Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday commended the startup ecosystem in India and hailed the 36 companies that turned unicorns in the past 12 months. A unicorn company, or unicorn startup, is a private company with a valuation of over $1 billion.
Sitharaman said startups in India have rapidly found funding, which is not so common in any other country. “New age industries will be the catalyst and will make a big change,” she remarked while addressing the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Global Economic Policy Summit 2021.
According to the FM, the new age industries will help bring in the demand for conventional products.
The Union Minister called India one of the fastest-growing economies despite the COVID-19 pandemic and said that reviving growth is on top of the government’s agenda.
Commenting on the festive season, the minister said the tendency that life can be restored was the story of the period. Passenger cars, two-wheelers and mobile phones are being sold in a big number, she said, adding that the demand side is completely able to manifest itself.
Sitharaman also touched upon the subject of markets and credited retail investors for moving the stock market in a big way.
The minister further said, the labour market today is in a different mould. “Workers are in a different bargaining position and industries have recognised this. The value of skill has gone up,” she explained.
She called for scaling and speeding up infrastructure and technology-driven solutions for it. She also assured government support in terms of funding for the sector. There has been a 134 percent increase in health infra, she pointed out.
Meanwhile, she called for reduced dependence on imports. “We need to have some relook at the Indian market, can’t have imports flooding us, essentials can’t be imported 100 percent,” she said at the CII summit.
“The industry shouldn’t delay increasing capacities and finding technology partners to help us on energy matters. The industry will have to be the partner for this,” she said, adding that the industry should give an impetus to further growth.
“I want India Inc to be a lot more risk-taking. I want the industry to show they will stand up for India...We have come out due to revenge shopping but that’s not enough,” the minister said. Import bill can’t be bridged till industry comes forward, she said.
Speaking about banking, Sitharaman said the sector has remarkably turned around. Over Rs 10,000 crore has been raised by PSBs from the market and they are no longer asking for a recap from the government, she said. Over Rs 75,000 crore has been disbursed in four to five categories under the credit outreach programme, she added.
The minister also commented on India’s stance at the COP26 summit in Glasgow and ours is one of the few countries to achieve the Paris agreement. “Without any additional demand for fossil fuel, our bills are going up. Due to sheer increase in oil costs, we need to improve on natural gas as a transitional fuel,” she said.
She added that given the rise in crude oil prices, the move towards solar and renewable energy is at great risk.
(Edited by : Abhishek Jha)
First Published: IST