Tax incentives and public funding/subsidies are a few very potent ways to stimulate innovations and research & development towards creation of indigenous manufacturing eco-system in emerging telecommunications technologies. This is also able to address market shortfall in meeting the R&D expenditure above the social optimum. Academic findings confirm the importance of public funding as it helps companies to integrate their internal expertise with external information sources generated through external R&D expenditure.
5G HLF, inter-alia, had suggested that in addition to issuing invitation for 5G trials, the government need to make significant follow-up efforts to ensure successful trials that advance India’s 5G progress. For instance – constitution of a Trials Oversight Committee for each of the major trial with representatives from the OEM, lead TSP and related entities.
Taking this 5G HLF recommendation one step ahead, the Startups-MSMEs Action Plan has proposed 4 components in Technology Trials and PoC arena:
- Pilots and Trials – for integrated / individual solution in a small scale (<10 crore);
- Consortium programs to develop commercial grade new technologies;
- Overseas capability demonstration and market access;
- PoC in lieu of deployment experience
Here, the focus is more on promoting collaboration among Startups-MSMEs, which is contrary to 5G HLF recommendations where major aim was to attract major OEMs to conduct 5G trials in India.
C-DOT is an autonomous telecom research & development body funded by the DoT. It was established under the Society Registration Act XXI in 1984 to design and develop indigenous switching technology. C-DOT is presently engaged in developing state-of-the-art telecommunication technology to meet the needs of the Indian telecommunication network. It is involved in research and development (R&D) activities as well as in field implementation of technologies developed.
DoT has set up Inter-Ministerial Committee for setting up of India specific Use Case labs in different economic verticals like Education, Healthcare, Agriculture, Public safety, FinTech etc. DoT has approved proposal for setting up of 5G Use Case Lab in Banking, Financial Services and Insurance (BFSI) at Institute of Development and Research in Banking Technology (IDRBT), an Institute under RBI, at Hyderabad with a proposed funding requirement of Rs. 22 Crores for a period of 3 years. IDRBT has started working with banks and industry for development of Use cases in Banking services.
Startups-MSMEs Facilitation Cell
Facilitation Cells have been conceived under the Telecom Startups Mission for ease of doing business and promotion of R&D in timely manner. The Facilitation Cell shall be established at DoT Hq. and other filed units. It is an institutional mechanism to continuously engage and facilitate Startups & MSMEs in Digital Communication Technologies (DCTs). The Cell shall focus on following broad activities –
- Taking up the issues/grievances raised by Startups and MSMEs with respective Wings/Divisions/Organizations/PSUs of DoT and with other relevant Ministries/Departments (if needed).
- Extending necessary facilitation through DoT field units and taking up the issues with respective State Government Departments/ Agencies, if needed. DDGs (Technology) may lead this facilitation center at State level
- Increasing awareness about domestic and abroad market, assistance to meet statutory requirements, capacity building & training, export, and import support.
- Channelizing Startups/MSMEs efforts in a structured way for providing inputs to various Wings/Divisions/Organizations of the DoT to take informed policy decisions (Technology Trials/PoC, Spectrum, IPRs, Design led manufacturing, Integrated R&D efforts, Market Access, Testing & Certification, participation in standards, Capacity building etc.)
- Development and Maintenance of Bharat Digicom Innovation Networks – one stop platform for bringing all the DCT stakeholders together to cater to the needs of Startups and MSMEs
- Any other item as may be necessary to take forward the Mission’s objectives.