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Editorials/Opinions Analysis For UPSC 05 August 2023


Editorials/Opinions Analysis For UPSC 05 August 2023


Contents

  1. Deep Tech Startups: Leading India’s Tech Future
  2. Preserving India’s Culture: Government Challenges

Deep Tech Startups: Leading India’s Tech Future


Context

  • Over the past ten years, the number of startups in India has increased dramatically, propelled by young entrepreneurs and aided by the government’s Startup India campaign. This country’s youth are feeling more empowered as a result of the entrepreneurial boom, which has stretched beyond just metropolitan areas to suburban and rural places. Over a lakh recognised startups are currently operating in India, with Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities producing roughly half of them.
  • This rapidly growing startup culture has revolutionised fields such as robotics, artificial intelligence, biotech, pharmaceuticals, electric vehicles, drones, defence, telecommunications, and semiconductors. It is not just affecting consumer internet and e-commerce. These deep tech projects have the potential to revolutionise digital marketplaces as well as spur industrialization in more recent fields and create a large number of new jobs.

Relevance:

  • GS 2: Government Policies and Intervention
  • GS 3: Economy

Mains Question

How has the development of India’s deep tech startup ecosystem been influenced by the agreed methodology to gauging risk and success during fundraising negotiations? (150 Words)


Potential Unlocked in Public Sector Labs

Deep tech entrepreneurship is acting as a conduit for turning scientific discoveries from public sector labs into market-ready products, unlocking the potential of these institutions. Exemplary success stories include the National Chemical Laboratory’s Venture Centre, which supports the commercialization of high-quality patents, and IIT Madras’s Research Park, which has nurtured over 200 deep tech startups with a combined valuation of over 50,000 crores. Faculty members are increasingly more likely to spin off their research through businesses created by themselves or their graduates than to pursue more conventional routes like patent re-assignments or licencing. This change offers a once-in-a-lifetime chance to take advantage of India’s significant investments in scientific and technological development within its governmental institutions.

Startups in the Deep Tech Sector Leading Technological Risks

The forerunners of India’s technology risks have arisen as deep tech companies, a crucial component of developing new skills in any nation. Startups embrace risk-taking as an essential component of their growth journey, whereas government departments and legacy firms frequently stay risk-averse due to scrutiny from stakeholders, voters, and public markets. The startup ecosystem’s expansion has been fueled by a consistent strategy to evaluate risk and progress during fundraising discussions and a willingness to take risks. To encourage businesses that are aligned with India’s enormous scale, the government and business community must greatly expand this newly discovered methodology for scaling innovation.

Actions taken to encourage deep startups

  • The Tamil Nadu Technology Hub (iTNT Hub) is a public-private collaboration that connects startups in emerging and deeptech fields. It is based in Chennai.
  • TIDE 2.0 Scheme: It fosters tech entrepreneurship in India by giving incubators that support ICT businesses utilising cutting-edge technologies financial and technical support.
  • The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology’s Next Generation Incubation Scheme encourages creative companies in India.
  • The National Supercomputing Mission is a government-funded effort that was started in 2015 with the goal of making India a supercomputing leader in the world.
  • The National Quantum Mission was established in 2023 to offer scientists and researchers around the nation access to cutting-edge quantum research facilities.
  • The 2020 National Education Policy was introduced with a focus on transdisciplinary education.It urges the development of a new curriculum that will let pupils study a range of topics, including humanities, arts, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
  • NECTAR is a department of science and technology-affiliated autonomous society. It seeks to use specialised frontier technology offered by major scientific institutes and departments to address the socioeconomic problems in the Northeast.
  • The Government established the Funds of Funds Scheme with a capital of Rs. 10,000 crore to address the funding requirements of start-ups.

Launching Startup India 2.0:

  • It is appropriate for the government to introduce “Startup India 2.0” with a focus on deep tech businesses in order to cement the gains of the startup movement. Two essential elements must be included in this second phase:
  • Enhanced Risk Capital: Through the current SIDBI Fund of Funds, the government needs to provide more funding to promote deep tech businesses in industries like space, defence, biotech, and others. In parallel, industrial participants should reroute their research budgets to support deep tech startups.
  • Mass acquisition of Indigenous technology: Various government ministries, including defence, smart cities, and health, need to work together to encourage the mass acquisition of indigenous technology. Sector-specific demand aggregation, co-creation of products and solutions in incubators, quick testing and certification, and assistance for large-scale purchases of innovative goods are all things that industry groups may significantly contribute to.

India’s Startup Ecosystem:

India’s startup ecosystem has experienced exponential growth in recent years, helping the country overtake the US and China to become the third-largest startup hub in the world.Additionally, India is home to an amazing 105 unicorns, underscoring its importance in the world of business.

The unicorn phenomenon:

India’s success in the startup world has led to the emergence of unicorns, privately held businesses with a market value of more than $1 billion. Unbelievably, there are 105 unicorns in existence right now, with a notable increase of 44 births in 2021 and 19 in 2022. These game-changing companies are appearing in the fintech, edtech, business-to-business, and other sectors, demonstrating India’s unparalleled capacity for disruptive innovation.

Indian Innovation Progression:

India has made noteworthy innovation advancement, as seen by its improvement in international rankings. India, which was placed 81st in 2015, rose impressively to 46th place among 130 economies in the Global Innovation Index (GII) in 2021. Notably, India is first among 10 Central and Southern Asian economies and is second among 34 lower-middle-income countries in terms of innovation.

Growth Engines for Startups:

  • Government Support: India’s Gross Expenditure on R&D (GERD) has tripled in recent years, creating a climate that is supportive of innovation. Women are now participating twice as often in extramural R&D, indicating a more inclusive environment.
  • Digital Transformation: The COVID-19 pandemic hastened the uptake of digital services, increasing the user base for startups in tech-focused industries. This transformation has been made possible by the rise of digital payments and the work-from-home lifestyle.
  • Buyouts and Acquisitions: Major public firms are acquiring startups more frequently, which is helping them develop into unicorns. The strategic preference for external growth through acquisitions over internal expansion is shown in this trend.

Obstacles in the Way of Success

  • Sustainable Investments: Although investments in startups have increased dramatically, substantial infusions of finance do not always imply long-term success. To achieve sustainable growth, startups must concentrate on revenue creation and profitability.
  • India’s space sector has a lot of untapped potential, but independent commercial participation has been difficult due to the absence of an open legal system.
  • Domestic Investors’ Risk Aversion: The dependence of India’s startup ecosystem on international investors highlights the absence of a developed domestic venture capital market.

Governmental Programmes Supporting Startup Growth:

  • Startup India (2016), a government initiative that aims to inspire innovators, entrepreneurs, and thinkers in India to play a leading role in advancing the nation’s sustainable growth and creating major employment opportunities. Over 65,000 startups registered on the special entrepreneurship portal, which received an enormous reaction. 40 of these firms have most recently attained the coveted “unicorn” classification, bringing the overall number of unicorns in India to an amazing 105 as of the present.
  • NIDHI: Through a number of initiatives and programmes, the National Initiative for Developing and Harnessing Innovations (NIDHI) seeks to promote innovation and entrepreneurship.
  • National Startup Awards: These honour exceptional startups and ecosystem enablers who promote innovation-driven economic dynamism.
  • Prarambh Summit: The Prarambh Summit offers startups and young inventors a global stage to present their concepts and creations.

Conclusion

Deep tech startups are leading India’s technology revolution by exploring new waters and fostering innovation in crucial industries. The backing of the government and industry cooperation will be essential for maximising the potential of this entrepreneurial boom. Startup India 2.0 should be a bold initiative with the goal of developing Indian public and industrial capabilities, spurring economic growth, creating jobs, and enhancing national security and capabilities. Deep tech startups will continue to reshape India’s technology landscape with the appropriate vision and teamwork, guiding the country towards a better future.


Preserving India’s Culture: Government Challenges


Context

The Biden administration’s promise to repatriate countless sculptures and antiques that were illegally removed from India during the Indian Prime Minister’s state visit to the US was a notable accomplishment. This action demonstrates the government’s steadfast commitment to reviving and protecting India’s rich, diverse, and multifaceted cultural legacy, which is a major source of national pride for all Indians.

Relevance

  • GS Paper 1 – Art and Culture – India’s cultural heritages
  • GS Paper 2 – International Relations

Mains Question

“Despite some notable successes, recovering stolen antiquities remains a significant challenge for India.” Give more details on the elements that influence the illicit trade in cultural artefacts, and suggest workable national and international solutions. (250 Words)


What exactly are antiques?

  • The term “antiquity” is defined clearly in the Antiquities and Art Treasures Act of 1972, which went into effect on April 1, 1976. The statute defines an antiquity as any object or piece of art that has existed for at least 100 years. This broad term includes a variety of artefacts, including coins, sculptures, paintings, epigraphs, detachable articles, and more, all of which provide important information on ancient domains of science, art, literature, religion, customs, morals, and politics.
  • The Act also acknowledges the importance of manuscripts, records, or other material with literary, historical, or artistic worth. For these things, “not less than 75 years” must have passed in order to qualify as an antiquity. This clause emphasises the significance of keeping important documents safe and secure since they provide priceless windows into the past’s rich cultural and intellectual heritage.
  • The Antiquities and Art Treasures Act is a significant piece of legislation that aims to safeguard and conserve India’s extensive and diverse cultural heritage. The Act aims to protect these priceless assets for future generations by defining antiquities and imposing time limits for various kinds of artefacts and documents.

Measures at the National and International Levels for Protecting Antiquities.

  • National Level Protection Mechanism: In India, particular articles in the various lists of the Constitution regulate how the nation’s legacy is protected. • Prior to Independence, the Antiquities (Export Control) Act was passed in April 1947 to protect antiquities from being taken out of the country without authorization. It is referenced in Item-67 of the Union List, Item-12 of the State List, and Item-40 of the Concurrent List. The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act of 1958 was subsequently passed to boost preservation efforts and mandated that any export of antiquities be carried out only with a legitimate licence. The purpose of this law was to secure historical structures and archaeological sites from damage and exploitation in order to preserve them for future generations.
  • Global Level Protection Mechanism: In developing the 1970 Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export, and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, UNESCO was a key player. The purpose of this treaty was to stop the unlawful trade and cross-border trafficking of cultural artefacts and heritage objects.
  • In addition to UNESCO’s efforts, the United Nations Security Council also made significant efforts to protect cultural heritage sites in conflict zones. It established guidelines and measures for the prevention of illicit import and export, as well as the restitution of cultural property to its countries of origin. The UN Security Council adopted resolutions in 2015 and 2016 urging the protection of cultural heritage during armed crises. These resolutions emphasised the value of protecting cultural assets from looting and destruction during war and other unstable times.The protection and preservation of cultural heritage are being promoted through various international initiatives and conventions in recognition of its value and significance to humanity.

India’s Missing Antiquities Problem:

  • Between 1976 and 2013, only 13 artefacts were returned to India, compared to 292 after 2014. The ASI’s list highlights the difficulty of maintaining India’s cultural legacy by include 139 from Madhya Pradesh, 95 from Rajasthan, and 86 from Uttar Pradesh. The parliamentary committee urges strong action against smuggling because it is concerned about the little success.
  • Resources are a problem for the ASI, which is in charge of heritage assets. According to UNESCO, 50,000 works of art were smuggled up to 1989, endangering India’s extensive cultural heritage. Strengthening protection, identification, recovery, and raising awareness for current and future generations are all necessary in the fight against missing antiquities. These efforts must be made at the national and international levels.
  • Based on the eras during which the artefacts were removed from India, the process of bringing them back can be divided into three parts:

antiques removed from India before independence:

  • The process of retrieval for antiques removed from India before to independence include making bilateral or global petitions. Due to the fact that these artefacts were removed before India gained its independence, their return may necessitate talks and diplomatic efforts with the nations where they are currently held.
  • For instance, in November 2022, the Maharashtra government declared its resolve to bringing back the sword of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj from London. These initiatives seek to ensure the return of the artefacts to their place of origin. These projects entail bilateral talks and collaboration with the proper authorities in the host nation.
  • Taking away antiquities from the time of independence till March 1976:
  • It is simpler to reclaim antiquities that were removed from India before March 1976, following its independence. The procedure often entails bringing up the matter bilaterally with the nation in charge of the artefacts and presenting proof of ownership. Historical records, paperwork, or any other pertinent evidence demonstrating India’s legitimate ownership rights over the artefacts may be used as proof of ownership. Additionally, with the aid of the UNESCO agreement, the retrieval procedure might be expedited.
  • Antiquities removed from the country since April 1976: The process for retrieval is the same as for the second category for antiquities removed from India since April 1976. The process of repatriation can be aided by raising the problem bilaterally with the relevant nation, demonstrating ownership, and requesting support through the UNESCO convention.In general, international cooperation, legal paperwork, and diplomatic efforts are used to recover artefacts. Governments and the appropriate authorities collaborate to reclaim these cultural treasures and bring them back to their proper locations for preservation and public enjoyment.

Current Administration’s Efforts to Restore Our Heritage

  • The current administration has demonstrated a great commitment to returning India’s heritage to its homeland. The Prime Minister has worked to address this issue because he is personally interested in it. As a result, significant accomplishments have been made, such as the return of the poet-saint Manikkavachakar statue from the US.Over 351 antique artefacts and historically significant items have been successfully repatriated as a result of the current government’s activities. Many nations have contributed to the retrieval attempts, including the US, Britain, France, Canada, Netherlands, Germany, Australia, and Singapore.
    • In keeping with the Prime Minister’s commitment to preserving India’s rich cultural legacy, the recovery of rare artefacts, historic statues, and antiques has now been incorporated into the nation’s foreign policy.
    • Additionally, these initiatives have resulted in a marked decrease in occurrences of the smuggling of Indian artefacts and antiquities.
    • On August 15, 2022, the Prime Minister addressed the country from the Red Fort and asked people to be proud of India’s history and legacy as one of the “Panch Pran” (five vows).
    • The Prime Minister recently brought up the problem of smuggling and appropriation of Indian artefacts during the opening of the International Museum Expo 2023 in Delhi, demonstrating the government’s sustained focus on safeguarding and reclaiming the nation’s cultural treasures.
    • In addition to recovery efforts, the government has been conscientiously funding the development of cultural infrastructure around the country in an effort to create and safeguard important historical wealth for the benefit of coming generations. These initiatives represent a renewed commitment to preserving India’s rich and varied cultural heritage.

Important statues and artefacts have recently returned home.

  • In 2021, the Maa Annapurna statue from the 18th century that had been taken from Varanasi about a century earlier was found and returned.
    • The Natraj statue from the 10th century was also brought back from London in the same year.
    • Successful repatriation of the 900-year-old “Parrot Lady” sculpture from Khajuraho from Canada.
    • PM Modi observed the recovery of 29 important old archaeological relics while he was in Australia in March 2022.
    • Of note, clay statues of a Mauryan woman and statues of Shri Devi from the Chola dynasty have been returned.
    • The American government gave PM Modi 157 historical and archaeological artefacts from the 11th to the 14th centuries in September 2021, during his visit to the US.

Way ahead

  • It is essential for the Union government to do a thorough statewide survey in order to solve the lack of a trustworthy database on antiquities and their locations in India and to foster a sense of respect for the country’s cultural resources among residents.
  • The specialists and academics in the subject should actively participate in this survey, which should be carried out in a methodical manner within a set timeline. Before being formally entered into the database, each detected item must undergo close inspection, extensive photographing from all angles, 3D scanning, and geotagging.
  • The assignment of a unique identification number (UIDN) to each property is essential to guaranteeing the efficiency and correctness of the system. This UIDN will act as a flawless system for maintaining and tracking the enormous variety of antiquities and soon-to-be antiques dispersed throughout the nation.India can better preserve and maintain its cultural heritage while creating a greater appreciation among its population for the irreplaceable assets that enrich the country’s character and history by performing this ambitious survey and building a solid database.

Conclusion

  • It is essential for all citizens to band together and actively participate in maintaining India’s rich cultural heritage, as the government works to protect the varied histories of each state, region, and society. To support the government’s admirable efforts in this area, a common commitment is required.
    • While some stolen antiquities have been returned, these isolated triumphs are of little consequence if India continues to lose thousands of these priceless artefacts annually.

India must come up with more effective solutions to the problem of private collectors, auction houses, and museums dealing in stolen Indian antiquities if it is to overcome this continuous problem. To ensure that these cultural treasures are properly returned to their nation of origin, stronger measures are needed to control and prevent the illegal trade.India can fight to save its priceless cultural heritage for future generations and preserve its identity on the international stage by encouraging a sense of responsibility and cooperation between the government and its population.


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