English rendering of the text of PM’s remarks at the launch of Digital India week

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English rendering of the text of PM’s remarks at the launch of Digital India week

My greetings and good wishes to all the Ambassadors, industry representatives, my young friends and all of you gathered here today.

My hearty compliments to Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad and hit team for coming out with such an integrated approach for ensuring Digital India. I admire the team for the same and am confident that it will enable all of us to realize the dreams we are nurturing in this regard.

I am glad to see several industry representatives here today on this occasion and I was informed that most of them have stated their views on Digital India. Shri Prasad informed of the Rs.4.50 lakh investment potential which could generate employment for about 18 lakh people.

Things are changing very fast all across. In the past, when we used to visit to the families of friends and relatives, we all know what a child would do. If you wear glasses or have a pen in your pocket, the child would pick one of them. No more now. These days a child is eager to snatch your mobile phone and quickly starts pressing the key buttons. If the mobile does not operate or respond to the wishes of the child, he or she would start crying. That is the change we are witnessing. That is the power of digitization. If we don’t keep pace with this fast changing times, the world would move far away from us and we would be left behind.

In the history of humanity, human settlements whether rural or urban came up along river banks or sea coast and now along highways. But this pattern is changing. The future of human settlements would be along the cyber ways. Optical fibre lines will decide where people are going to stay. We have to gear up ourselves to this modern technological change. If the 125 crore Indians, of which 65% are below the age of 35 years of age, rise to this challenge, our future would be glorious. While we should take pride in our glorious past, we need to adapt to modern science and technological advances. Then only we can advantage of demographic divided we often talk about. We need to prepare our country to take advantage of the potential benefits of digitization.  We have about 25 to 30 crore internet users in our country and tis.

Times have changed, now cities located there wherever highway passes and in future people will reside there wherever optical fibre passes. This is a great change, if 1.25crore people’s country, in which 65% below 35 year old, demonstrate its ability to world, we should not only proud on our glorious past, but also prepared for future. Whatever be our heritage and ability, it is inevitable to link-up with modern science and technology. If demographic dividend will not get digital strength, then our demographic dividend would not take as much advantage on global level as we would take. Therefore, there is a need to prepare the country.

We have about 25-30crore internet users in our country which is considered as large. But there are many more who are deprived of access to internet. Those who can afford it and capable of using it are getting the access to internet. But what about those left out? Should we leave out such a large section of our people? Should we allow this digital divide to perpetuate? If we don’t address this divide it will have serious implications for the future of our country. Those who are digitally empowered would march ahead and the deprived would be left behind further accentuating the existing disparities.

It is hence, our responsibility to ensure that the poor are not left out of the fold of this catalyst of change and development. If we don’t empower our farmers and the villages with this fruit of modern science, they would remain beyond the pale of development. Therefore, we have take up this issue of ensuring access for all to the digital world, as a challenge and do the needful. How the world is undergoing rapid change due to digital technology, you get to see in you homes. For example, when a family decides to go to a restaurant for a meal, and even as the elders keep debating as to what to eat and where to eat, the 15 year old child sitting next to you listening to the debate, immediately goes to Google Guru. He scouts for all the information regarding the range of menu and the hotels around and guides you. That is the change being propelled by this digital technology.

We need to harness this technology for changing the paradigm of governance so that we realize the canon of ‘Minimum Government – Maximum Governance’. E-governance is the best way of ensuring quality services to our citizens and this domain is undergoing rapid changes as well. ‘M’ does not mean ‘Modi’. It stands for ‘Mobile Governance’. We are not far off from the day when all governance and business transactions are handled in an integrated manner and delivered through mobile phones. It means real ‘mobile governance’. All required institutional restructuring needs to be done in this regard.

e-governance means ‘easy governance’ and ‘economical governance’. Economical governance means one of efficiency. So, it needs to be promoted. Present governance is beset with so many problems including duplication of same work. It is time taking and things move very slow. Monitoring is difficult given different layers of governance. Technology has made conversation and consultation easy. When digital platforms are put in place and starts functioning, all these issues could be addressed. These days a school going child carries a bag on his back whose weight is more than that of the child. Is this necessary? This burden of a child can be resolved under Digital India approach. The whole range of text books that a child needs to carry can be incorporated in one single device. So, it is not correct to say that the digital tools are for elite only. They serve all.

When our country embarked on launching satellites, there were people who questioned their relevance for poor India? But the same satellites now help the farmers through accurate weather forecasting. Investments in such innovations will always be questioned by some but eventually they realize the benefits following from them. Now one has to go to a bank for depositing or drawing money but the day is not far off when all such transactions will be done from one’s mobile phone.

During the period of industrial revolution in the 19th century, our country could not take advantage of it because we were under colonial rule. But it is not the case in the current era of IT revolution. While we missed the bus during Industrial Revolution, our country, which is a free nation, is in the forefront of this new revolution. We are compelled to import petroleum products as we have limited resources and our energy needs are huge. But why should India be the second largest importer of electronic goods given such a vast pool of talent? This is not convincing and acceptable. Why our IT professionals and enterprising industrialists are not able to manufacture globally competitive electronic equipment? We need to address this issue seriously so that we can manufacture such equipment. I urge upon industrialists to come forward in this regard. The Government is keen to help our youth under Start UP India programme. A good number of youth have already taken advantage of this window.

We will be second only to the US in the near future in the domain of Start Ups. But we need to move fast in this direction. I would like to pose one question to our youth and particularly, to the young IT professionals. When most of the IT companies of the world are run and manned by Indian professionals, what is the reason for Google not investing in our country and instead doing so elsewhere? I urge upon our youth to seize the opportunities under Digital India

The first and foremost concern of our country shall be that as much focus should be laid on ‘Design In India’ as we are emphasizing on ‘Make In India’. We should design products as per the taste, nature and the needs of the people. We should design digital products in that language that is understood by the needy. We need to design products to meet the needs of different age groups. Our’s is a market of 125 crore people. The youth of our country, with their talent and the spirit of innovation can further energise and drive the Digital India campaign. I urge the youth to rise to the occasion.

In the current world scenario, time has come for India to shoulder a much larger responsibility. We can see bloodless wars taking place and I say with responsibility that such bloodless wars are a reality. How to ensure peace in such a scenario of bloodless wars? Should we not take the lead in ensuring peace in such situations? The bloodless wars that I am referring to are the cyber attacks, the battles in cyber space. We need to ensure Cyber Security. We have a huge challenge staring at us and a huge opportunity as well as we seek to address such cyber wars. We need to focus our attention on this.

On this occasion of launching of Digital India, it is my earnest hope that our digital dreams will soon become a reality. As we seek to realize our dreams, I would like to say;

I dream of a DIGITAL INDIA where:
High-speed Digital Highways unite the Nation
There was a time, when there was a demand for Highways, now Highways alone cannot serve purpose. We should have information Highways also.
I dream of a DIGITAL INDIA where: 1.2 billion Connected Indians drive Innovation
I dream of a DIGITAL INDIA where: Knowledge is strength – and empowers the People
I dream of a DIGITAL INDIA where: Access to Information knows no barriers
I dream of a DIGITAL INDIA where: Government is Open – and Governance Transparent…

Digital technology can be effectively used to check corruption. We have auctioned several coal mines and not even a single allegation was made though it involved huge financial transactions. It is because complete transparency was ensured using technology. This goes to prove that Information and Communication Technology can be effectively used to check corruption by ensuring transparency.

I dream of a DIGITAL INDIA where: Technology ensures the Citizen-Government Interface is Incorruptible

I dream of a DIGITAL INDIA where: Government Services are easily and efficiently available to citizens on Mobile devices

I dream of a DIGITAL INDIA where: Government proactively engages with the people through Social Media

I dream of a DIGITAL INDIA where: Quality Education reaches the most inaccessible corners driven by Digital Learning
I dream of a DIGITAL INDIA where: Quality Healthcare percolates right up to the remotest regions powered by e-Healthcare
I dream of a DIGITAL INDIA where: Farmers are empowered with Real-time Information to be connected with Global Markets
I dream of a DIGITAL INDIA where: Mobile enabled Emergency Services ensure Personal Security
I dream of a DIGITAL INDIA where: Cyber Security becomes an integral part of our National Security
I dream of a DIGITAL INDIA where: Mobile and e-Banking ensures Financial Inclusion
I dream of a DIGITAL INDIA where: e-Commerce drives Entrepreneurship
I dream of a DIGITAL INDIA where: the World looks to India for the next Big Idea
I dream of a DIGITAL INDIA where: the Netizen is an Empowered Citizen

Thank you all !

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