August 19, 2017

Speaking at the ET Startup Awards in Bengaluru

Thank you very much, my senior colleague, honourable Minister Shri Ravi Shankar Prasadji, Shri Narayana Murthyji, Mr Raj Jain, bodhi  other colleagues from the Times Group, all the awards winners this evening, ladies and gentlemen.

Every award function is always a delight to participate in, because while on the one hand we are recognizing success stories, I believe we are also encouraging many-many-many more people who are aspiring to be there, going forward, who are looking to excel in their performance and who have a lot to offer. Many times it would have probably been a very small margin by which somebody got left out of the awards. And, therefore, every award function for me is for everyone in the room, and everyone who is watching; those who win the awards, those who are going to win the awards going forward encouraged with the success stories.

So, my compliments to all the award winners and my best wishes to all of those who are going to become the award winners in the future. I think you gave awards in 8 categories, which will be presented shortly. I wonder hearing some of your questions whether there could be an award for people who return to India and start up new ventures, new enterprises after gaining experience internationally, as a separate category, more so, to encourage our bright talent, which is all over the world and who has a lot to offer our country, who is interested and excited about coming back. And many times has a lot of issues of adjustment but are still able to do the job very successfully.

In fact, over the last two days, we have had some wonderful engagement with start up entrepreneurs, about 212 of them in Delhi. The honourable Prime Minister himself engaged with many of the young entrepreneurs and CEOs and start ups and it was truly an engrossing experience, a learning experience. As they presented before the Prime Minister their vision for India at 2022,  a new India, a prosperous India, a poverty-free India, an India where every citizen has a shelter on his head, electricity 24/7 in his home,  good toilet facilities, water, roads leading up their village, to their home, good quality education and healthcare in the vicinity.

The India that we all dream for every citizen of this country without discrimination, and as we heard their views, as we heard their suggestions on what needs to be done to take India to that new India of the country’s dreams, one felt very-very satisfied, one felt very-very reassured that our country is in safe hands. The youth of India will ensure success going forward, and there is no power on earth that can stop India from succeeding in this mission to provide for our people a better quality of life, a life of happiness, a life of fulfilment.

India being home to the third largest pool of start ups, particularly, the unicorn start ups, is also a very satisfying feature. I know many of the investors and start ups are also here in this room and I would like to compliment you for trusting our youth with your money, for enabling these young entrepreneurs take risks, gamble for the future. And unless one dreams big, unless one has fire under the belly, unless people are willing to take risks, I don’t think the nation can look at innovation, can look at new ideas. And in that sense, as the Prime Minister says, ‘a nation with such youth power cannot afford to think small.’ It is necessary for all of us to aim big, to think big.

In fact, Thomas Edison had once said that I have not failed, I have just found 10,000 new ways not to do a particular thing. And I think each one of these start ups are also in their journey towards success, learning new ideas, learning what not to do, unlearning some of what you have learnt in school and college. As they say, probably, the dropouts are more successful than the people who graduated these days.

In some sense, I am also privileged that I never completed my studies which I had embarked to do about 2013 to try and pursue an executive education programme for 3 years, could only manage 1 year and then got caught into the new role. But, probably, I thank my luck for that, because if I had completed that education I might have landed up as a professor instead of a Minister.

What each one of you is doing is acting like a bridge, bringing revolution in digital governance and the economy. And in that sense, you are the keystone for a better and brighter future in a variety of areas. I see start ups coming up with innovative ideas when it comes to the renewable energy sector. I see young boys and girls come up to me with ideas on what could be done better if we have to promote electric vehicles in the country.

Amongst the people who were participating yesterday, I found this young boy who started a venture where he signed up 5000 truck drivers, so that drivers don’t have to go out of their homes for days and weeks….. but could actually do parts of the journey and come back in the evening to their home and a new driver would take up the consignment. And as he spoke about it, and the passion with which he spoke about it, I realised the game-changing dimension and possibilities out of that.

The fact that many truck drivers get into alcohol, get into drugs, the safety factor, their health factor, HIV aids predominantly found amongst truck drivers who are out of their home for long stretches of time, and the amount of benefits that I could see in that small app through which he is operating his start up was truly remarkable. And I am sure, today all the award winners would have in their respected areas done equally game changing work, equally smart work, equally important work, and this effort which will take India into the 4th dimension of industry, into the 4th generation of technology, which will help us be a part of the evolving digital  infrastructure in the world, I am sure will certainly make India the start up capital of the world where technology,  innovation and new ideas will truly take this country to the next level of growth and development.

My best wishes to all of the entrepreneurs assembled in this room, I must thank Economic Times for recognising the good work that these start ups are doing, for acknowledging the importance of these start ups. We in government are committed, as I am sure Ravi Shankar ji will speak about, to encouraging and ensuring that start ups get opportunities, which otherwise, would not be possible in a mundane setting of bank financing or institutional financing. Whatever help we can do in government, we will be delighted to do, we would like to partner with your initiatives, we would like to support your efforts. We would like to be a part of this new ecosystem, learn from you what could be done better, engage with you and your ideas to truly achieve the vision of new India, the new India of the dreams of 125 Crores Indians.

Thank you very much.

Next Speech

August 19, 2017 Addressed Media at a Press Meet in Mysuru

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