Karnataka's Deputy CM Dr. Ahwathnarayan CN, on Tuesday, inaugurated Karnataka Digital Economy Mission and Beyond Bengaluru to boost the state's digital economy while working closely with the industry players and academia. Setting some big targets, Dr. Ashwathnarayan expressed his confidence in turning the current $52 billion digital economy into a $300 billion one in the next five years.

The Karnataka Digital Economy Mission or KDEM has the objective of facilitating and promoting more than 7,000 e-commerce companies - big or small. Dr. Ashwathnarayan, who handles the IT/BT and S&T portfolios, said the KDEM will use the "invest India" model to build global connections for the promotion of Karnataka's tech industry and enhancing the states brand equity. For the state's IT exports alone, the target set by Dy. CM is $150 billion in next five years.

Speaking at Tuesday's official inauguration ceremony, Dr. Ashwathnarayan said: "This is something historical. It is the biggest facilitation that is happening today. This is something of a comfort zone to look up and interact with. Through KDEM, you'll be a part of the government. KDEM has been structured in so well and the majority of the stake is given to the private sector with 49:51 shareholdings."

Dr Ashwathnarayan
Twitter/Dr Ashwathnarayan

Dy CM expressed the importance of working together with the industry players for the betterment of society and the state at large.

"KDEM will be a big facilitator between the government and the industry. We didn't think twice before establishing KDEM. We were only thinking what best can be done. The state of Karnataka needs to be the leader for the entire world and not just for the country," Dr Ashwathnarayan said.

K'taka Dy CM also touched upon an important aspect of academia and industry collaboration and how important a role internship of students plays in all this.

"The industry has to come forward to encourage the talent. The future lies with the students," he said, adding that several industry players have come forward to facilitate this collaboration.

Beyond Bengaluru

Dr Ashwathnarayan
Dr Ashwathnarayanvia Twitter

Dr Ashwathnarayan also talked about how Bengaluru takes the spotlight when it comes to ease of going business. But the focus is state-wide and Dy CM said a strong message needs to be sent to promote the ecosystem across Karnataka.

The Karnataka government is also coming out with a whitepaper to tackle the problems and come up with better solutions, even at the cost of exposing the shortcomings of the government. Furthermore, the government has ensured that internet connectivity will be there in any part of the state, even in forests or remote places. Also, the government is committed to bringing 24x7 power supply across the state. Dr Ashwathnarayan said the state is surplus in power and generating only about half of the potential.

"We have capacity of producing 25,000MW, we are producing only 12,000MW. The biggest challenge is people are not willing to pay and providing electricity free of cost," he said.