India using tech as weapon in war against poverty: PM Modi

Modi said Indian youth are being empowered by increasing tech access
Last Updated : 16 November 2022, 07:51 IST
Last Updated : 16 November 2022, 07:51 IST

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said India is using technology as a weapon in the war against poverty, and the country's youth have ensured tech and talent globalisation. In his video message to the Bengaluru Tech Summit (BTS), he also said India is no more a place known for red tape.

"It is known for red carpet for investors. Whether it is FDI reforms, or liberalisation of drone rules, or steps in the semiconductor sector, or the production incentive schemes in various sectors, or the rise of ease of doing business", he told the 25th edition of Asia's largest technology event.

India has many excellent factors coming together, Modi noted. "Your investment and our innovation can do wonders. Your trust and our tech talent can make things happen. I invite you all to work with us as we lead the world in solving its problems." India's technology and innovation, he said, have already impressed the world.

"But the future will be much bigger than our present. Because India has innovative youth and increasing tech access". Noting that the power of India's youth is known across the world, Modi said they have ensured tech globalisation and talent globalisation. "Healthcare, management, finance - you will find young Indians leading many domains. We are using our talent for global good. Even in India, their impact is being seen," he said.

India, Modi said, jumped to the 40th rank in the Global Innovation Index this year. "In 2015, we were ranked 81. The number of unicorn start-ups in India has doubled since 2021. We are now the 3rd largest start-up hub in the world. We have over 81,000 recognised startups. There are hundreds of international companies that have R&D centres in India. This is due to India's talent pool," he said.

Modi said Indian youth are being empowered by increasing tech access. A mobile and data revolution is happening in the country. In the last eight years, broadband connections rose from 60 million to 810 million, smartphone users went up from 150 million to 750 million. The growth of the internet is faster in rural areas than in urban areas. A new demography is being connected to the information superhighway, he said.

For a long time, Modi said, technology was seen as an exclusive domain, and it was said to be only for the high and mighty. "But India has shown how to democratise technology. India has also shown how to give tech a human touch. In India, technology is a force of equality and empowerment," he said.

Referring to the world's largest health insurance scheme, 'Ayushman Bharat,' the PM said it provides a safety net for nearly 200 million families. "It means, about 600 million people. This programme is run based on a tech platform. India ran the world's largest Covid-19 vaccine drive. It was run through a tech-based platform called COWIN."

Speaking on the education sector, he said India has one of the largest online repositories of open courses. There are thousands of courses available across different subjects. Over 10 million successful certifications have happened. This is all done online and free. "Our data tariffs are among the lowest in the world. During Covid-19, low data costs helped poor students to attend online classes. Without this, two precious years would have been lost for them", Modi said.

The Prime Minister said India is using technology as a weapon in the war against poverty. "Under the 'Svamitva' scheme, we are using drones to map lands in rural areas. Then, property cards are given to the people. This reduces land disputes. It also helps the poor to access financial services and credit", he said.

During Covid-19, many countries were struggling with a problem. They knew people needed help. They knew benefit transfers would help. But they did not have the infrastructure to take benefits to people. But India showed how technology could be a force for the good. "Our 'Jan Dhan Aadhar Mobile Trinity' gave us the power to directly transfer benefits. Benefits went directly to authenticated and verified beneficiaries. Billions of rupees reached the bank accounts of the poor", he said.

"During Covid-19, everyone was worried about small businesses. We helped them but we went one step further. We help street vendors access working capital to restart businesses. Those who start using digital payments are given incentives. This is making digital transactions a way of life for them."

"Have you heard of a government running a successful e-commerce platform? It has happened in India. We have the Government e-Marketplace, also called GeM," he said. It is a platform where small traders and businesses fulfil the government's needs. Technology has helped small businesses find a big customer. At the same time, this has reduced the scope for corruption. Similarly, technology has helped with online tendering. This has accelerated projects and boosted transparency. It has also hit a procurement value of Rs one trillion last year, Modi said.

The Prime Minister emphasised on the importance of innovation. "But when backed by integration, it becomes a force", he said. "Technology is being used to end silos, enable synergy and ensure service. On a shared platform, there are no silos".

Citing the PM Gati Shakti National Masterplan, Modi said India is investing over Rs 100 trillion in infrastructure over the next few years. The number of stakeholders in any infra project is huge. Traditionally, in India, big projects were often delayed. Exceeding expenses, and extending timelines used to be common. "But now, we have the Gati Shakti shared platform. The central government, state governments, district administrations, different departments can coordinate. Each of these knows what the other is doing." "Information relating to projects, land use and institutions are available at a single place. So, each stakeholder sees the same data. This improves coordination and solves problems even before they occur. It is accelerating approvals and clearances," he said.

Published 16 November 2022, 07:51 IST

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