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    Andhra Pradesh Govt to Launch Schemes to Jolt Startup Ecosystem

    The Andhra Pradesh government will launch a flagship startup promotion scheme Accelerate Startups in AP (ASAP) for early-stage startups to offer plug-and-play office space and access to a network of investors and mentors.

    It will also set up a Rs 100 crore ‘fund of funds’, in partnership with a consortium of Venture Capitals and Private Equity firms and universities, for funding startups in the state.

    This has been announced in the state’s new AP Information Technology Policy 2021-24, which was formally notified on Friday after the Cabinet cleared it on June 30.

    The state will also set up incubation centres at different notified places as part of the measures to develop a startup ecosystem, the policy said.

    Startups that work on the application of emerging digital technologies like augmented reality, virtual reality, Internet of Things, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Data Science, Robotics, 5G cellular network, Server-less Computing, Natural Language Processing and Blockchain will be provided priority in allotment of plug-and-play space, incubation centers, Centers of Excellence and prototyping labs on a variable chargeable basis.

    The new policy is expected to generate more than 55,000 jobs over the next three years by creating a “robust and holistic business environment” and also transforming the IT, Electronics and Communications Department into a revenue centre to achieve self-sustenance.

    While the previous IT Policy 2014-20 spoke of developing Visakhapatnam into a mega IT hub and creating four other IT hubs in Vijayawada, Kakinada, Tirupati and Anantapuramu, the 2021-24 policy announced the establishment of an Integrated Technology Park in Visakhapatnam and three ‘IT Concept Cities’, close to the major existing IT ecosystems, as a specially designated area in the state exclusively for the “development of a holistic industrial ecosystem”.

    The new IT Policy will be in force till March 31, 2024.

    The state will earn a revenue of Rs 783 crore over 10 years in the form of various taxes, while the direct employment alone is expected to infuse over Rs 2,200 crore every year, leading to the overall growth of the state economy through multiplier effect, according to the policy.

    It said the new Policy links incentive disbursement to realization of committed direct employment in the state, ensuring transparent and effective utilization of public funds.

    The government will establish an IT Emerging Technologies Research University in Visakhapatnam to develop AP as the leading contributor to the national talent pool in IT and cutting-edge emerging technologies.

    The university would focus on applied research in use of emerging technologies in areas of interest to the state.

    Digital libraries and workplaces are proposed to be set up at Gram Panchayat level with access to high-speed Internet, six workstations and essential software.

    They will also have video conferencing, printing and scanning and access to free-of-cost knowledge databases, to provide an enabling ecosystem for ‘work from anywhere’ concept.

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