The Unicorns of the Future
India’s young startups are designing devices, IP products, solutions, and platforms for the Indian market and for the world”
Union Minister of State for Skill Development & Entrepreneurship and Electronics & IT, Shri Rajeev Chandrasekhar, engaged in a fireside chat with Smt Jaya Jagadish, Country Head, Senior Vice President, Silicon Design Engineering, AMD India, at the 26th Edition of the Bengaluru Tech Summit on Thursday. The Minister shared his insights into India’s growing semiconductor industry, AI, and the vital role that startups have been playing in the nation’s overall economic growth.
Recalling the Semicon India 2023 Summit, Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar highlighted the dynamic transformation of India’s narrative, as articulated by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi.
He said, “We witnessed a shift in narrative at the 2023 Semicon India summit in Gandhinagar, where people were now changing from asking “why India” to questioning “when are we going to do this in India, and why are we not in India?” There are many underlying reasons for this shift, however, the most important factor, apart from geopolitics, is the increasing confidence and capabilities of the ecosystem that has developed over the last few years. Over the last five to seven years, our tech economy represents almost every aspect of what is going on around the world. Whether it’s AI, semiconductors, electronics, Web 3, supercomputing, high-performance computing.”
Emphasizing India’s rapid progress in the semiconductor field despite lacking a legacy in design, the Minister remarked, “I believe we are now playing catch-up after having missed opportunities for decades. Interestingly, in many ways, we are almost skipping one generation and looking at opportunities for the next decade that are entirely new and present unique opportunities. Designing devices today for the world is something that has no legacy in India. So, I believe that in the last few years, we have made tremendous progress in talent, design, packaging, and research. India’s journey toward becoming a semiconductor nation and, in turn, a trusted player in the global semiconductor ecosystem is a given. It’s a matter of how quickly we can implement it.”
Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar underscored the government’s approach to leveraging AI, emphasizing its application in healthcare, agriculture, and governance. While acknowledging the vast opportunities presented by AI, he also spoke about the presence of potential bad actors seeking to cause harm. He stressed the necessity for legislative guardrails for safety and trust.
Speaking about AI, the Minister said, “We believe that AI, when harnessed correctly, can transform healthcare, agriculture, governance and language translation. Our focus is on capturing AI, building capabilities and datasets, and enhancing AI compute and training capacities to create models that will contribute to India’s goals of improving lives. AI is a kinetic enabler for the $1 trillion digital economy goal that we have set for ourselves as a nation. However, as recent conversations have shown, the world is now aligning with India’s view that we need guardrails of safety and trust. So, even though AI is great, we require legislative guardrails of safety and trust to ensure that AI can never be misused or used by bad actors to cause harm.”
Addressing the significant role startups play in India’s economy since 2014, the Minister said, “We have 102 unicorns, $65 billion of FDI that have come into startups. So therefore startups are not just an important part of our economy, technology, vision, but also part of the overall economic vision. Today, the futureDESIGN DLI startups that we are supporting, I see in many of them having the ability to become the unicorns of the future. Startups play a crucial role in our social and economic fabric, and are the heart and soul of our digital economy, contributing significantly to the goal of achieving a $1 trillion digital economy. As we push the envelope and venture into AI, semiconductors, the next generation of electronic systems, more startups will emerge that are valued and hold significant IP.”