India attracted $38 billion FDI despite pandemic: Amitabh Kant

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Hyderabad, Dec 9 (IANS) India attracted $38 billion inflow of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) despite the world reeling under Covid-19 pandemic, said NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant.
He said that Niti Aayog has taken up various measures to attract FDI and has pushed limits in innovation. India is becoming an innovation-driven economy by removing regulatory barriers, he said, at a session titled ‘Transformation of India with a focus on entrepreneur ecosystem’ at TiE Global Summit.
Stating India has grown as a technology country, he pointed out the country has world’s second-largest start-up ecosystem, and spoke about various fronts on which the government is working to leverage technology for the benefit of India’s 1.3 billion population.
Kant said that India can build a number of tech products as it has skilled manpower and unique problems.
“The post Covid-19 era will be a world of technology, he said. India can be a tech garage for the world,” he said.
On data culture, data economy and artificial intelligence competence, Kant said that it is an evolving and fast-changing digital landscape. Though data privacy has been in the limelight, India needs data protection and data empowerment too, he added.
He observed that India is data-rich but it has to be data-intelligent and find solutions to problems. He believes Artificial Intelligence can help add up to $957 billion to the Indian economy by 2035.
Answering a question on women entrepreneurship, Kant said that the next big disruption in India will be led by women entrepreneurs. To transform India, we need to give a huge fillip to women entrepreneurship, he said.
During a conversation with Kiran Mazumdar Shaw Chairperson, Biocon, on “Delivering the vaccine: the big opportunity”, Dr Krishna Ella, Chairman & MD, Bharat Biotech said that an intranasal vaccine for Covid will enter Phase 1 trials next month. He said the company was setting up two more facilities for manufacturing of vaccines including Covaxin, India’s first indigenous vaccine for Covid-19.
“We need to vaccinate 1.3 billion people and they need to be vaccinated twice. So we need 2.6 billion syringes and needles. And we are worried about the pollution these devices generate,” he said.
The double doses of vaccine with a gap of one month in between may add more complexity to the distribution, he observed. Besides that, he says, it is the largest ever vaccination program in the history of entire mankind.
Another huge challenge will be the availability of medical devices such as auto disposable syringes, and needles required for the delivery of the vaccine. While demand is more, the supply is not in commensurate with the demand as companies have been working with far fewer resources.
Earlier, Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu, formally inaugurating the event, emphasised that fostering student-entrepreneurship through innovation programs is extremely critical and universities need to establish close linkage with industries to mentor and handhold students with novel business ideas.
The TiE is a Silicon Valley-based non-profit organisation supporting start-ups through networking and its Summit-2020 will be showcasing opportunities to get mega investments into India.
Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said MSME is the backbone of the Indian economy. “It contributes to 30 per cent to our GDP, which we would like to increase to 40 per cent, similarly the exports… 48 per cent, we will take up to 60 per cent.
“MSME sector generates 11 crore employment. We will try and create 5 crore more jobs. Village industries contribute Rs 80,000 crore. This we must make it to Rs 5 lakh crore in the next two years,” he said.
Telangana’s Industry Minister K.T. Rama Rao expressed his happiness to know that TiE is going to set up its global headquarters at Hyderabad. The minister enlisted some of the initiatives of the state in fostering entrepreneurship.

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