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BW Businessworld

Innovation Is The Way Forward

Karnataka CM Basavaraj Bommai talks about the critical role of startups and innovation in development and how they must be supported with the right policies

Photo Credit : Ritesh Sharma


In today’s world, startups, innovation and digitalisation have become interlinked in a virtuous cycle, feeding off each other as they push ahead. In fact, the three together are key to the country’s development in today’s rapidly changing world. And who would understand this better than Basavaraj Bommai, the Chief Minister of Karnataka, where the interplay of these three elements is way more pronounced than in any other state of the country.

Speaking at the BW Businessworld Unicorn Summit in Bengaluru recently, Bommai alluded to this interplay when he said that the penetration of data has helped India’s digital push, which, in turn, has allowed for large-scale innovation. According to him, all innovations begin with desire, the desire to create and acquire as life progresses and new necessities arise.

Bommai revealed his philosophical side when he spoke about science and spirituality as being two sides of the same coin, while he sought to underscore the importance of startups and innovation. According to him, spirituality will lead to innovation in science, and innovation in science will lead to further spiritual thinking.

“I am a student of economics and philosophy. Both are poles apart and their core values are different. Economics is all about profit and loss whereas philosophy is about the meaning of life. I think paradoxically, and find philosophy in economics and vice-versa. That, I believe, brings about a new way of thinking. Startups are spiritual whereas the status quo is not. Hence, the need of the hour is startups and the innovation they bring,” he said.

The Bangalore Focus

Bommai reiterated the state’s commitment to nurture the startup ecosystem centred in Bengaluru, the capital city. Not only is the city home to more than 13,000 startups, it also has the highest number of world-renowned R&D centres.

“Bangalore cannot be compared to any city as it has the highest number of unicorns, startups, and IT hubs,” Bommai said, adding that the business policies including the ease of doing business in Karnataka, and the fact that the state is leading the way in renewable energy are crucial to the support of these startups.

Agri Startups are Key

Bommai stressed the key role that agri startups could play in India’s development. He said that even though the contribution of agriculture to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has reduced, the number of people employed in agriculture is higher than in any other industry, and as such the sector could do with a lot of innovation. Already, innovations in agriculture, such as product developments, integrated farming systems and digital marketing of farm products are certain to give the sector a boost, he added.

The Chief Minister further pointed to the fact that crop development and farm management have changed for the better, while fisheries, poultry, and sheep rearing along with milk production are creating a lot of opportunities, adding that startups can add immense value to the sector.

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startups Unicorns Unicorns in India Basavaraj Bommai