Delhi is emerging as destination for start-ups in India: Arvind Kejriwal
Says, Delhi NCR has the highest number of active start-ups in India
Hyderabad: Delhi will be the destination for start-up’s in India. Delhi NCR has the highest number of active start-up’s in India said Arvind Kejriwal, while addressing on 'Making Delhi a Global Start-up Destination" to the virtual delegates of TiE Global Summit 2020 today evening, the bureaucrat turned Chief Minister, Kejriwal said Delhi NCR has the 7000 active start-ups the highest in the country. The valuation of these start-up’s is put at $50 billion. Delhi has 13 unicorns such as Zomato, PayTM and Oyo. The city is adding one Unicorn each year since 2013, he shared.
In the first six months of 2020, 109 start-up’s were founded in Delhi. Delhi region with 12000 start-up’s 13 unicorns is going to be the top five start-up hubs in the world, he said
Like many businesses, Start-ups too are suffering due to COVID. I am sure we will all bounce back strongly from the COVID. Start-ups face a different kind of challenges. We will come out new start up policy to encourage and facilitate start-ups, Kerjiwal announced.
No businesses can survive without human capital. We will ensure that start-up’s will have access to the best of the best human capital. To encourage entrepreneurship mind-set, Delhi schools have curriculum on it, he informed.
In one of the earlier sessions, K.I. Varaprasad Reddy, Founder, Shantha Biotechnics, a vaccine manufacturing company gave an unfiltered talk on ‘Covid-19 Vaccine: How soon is soon? Is there an alternative?’ at the TiE Global Summit 2020.
In a no-holds-barred talk, Varaprasad Reddy threw up numerous questions for which answers are still not there viz. vaccines safety, efficacy, storage, dispersion, training, side-effects, costs, who is going to foot the bill, and much more. Earlier, the worry was about Covid but now we have so many more things to find answers to. The vaccines are around the corner and we don’t know about them and how we will go about delivering it to the masses, he said.
Everyone is talking about a two dosage vaccine. So India will need 2.6 billion dosages! 15 per cent wastage is normal and that leaves us with a humongous number of 3 billion vaccine doses. In this kind of situation, a different kind of emergency arises too… hoarding, black marketing, counterfeit, etc. Can the 5-6 companies come up with 3 billion doses in a years’ time is another unanswered question, he said.
He lamented that the scientists are under pressure to come out with a vaccine. In earlier times, we used to wait and study the medicines for a long time going through different stages of trails and scientific evaluation. On Covid-19 vaccine, Varaprasad Reddy said that there is no publication of data on clinical trials in scientific journals and its review. All we know is coming is just coming through news reports, he said.
Hasty statements by ICMR and political leaders on vaccines coming in August, etc. are a great disservice to the public, said Reddy. We are in a confusing time with no answers to several factors. Only time will answer the questions. We are operating in an emergency mode. But will safety be the first casualty in these confusing times, he questioned.
There is no vigorous scientific evaluation of the vaccine, he said. The 1918 Influenza vaccine came after nearly 22 years in the 1940s. Ebola vaccine took five and a half years, TB took 13 years, and chickenpox vaccine took 22 years. Perhaps, the shortest time taken to develop a vaccine was for Mumps… four years. Today we are rushing our scientists, the development may have picked up the pace but there is no vigorous scientific evaluation, Reddy said. The regulatory system is missing. We are fast-forwarding phase trails to phase trails. Regulatory people should look into that, he opined.
There are a lot of issues for which plans and blueprints, discuss and deliberate. He was of the opinion that vaccines will come only by the middle of the next year i.e. 2021. The latest will be by April but not before that. Shantha Biotechnics vaccine for Covid-19 will be out by the end of next year only, Reddy said. Vaccines are for saving lives and should not be rushed. We are cutting corners but I hope that we are not cutting lives, Reddy said.
Speaking on the alternative, Varaprasad Reddy said that we are not following our traditions. Traditionally, we used to wash our hands and legs before entering our home. We used to take bath and change after coming from outside. Have only home-cooked food, no outside food. Our kitchens were our pharmacies. Shaking hands is not our culture, our tradition is folding our hands in ‘Namaste’. Reddy said that we have gone away from our traditions. If we follow our traditions there is no need for a vaccine, he said. /(December 09, 2020)