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Startups are a Vital Component of Kerala Economy, says Finance Minister

In Kerala
April 26, 2022

Kerala Finance Minister K N Balagopal today said startups have a major role in strengthening the state’s economy as leveraging their innovative ideas can lead to remarkable growth in various sectors.

The Minister was speaking during the inauguration of the country’s largest Business to Government (B2G) summit, organised by Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) here, setting a platform for the startups to showcase a wide range of products and services required by the government departments and the public sector undertakings (PSUs).

Balagopal also said the Government is considering a proposal to raise the ceiling on purchase of startup products.

Titled ‘Public Procurement Summit 2022’, the event focused on firming up the linkage between the startup ecosystem and the government.

Balagopal said by embracing the innovative ideas generated by the startups, the state will be able to significantly scale up agriculture and value-addition process. Startups can also contribute immensely to the growth of all key sectors, including the healthcare and animal husbandry, he said.

The procurement of startup products and service by the government departments and PSUs had been formalized by IT Policy in 2017, mandating that the government should act as an early adopter of promising technology startups in the state.

“The government is planning to enhance the ceiling on purchase of products and services from startups. Now, startup products and services of up to Rs 20 lakh can be directly procured and those costing from Rs 20 lakh to Rs 1 crore can be procured through a limited tender process. The government is planning to increase the ceiling of limited tender from Rs 1 crore to Rs 3 crore,” Balagopal said.

Citing the economic turmoil in Sri Lanka, he said the troubles faced by the island nation is a reminder of the need for developing a strong local economy since a reverse trend of globalisation is happening currently.

Startups must learn to grow beyond their initial run of success. The government is duty bound to help startups coming up with innovative ideas. About Rs 97crore has been set apart in the budget for startups apart from the Rs 250 crore as Venture Capital fund,” Balagopal added.

Presiding over the function, Principal Secretary, General Administration Department and Transport, K R Jyothilal, said Kerala is fast becoming the startup capital of the country and it can gain a prominent place in clean tech and health tech sectors.

Speaking on “Startup Procurement: The Kerala Model,” Jyothilal said a liberal approach is important in matters like registration and extending financial aid to them. “Scaling up and funding has to be addressed in a holistic manner. This summit, which is the first-of-its-kind in the country, can find technology solutions for the benefit of society,” he added.

KSUM CEO John M Thomas, who welcomed the gathering, said the summit is an initiative envisioned to communicate clearly about the value that Kerala startups add to the public ecosystem.

Thomas said around 100 promising startups are participating in the summit, to which 32 government departments have sent their representatives.

Our startups bring to the table a very sound understanding of the most cutting-edge technologies to provide befitting solutions to address the needs of the government and PSUs, he said.

Around 25 startups displayed their products and services at the expo on the sidelines of the summit, which set the stage for start-ups to interact with government officials to know about their requirements.

Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB), Kerala Water Authority (KWA), Kudumbashree, State IT Mission and Department of Health were felicitated at the function for their strong bond with startups.

KSEB, which is the first public utility to set up an innovation zone, has been availing the services of 12 startups.Kudumbashree and State IT Mission have brought start-ups on board for eight projects each.

The lead speakers at the summit included Principal Secretary, Sports and Youth Affairs, M Sivasankar; MD of Kerala State Information Technology Infrastructure Ltd., Dr Santhosh Babu; Tourism Director V R Krishna Teja; E-Health Kerala Project Director Mohammad Y Saffirulla; Smart City-Trivandrum CEO Dr Vinay Goyal; Kerala State IT Mission Director Snehil Kumar Singh; Digital University Vice Chancellor Dr Saji Gopinath; KSRTC IT Manager Nishanth S; and CEO of Vizhinjam International Seaport Limited, Dr Jayakumar.

Programme Head, GAM, Varun G, proposed a vote of thanks.