Draft National Deep Tech Startup Policy published by Principal Scientific Adviser

The draft policy seeks to preserve Indian firms’ interests, while promoting more coordination to develop tech startups that work on fundamental problem solving in key areas.

July 31, 2023 11:00 pm | Updated 11:00 pm IST - NEW DELHI

The office of the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government put out a draft National Deep Tech Startup Policy (NDTSP) for public comment on Monday, following two versions that were iterated at high levels with other government departments, academia and stakeholder firms. The policy seeks to “ensure India’s position in the global deep tech value chain,” in areas such as semiconductors, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and space tech.

The policy seeks to bolster research and development in deep tech start-ups, which work on fundamental and technical problems, unlike firms that monetise technology with distinguished business models, the draft says. The policy also seeks to find approaches to provide financing to deep tech start-ups at critical moments, such as before they go to market with their products or ideas.

Additionally, the policy seeks to simplify the intellectual property regime for such start-ups, ease regulatory requirements, and proposes a slew of measures to promote these firms. For instance, the NDTSP suggests that an Export Promotion Board be created to ease barriers of entry for Indian deep tech start-ups into foreign markets, and that clauses to ease such market access be included in foreign trade agreements.

The policy also includes resource-intensive policy approaches to attract global talent, such as offering “networking opportunities to international deep tech startups and experts interested in relocating and contributing to the local ecosystem.”

Since expertise and regulatory overview of different aspects of deep tech and its supply chains are under different Ministries, the policy suggests the creation of an “Inter Ministerial Deep Tech Committee” to regularly review the requirements of enabling the deep tech ecosystem to function better.

The policy restates the government’s disappointment with international agreements that it argues have left India on the backfoot in terms of manufacturing and development power. “India’s experience with some aspects of international cooperation have had a deleterious effect on the domestic ecosystem,” the policy said. “A key example of this is the Information Technology Agreement-I that India joined in 1997. 

The policy calls for a more multi-pronged approach to protect Indian interests. “The need of the hour is a coordinated, comprehensive push to optimally engage with international partners and multilateral institutions to push the Indian Deep Tech Ecosystem,” the policy says.

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