‘Digital India can create a trillion dollar economy if technology is leveraged properly’

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Kiran Soni Gupta

Digital India can create a trillion dollar economy, provided we leverage the digital technology to our use, says Kiran Soni Gupta, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Electronics & IT, Government of India at Elets 9th Knowledge Exchange Summit, held in Goa on 11-12 May, 2019.

Speaking at the inaugural session, she stressed on the fact that the technology is touching multiple chords in our lives and the scheme of Digital India has transformed the interface of communication between the Government and the citizens. “We have experienced reforms in several sectors, be it Agriculture or e-Passport system, e-Hospitals, e-Courts, Digi-Lockers, Common Service Centres for the citizens to name a few. The whole interface of interaction between government and public has changed.”

Gupta further states that although technology has been deployed massively across the State and Central Government departments, the complete success of the scheme Digital India would be possible when the digital or technology barrier is removed across social strata and each and every citizen, irrespective of their age, socio-economic background uses the technology. “The greatest challenge for us is to create the infrastructure to levitate towards the trillion dollar economy. For that we have to take care of the last man standing as well who is a part of Digital India to make him aware,” she says.

She also adds, “National Institute of Electronics & Information Technology (NIEIT), a small organisation that works with Ministry of Electronics & IT (MEIT), does the whole job of digital literacy. Now we aim to train people, who have not received formal education, with providing digital knowledge. Although the younger generation is much more familiar with the digital technology, we need to create an inclusive ecosystem where citizens across generations are well aware and trained in using technology in their day to day lives. “

Sharing instances on how the Government has leveraged technology through different schemes, Gupta states, “Two of the shining examples of application of technology by the government are Aadhaar and Government e Marketplace (GeM). The procurement process has been streamlined and has created ease in doing business. Although the process is still evolving, it has eradicated a lot of vices of the system.”

Digital India leading way for Data Mining and Analytics

According to Gupta, Digital India acts as a database to tell us about the number of internet users we have in the country and how the mobile users are changing and the fact that almost 12 billion applications are downloaded every day.

She says, “Government is the biggest repository of data. We have to think about utilising this Big Data by drawing inferences and connecting dots which can give us important cues on policy formation. Ultimately, the aim of Digital India is to enable the Government to do the right policy formulation which aims at the welfare of people.”

Listen to the full address by Kiran Soni Gupta in the video below.

Cybersecirty – Biggest Challenge of Technological Growth

Talking about the challenges of the increasing usage of technology and Digital India, Gupta states, “One of the challenges we face is of data privacy and protection. The draft of Data Protection and Security Bill is almost ready and is likely to be introduced in the next session of the Parliament. Cybersecurity is an area of rising significance. We all know that information is power and the wars will be fought on the digital platform. We know how much security we need to build in our systems. With every email exchange or online transaction, a huge amount of data is stored which can be easily misused.”

“While building the system, we need to make it secure and ensure that the end result is nothing but welfare of people,” she adds.

The way forward

Talking about the future course of action, Gupta emphasises that we need to implement technology like Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Blockchain etc in our course of action. While she does not endorse the predicament that technological advancement would replace role of human beings in the work force, she believes that people should be able to predict the future knowledge skills and pass on the baton to the future generation.

Gupta says, “Many a times we are not prepared to embrace the changes. Here we need to predict the future skills that would be required and engage the youth in it who are going to take on the task from us. While the government is coming with good pilot projects, I feel along with being receptive to innovation and new ideas, there is a need to scale it up and defuse this among others so that they can also follow.”

Talking about the future course of action, she stressed on the scope of dialogue between the industry and the government.

In her concluding note she said, “Technology should be a beck and call. We need to be literate and assist others with it. But on the other hand, like fire, technology is a bad master but a good servant. We need to enhance the system of sharing information and see how we can take this India forward.  I can assure you that we call can take Digital India to the next higher level.”

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