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Deep-tech policy before cabinet soon to unlock long-term funds

The commerce ministry plans to soon take to the Cabinet the deep tech startup policy, under which a fund of funds would be set up to support companies in the space, people in the know told ET. This fund of funds would also invest in the alternative investment fund for startups in this segment, the people added.

Instead of the policy being very descriptive, the government may release an umbrella framework which will act as the guiding principles for state governments as well as startups in this space, a government official said.

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“There are nine major areas such as how to nurture and grow research, development and innovation in the sector, what are lacking in the intellectual property regime of the country right now and how can they be corrected, and how can deep tech startups’ access to funding be eased. The policy will focus on them,” the official said.

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So far, comments from 18 different ministries and government departments have been sought and the consultations on various aspects are in very advanced stages, a second official said.

Most of the important inputs have come from the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, another official said.

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Apart from the focus on research and development, intellectual property and funding for deep tech startups, the policy may also look to encourage and enable infrastructure and resource-sharing, creating India-centric regulations, standards and certifications and focus on capacity building to retain the human resources in India, the official said.

“For example, when we talk about focus on research and development, the idea also is to amend the existing research assessment practices at our academic institutes and research labs at higher education places so that the research work can be translated into an industry-ready outcome,” the official said.

Similarly, to strengthen the intellectual property regime, the proposed policy aims to establish a single-window platform mechanism for a unified intellectual property framework and the guidelines for creating these intellectual properties.

To ensure sustained long-term funding for deep tech startups, the government may tweak its policies to direct more corporate social responsibility funds to science and deep tech research institutions, establish a ministry-agnostic grants framework and introduce technology bonds to enable more investment into the sector, one of the officials said.


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