New Delhi: India's G-20 sherpa Amitabh Kant on Wednesday asked startups not to get "dependent" on government procurements but instead focus on the opportunities presented by the domestic and export markets.
Speaking at a youth conference organised by IMC Chamber of Commerce, Kant also asked men to change their attitudes towards women and transfer wealth in the name of women to address the issue of gender disparity.
Both the Union and many state governments have a positive outlook on helping startups on procurements from startups. The government e-marketplace (GEM) has a dedicated 'startup runway' showcasing startups' offerings, while there in many cases, there are relaxations in rules to accommodate buying from startups.
"I am personally against governments getting into too much of startups...the dynamism of startups should be in the marketplace. the startups should not get themselves too dependent on govt procurement," Kant said.
He said the startups should focus on the large domestic market and the export markets for pushing their wares, while the government's role should be limited to assisting the flow of capital to the startups through schemes like fund of funds which it has done.
Addressing the gender disparity issue, Kant said empowering women and promoting their inclusion and entrepreneurship is crucial for unblocking untapped talent but conceded that accessing capital remains a significant challenge.
Men also need to change their attitudes, Kant said, calling for a "cultural shift" to improve the conditions of women.
"...policy developments are needed to mobilise financing and other support towards the sectors where women are currently active," he said.
"In India and South Asia, mothers put wealth in the name of their sons, not in the name of their daughters. There has to be a cultural shift. If you are able to shift the wealth in the name of the women, in a decade you will see women doing very well in India and all over the place," he said.
He called the South Asian region as being "lax" on "unity of any kind", and illustrated how the economies have suffered due to a lack of the same.
Kant said intra-region ties on trade, and also travel and tourism can help benefit all the countries economically, and illustrated the example of Europe where tourists and trade flow seamlessly across geographies for collective good.
He said Indian tourists can help drive prosperity in neighbouring countries of Nepal, Bangladesh and Bhutan by creating wealth there through the travel and tourism route.