“It is an enterprise for India’s transformation on a scale that is, perhaps, unmatched in human history. Not just to touch the lives of the weakest, farthest and the poorest citizen of India, but change the way our nation will live and work.”, said PM Narendra Modi about his ambitious Digital India program here at the Digital Dinner he hosted for the top honchos of Silicon Valley.
Acknowledging the power of social media and technology, Modi hailed the contribution of Silicon Valley and California where new ideas see the first light of the day, in bringing the world together with the help of social media and technology. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have become the new neighborhoods of the new world, said the PM in the beginning his speech.
From cleaner energy to better healthcare and safer transport, everything is converging around the work you do.
Modi said giving numerous examples from India itself as to how technology has been able to impact the lives of millions of people, whether it is the group of farmers who have created a whats app group to share information on farming practices or a mother in a distant hill village who has a better chance to save her new born infant with the help of technology.
We are using technology to impart scale and speed to development. Entirely new possibilities have emerged to change the development model. But for all this, we must bridge the digital divide and promote digital literacy in the same way that we seek to ensure general literacy.
Modi effectively pitched the idea of a Digital India in front of the top technical minds of the world by citing his government efforts to attack poverty by using the power of networks and mobile phones to launch a new era of empowerment and inclusion.
He pointed towards the recent initiatives and developments in India which include opening 180 million new bank accounts in a few months; direct transfer of benefits to the poor; funds for the unbanked and providing insurance within the reach of the poorest and pension for all.
Modi further talked about the challenges and opportunities associated with his plethora of campaigns such as E-Governance through mygov.in and m-Governance through Narendra Modi mobile app; Ebiz portal to make approvals for businesses and citizens easy and efficient; Digital Locker for every citizen to store personal documents; expansion plans of the National Optical Fibre Network that will take broadband to our 600,000 villages; public Wi-Fi hot-spots; Common Service Centers in villages and towns and his recent smart cities project based on IT as integral component of infrastructure. He also announced the upcoming partnership with Google with which the government plans to introduce free public-WiFi hot -spots at 500 railway stations — which could well be the biggest technical advancement Indian railway stations might have seen in decades.
And as was already being expected from Modi, he indicated towards possible relaxation of norms and creating a favorable environment for new startups and businesses to work in India as he admitted that to achieve the vision of Digital India, the government must also start thinking a bit like them (Silicon Valley companies).
From creating infrastructure to services, from manufacture of products to human resource development, from support governments to enabling citizens and promoting digital literacy, Digital India is a vast cyber world of opportunities for you
Modi said towards the end of his 20 minute address at the dinner.
Modi has already met Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple Inc and also visited the Tesla office where he met with the Tesla CEO Elon Musk and discussed about the possibilities and innovations in the field of renewable energy.
Prime Minister Modi and I talked about electricity generation and how there are ways to skip ahead with it as with cellphones,
Before he concludes his visit at community reception at San Jose, Modi is scheduled to visit Google Mountain View’s headquarters as well as Facebook headquarters where he will also participate in an one hour Q&A round with Mark Zuckerberg answering questions from people all over the world.