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Remarks by Ambassador Sibi George at the opening of the India Business, Start Up and Innovation Center in Embassy of India, Berne

Posted on: October 15, 2018 | Back | Print

Remarks by Ambassador Sibi George at the opening of the India Business, Start Up and Innovation Center in Embassy of India Berne – Oct 15, 2018

Hon’ble Member of Swiss Parliament Mr. Nik Gugger, Distinguished guests, ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me begin by congratulating the Commerce Wing of the Embassy for the initiative in setting up India Business, Start Up and Innovation Center.

This is a very important year in India – Switzerland bilateral relations. This year we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Treaty of Friendship that we signed with Switzerland in 1948. At the political level, India maintains highest level of engagement with Switzerland. In the last two years, our Prime Minister had three summit level meetings with Presidents of Switzerland. President HE Schneider Ammann hosted him in Switzerland in July 2016, Swiss President Madam HE Doris Leuthard visited India on a State visit in August 2017 and current President HE Alain Berset received Prime Minister in Davos in January 2018. And in August 2018 we had the Swiss Foreign Minister visiting Delhi and Varanasi. These milestone visits imparted fresh momentum to our deep-rooted and multi-faceted cooperation. I am happy to note that with the initiative of Hon’ble Member of Swiss Parliament, an India Parliamentary Group has been set up in Swiss Parliament. 

Today, India has emerged as the fastest-growing large economy in the world, with a growth rate of nearly 7.5%. It is also a global hub for manufacturing and innovation. It is moving towards a knowledge-based society, which aims to build a five trillion dollar economy by 2022. According to the World Bank and IMF, our growth rate is going to be steady and high; India ranked 3rd in WEF’s list of most trusted governments in 2017. India has climbed 30 places in the World Bank Ease of Doing Business Index in 2017, the biggest jump by any country last year.

We are happy that European businesses including Swiss business are looking towards India and are increasingly engaging India. We have a successful MISSP programme where we work very closely with the Small and Medium companies in Switzerland. In its transformational journey, India regards Switzerland and Swiss companies as natural partners. There is vast scope to combine our relative advantages, in capital, technology, science and human resources, and to work for mutual benefit. India’s Flagship Programmes like Make in India, Smart Cities, Digital India, Swachh Bharat (Clean India), Startup India, Skill India and other initiatives are resonating well in this land of innovation and competitive edge. 
It is in this context that we are launching the India Business, Start Up and Innovation Center here at the Embassy of India in Bern. It is a platform to support our start up and innovation efforts in line with the Flagship Programmes of the Government of India. 

As you are aware, Start-up India is a flagship initiative of the Government of India, intended to build a strong ecosystem that is conducive for the growth of Start-up businesses, to drive sustainable economic growth and generate large scale employment opportunities. The Government through this initiative aims to empower Start-ups to grow through innovation and design. 

Several programs have been undertaken since the launch of the initiative in January, 2016 by Prime Minister, to contribute to his vision of transforming India into a country of job creators instead of job seekers. These programs have catalysed the start-up culture, with Start-ups getting recognized through the Start-up India initiative and many entrepreneurs availing the benefits of starting their own business in India. 
The 19-Point Start-up India Action Plan envisages several incubation centres, easier patent filing, tax exemptions, and ease of setting-up of business.  This action plan aims at accelerating spreading of the Start-up movement. To read the opening part of the Action Plan: What if your idea is not just an idea? What if it sees light? What if it’s really born? What if you can get someone to believe in it? And help you nurture it? What if you can set a clear path for it? What if it can actually travel? What if it grows and blooms? What if the whole world embraces it? What if your idea is not just an idea? In the last few years so many ideas have actually grown and the world has embraced it. This Start Up journey continues in India. 

A pivotal component for growth of Start-ups is regular communication and collaboration within the Start-up community, both national as well international. An effective Start-up ecosystem cannot be created by Start-ups alone. It is dependent on active participation of academia, investors, industry and other stakeholders, both in India and abroad.  This is what we hope to achieve by setting up this Center. With the launching of the India Business, Start Up and Innovation Center we propose to organise various Start-Up events to bolster the Start-up ecosystem in India. I once again wish the India Business, Start Up and Innovation Center all the success. 

Thank you.