Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje today announced setting up of a Rs 500-crore fund for promotion of startups in the state as she also launched Jaipur-Kota flight services. Addressing the final session of a two-day congregation here of startups, technology enthusiasts, banks, funding agencies and government departments, she said, “We are the first state to have such Rs 500 crore funds.” She said, “We hold the startups very-very close to our heart, therefore this startup promotion fund of Rs 500 crore that we are going be setting up now.” The two-day programme called ‘Rajasthan Digifest 2017’ was organised here by the state’s Department of Information Technology (DoIT). Raje said the next Digifest will be organised next year “same time” in Udaipur. On the first day of the programme, over 200 teams of technologists, startups and other enthusiasts presented their ideas out of which the best three were selected. Raje, who was the chief guest for the programme, gave away awards to the winners which is over Rs 30 lakh of government contracts. She said the best-judged project could even go over Rs 1 crore in future. On the launch of the Jaipur-Kota flight services, she said many people were apprehensive if the operations were possible given the relatively smaller size of the airport here. “So we had to do the impossible. We made the impossible possible,” she said. She said it was a big decision not only from the point of view of tourism, but also because the city is a major education hub.
She said Rajasthan now has inter-state air connectivity from Jaipur to Bikaner, Jodhpur and Udaipur. “If we are lucky, then from the first week of September, we will be able to operate Jaipur-Kota flight to Delhi. We are trying,” she said. Four more cities are also expected to get the air connectivity to the state capital in the next phase including Swaimadhopur, Jaisalmer, Ganganagar and Kishangarh (Ajmer), she said.
During Digifest, various state government departments also exhibited e-governance initiatives they had been undertaking. They had set up nearly 40 stalls exhibiting their initiatives. “Our idea is to make people aware of e-governance facilities that government provides. One of the reasons why some government programmes don’t reach the intended beneficiaries is lack of awareness about when and how to avail those benefits. We are trying to raise awareness,” said DoIT secretary Akhil Arora. He said the event gave a unique platform to startups and entrepreneurs by bringing to one platform funding agencies, mentors, incubators and the government. He said it was the first such programme out of the capital city of Jaipur, because “we don’t want isolated island of excellence”.