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Centre Nears Completion of Dedicated Policy for Deeptech Startups: DPIIT Secretary

The Indian government is close to finalizing a dedicated policy for deeptech startups, aiming to boost sectors like AI and spacetech. Discover the growth and challenges faced by these innovative companies.

Rajesh Kumar Singh, secretary of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, announced that the central government is in the final stages of developing a dedicated policy to support deeptech startups. This announcement was made during the Startup Mahakumbh event's inaugural session in New Delhi on Monday (March 18).

Singh stated, "Government of India is in the process of creating a separate dedicated deeptech startup policy. The policy paper is currently in the final stages of inter-ministerial discussions and we hope to bring it forward soon. After its introduction, we will hopefully move towards creating a dedicated fund of funds." He serves as a secretary in the Commerce Ministry's Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT).

This development aligns with the government's focus on advancing segments such as artificial intelligence (AI), semiconductor manufacturing, spacetech, and other related sectors.

In her interim budget speech, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced a corpus of INR 1 Lakh Cr to provide 50-year interest-free loans for research and development in the sunrise sectors.

Singh also highlighted the government's aim to increase its procurement from the startup ecosystem. GeM has procured about 22k crore worth of products from startups.

Before 2014, India had fewer than 100 deeptech startups, but between 2014 and 2023, this number surged more than 4 times to over 400 startups, according to Inc42 data. The ecosystem has evolved to include new sub-sectors such as defence tech, dronetech, spacetech, IoT & hardware, and robotic process automation.

These startups leverage advanced technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), cloud computing, machine learning (ML), big data analytics, robotic process automation, Gen AI, and more to address complex global problems with innovative solutions, attracting investors to the sector.

Despite funding challenges, the sector has grown continuously. In 2023, deeptech startups raised $496 Mn compared to $397 Mn in 2022, according to Inc42's latest "Indian Tech Startup Funding Report 2023". Overall, between 2014 and 2023, deep tech startups in India have secured over $1.5 Bn in funding across 343+ deals. Notable startups in the ecosystem include Grey Orange, Smartron, FanCraze, and 5ire among others.