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As PM visits Silicon Valley, techies want govt. to think digital

On the eve of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Silicon Valley, the world’s Internet innovation hub where he is likely to make a pitch for India’s digital future, technology start-ups in India are reiterating their long-standing demand for a fundamental rethink of how the government looks at their sector.

Indian start-ups have been voicing their views on excessive red tape in investment processes. A group of Indian entrepreneurs even told Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley during his visit to Silicon Valley in July about how young ventures were shifting out of India as a result.

Ravi Kiran, co-founder, VentureNursery, a start-up accelerator, told The Hindu : “The start-up ecosystem is not properly understood by the government.” He said: “What they should be asking themselves is what made Silicon Valley what it is. If they understand that risk-taking and innovation are at the heart of Silicon Valley, that would be a big takeaway.”

“At the moment, the government does not distinguish between a start-up and an SME [small and medium enterprise]. There are so many Indians working in Google. Why are they not setting up their own Google here?” His list of to-dos for the government includes changing the intellectual property and innovation scenario, and tapping into the new wave of tech entrepreneurship to create large global software product companies (India is known for IT services companies, not product ones). “Without focussing on fundamentals such as these, this trip becomes only symbolic,” Ravi Kiran, co-founder, VentureNursery, a start-up accelerator.

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