Role of start-ups and innovators in Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan
PM Modi’s call for Atma Nirbhar Bharat provides a unique opportunity for Indian start-ups to locally produce innovative and affordable products.
In May 2020, PM Narendra Modi gave a call for Atma Nirbhar Bharat or a self-reliant India which shall stand on the five pillars of Economy, Infrastructure, Technology, Demand, and a Vibrant Demography. Following this the Finance Minister had announced four tranches for implementation of the programme.
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The first tranche contained 16 specific announcements spanning across MSME, NBFC, real estate, power sectors, etc. The second tranche focuses on providing free food grains to migrant workers who do not possess ration cards. The third tranche of the economic relief package focuses on agricultural marketing reforms. The final tranche focuses on the sectors of defence, aviation, power, mineral, atomic and space.
India’s path to self-reliance
A key takeaway from the announcement by the PM is that the Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan is a framework for building a self-reliant India, which would be competitive globally. It is also looking to strengthening local manufacturing, building local supply chains, and converting local products into global brands.
Indian start-ups and innovators will play a vital role in the success of the mission. The Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan is a chance for Indian start-ups to take charge of the innovations for which we are usually dependent on global suppliers. They can lead the way by innovating and bringing to market products and services that are world-class yet affordable. They are quick to spot opportunities in adversities and innovate in limited time and budget to make competitive products. Start-ups in sectors like automation, fin-tech, supply chain, logistics, healthcare, etc. would lead the charge in the mission.
The success story of Adivasi Women in Chhattisgarh is one of the many examples of a self-reliant India. As Covid-19 spread globally resulting in the shortage of hand sanitisers amongst other products, women from Chhattisgarh are steering contribution to India’s collective fight against the coronavirus. ‘Madhukam’ is a brand of herbal hand sanitiser developed by these women with guidance from Samarth Jain, a scientist, researcher, and a consultant. He paved the way for developing the hand sanitiser from the base of the traditional mahua brew, which is an integral part of Adivasi life and culture. Earlier, the mahua brew prepared by the women would be used for making alcohol at home using traditional methods.
Another shining example of Atma Nirbhar Bharat is a Bengaluru based Startup, Bellatrix Aerospace. One of the biggest constraints in space technology is the cost and weight of fuel. This also reduces the capacity of the satellite to carry payload. The company has developed a new propulsion system that lets satellites take on more payload. The indigenous electric propulsion system for satellites, called Microwave Plasma Thrusters (MPT) offers its customers the ability to take bigger payloads into space at a reasonable cost. The company also claims that it is eco-friendly and a cleaner alternative to the existing electric propulsion.
These innovations are just a couple of examples of how Start-ups will play a vital role in giving give a deeper meaning to Aatma Nirbhar Bharat.
*Disclaimer: The views expressed herein constitute the sole prerogative of the author. They neither imply nor suggest the orientation, views, current thinking, or position of FICCI.
Dr Param Shah is Director – UK, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI).