! So, these guys are promoting their #StartupIndia campaign and demoting their another campaign?
— Anshumaan Vishnu (@AnshumaanVishnu) November 27, 2017
They could produce it in India, right? But instead of that, they exported it from Taiwan which is apparently not a good sign for both the campaigns. On one side they talk about creating more job opportunities and produce things within India, but on another hand, they are not following it at all.
Let’s talk about our so-called Digital India! The problem lies because people think this is a smart and digitally empowered country just because they have a smartphone device in their hands. If you really want to see how digitally modified land we are living in; try looking surroundings around you. India is not digital when we have a smartphone and doing everything on the phone. If you look closely, you will feel like we are living in surrounding countryside. We will be digitally robust only if our nearby areas are digital.
For example, if you go to ATM, half of them will be not working correctly. They should be working correctly, no? Another example I will give you of Post Offices, try visiting General Post Office (GPO, Kashmere Gate), One of the oldest post offices in India. On the name of digitalization, they have ATM swipe machines only. Try asking them if you can buy postal stamps online? Or similar questions like if you could track a parcel or something online? Half of them will not be capable of answering appropriately. They do not have enough fast servers or computers, and this is what we call digitalization! Same goes for many more places. You will find yourselves if you start seeing closely. Give it a try!
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