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Beginning a Maharashtra startup story: Kaustubh Dhavse at TechSparks

Maharashtra’s transformation of its infrastructure over the past 8-10 years can act as a catalyst for entrepreneurs to set up businesses in the state, said Kaustubh Dhavse, Officer on Special Duty to the Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra. 

“I think what Maharashtra did not do from (year) 2000 till the next 10-15 years was build the necessary infrastructure and the ecosystem for startups to fly,” he said in an interaction with YourStory Founder and CEO Shradha Sharma at TechSparks 2023 in Bengaluru. 

But Maharashtra, although slightly delayed, has now successfully understood the impact of not executing infrastructure projects on time, said Dhavse, who got an opportunity to be a part of the government as a lateral entry in 2014. 

“When you come to Mumbai in 2024, you [entrepreneurs] will realise that the efficiency with which you’re moving across points is remarkable,” he said, giving examples of ongoing initiatives such as the Coastal Road project, India’s longest sea bridge connecting Mumbai to Navi Mumbai, as well as the Navi Mumbai airport that could relieve the burden on the existing infrastructure. 

While noting that startups found a welcoming environment, and a cost-effective and vibrant ecosystem in Bengaluru, he indicated it would be hard to miss Maharashtra as it could be the gateway for India to become a $5 trillion economy. 

On the policy front, Dhavse said, Maharashtra has a very solid startup policy, but it’s not a “tick mark”. “It’s a very dynamic policy…you cannot have a very specific policy associated with a particular sector and incentives that are given to a sector because of the nature of the technology”

Dhavse also said the state offered a high-quality uninterrupted power supply at a subsidy to data centre companies. “These data centre companies may not be big job centres but they are essential to our digital economy,” he said.

Edited by Kanishk Singh

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