This time NASSCOM’s Technology and Leadership Forum is very special in my view. This is a time when the world is looking at India with more hope and confidence than ever before.
We have been told: ना दैन्यम्, ना पलायनम् i.e., how difficult the challenge is, we should not consider ourselves weak, nor should we be afraid of the challenge and escape. During the Corona period, India’s knowledge, science and technology has not only proved itself but has evolved itself also. There was a time when we were dependent on other countries for smallpox vaccines. There is also a time when we are offering Made in India corona vaccines to many countries of the world. The solutions that India gave during the corona are an inspiration for the whole world today. And, as I have had the opportunity to listen to all of you colleagues now, and some CEOs also pointed out, India’s IT industry has also done wonders. When the chips were down, your code kept things running. When the entire country was confined to the boundary walls of the house, you were running the industry smoothly from home. The last year’s figures may astonish the world, but the people of India find it very natural given your abilities.
In such a situation, when each sector was affected by the corona, you achieved a growth of about 2 per cent. Even when there were apprehensions of de-growth and if India’s IT industry adds $4 billion more to its revenue, it is really commendable, and all of you deserve appreciation. During this period, the IT industry has proved why it is a strong pillar of India’s growth by giving millions of new jobs. Today, all data, every indicator, is showing that the growth momentum of the IT industry is going to touch new heights.
New India and every Indian is impatient for progress. Our government understands this spirit of New India and its youth. The aspirations of more than 130 crore Indians inspire us to move forward quickly. The expectations associated with the New India are from the government as well from you and the private sector of the country.
India’s IT industry had established its footprints on global platforms years ago. Our Indian experts were contributing to the whole world by delivering services and solutions. But there were some reasons why the IT industry could not benefit from the vast domestic market in India. This led to a growing digital divide in India. In a way, we can say that the situation was like the darkness under the lamp. The policies and decisions of our government are witness to how we have changed this approach over the years.
Our government is also well aware that future leadership cannot develop in bondage. Therefore, the government is working to free the tech industry from unnecessary regulations. The National Digital Communication Policy was one such big attempt. A national policy was also formulated to make India a global software product hub. The cycle of reforms continued even during the Corona period. In the Corona period itself, “Other Service Provider” (OSP) guidelines were released, which was also mentioned in your discussion. This made it easier for you to work in new circumstances and you faced minimal interruption. Even today, as some of the friends pointed out, more than 90 per cent of people are working from their homes. Not only that, some people are working from their native villages. See, it is going to become a very big force in itself. The benefit of including information technology in 12 champion service sectors has started accruing to you.
Two days back, another reform has been carried out in an important policy, which has been welcomed by all of you also. Freeing the map and geo-spatial data from control and opening it to the industry is a very important step. This is a step which is in sync with the theme of this forum – ‘Shaping the future towards a better normal’ and I think the government has in a way done the work of this summit. This is a step that is going to empower our tech startup ecosystem. This is a step that strengthens not just the IT industry but reinforces the comprehensive mission of Atmanirbhar Bharat. I recollect, many entrepreneurs have been discussing these restrictions and red tape on maps and geo-special data at different forums.
Now let me tell you one thing, concerns related to security used to be flagged that if these things were opened, there would be a danger to security. The issue came up again and again. But self-confidence is a great force to deal with security issues. Today India is full of confidence and we are watching it on the border. Only then, these kinds of decisions are possible. It is not that these decisions revolve around technology only, or these are administrative reforms, or the government has withdrawn itself from particular policies or rules. These decisions are indicative of India’s competence. India is confident that we will be able to keep the country safe and also give opportunities to the youth of the country who can prove their worth to the world even after making these decisions. I had a sense of this problem whenever I had a discussion with you. This decision has been taken with the idea that our young entrepreneurs and startups should have the full freedom to take advantage of the new opportunities that have emerged in the world. The government has full confidence in the citizens of the country, our startups and innovators. With this confidence, self-certification is being encouraged.
In the last six years, the products and the solutions that the IT industry has prepared, we have made them an important part of governance. Digital India, in particular, has empowered the common Indian and has connected him with the government. Today, the data has also been democratized and the last mile service delivery has also been effective. Delivery of hundreds of government services is being made online today. Effective use of technology in governance has also provided great relief to the poor and middle class and has also relieved them from corruption. Our digital platforms like Fin Tech products and UPI are discussed all over the world today, including the World Bank. It is in front of us how we have moved from a heavily cash dependent society to the less cash society within three-four years. The greater use of digital transactions is also choking the sources of black money. Each pie of the poor is reaching to him without any leakage due to JAM trinity and DBT.
Transparency is the most important condition of good governance. This transformation is now happening in the governance system of the country. That is why the public confidence in the government of India is constantly growing in every survey. Now, the governance is being brought out of the government files and brought to the dashboard. The effort is to ensure that the ordinary citizens of the country can monitor every activity of the government and the government departments on their phones. Whatever may be the work, it should be before the country.
What kinds of questions were being raised about government procurement? Who among us does not know? We also raised the issues and flagged our concerns. Now the entire government procurement is done through Government e-marketplace i.e., GeM, through the use of digital technology and with complete transparency. Today, most of the government tenders are invited online. Every project, whether it is our infrastructure projects or the houses for the poor, is being geo-tagged so that they can be completed on time. Even the mapping of village houses is being done with drones. Human interface is being reduced in tax-related matters and a faceless system is being developed. Providing a fast, precise and transparent system to the common man is what according to me means the minimum government, maximum governance.
Given the image and identity of Indian technology in the world today, the country has very high hopes and expectations from you. You have ensured that our technology is more and more ‘Made in India’. I urge you that your solutions should also have the impression of Make for India now. We will have to create new criteria for our competitiveness if we have to take the Indian technology leadership further in multiple domains and to maintain this momentum. We will have to compete with ourselves. In order to become a global technology leader, the Indian IT industry will have to pay equal attention to the culture of excellence and institution building along with innovation and enterprise. I have a special message for start-up founders. Don’t confine yourself to just valuations and exit strategies. Think how you can create institutions that will outlast this century. Think how you can create world class products that will set the global benchmark on excellence. There can be no compromise on these twin goals, for without them we will always be a follower and not a global leader.
This year, we are heralding the 75th year of our independence. This is the right time to make new goals, and put the entire might to achieve them. From now on we have to work on how many new world class products we would give and how many global leaders we have to create when India celebrates 100 years of its independence, when we will celebrate the century after 25-26 years. You set the target, the country is with you. Such a large population of India is your great strength. In the past few months, we have seen how the people of India have grown impatient for tech solutions. People are waiting for new tech solutions. People want to try new things and they have an enthusiasm especially for Indian applications. The country has made up its mind. You also make up your mind.
The IT industry, tech industry, innovators, researchers and young minds have a huge responsibility in giving pro-active technological solutions to address India’s challenges in the 21st century. For example, our cultivation faces huge problems due to excess use of water and fertilizer. Should the industry not develop smart technology based on artificial intelligence that can inform the farmer about the requirement for water and fertilizer in every crop? It will not be enough by developing technology only; we have to explore solutions that can be adopted at the mass level in India. Similarly, India is looking at you today for how the poorest of the poor can benefit from the power of health and wellness data. The country is also expecting better solutions from you to make telemedicine effective.
With regard to education and skill development, the tech industry will have to give solutions to the country which are accessible to the largest population of the country. Today, an atmosphere for technology is being created in schools and colleges of the country through Atal Tinkering labs and Atal Incubation centres. The new national education policy also emphasizes education as well as skilling. These efforts cannot succeed without the cooperation of the industry. One thing I would also say is that you review the outcome of your CSR activities. If the focus of your CSR activities will be on children from backward areas of the country and you connect them more with digital education and develop analytical thinking, lateral thinking in them, then it will be a huge game-changer. The government is making efforts on its part, but your help can do wonders. India is not short of ideas. It needs mentors who can help turn ideas into reality.
Today the tier-2 and tier-3 cities are becoming the major centres of Atmanirbhar Bharat in the country. These small cities are today becoming the big centres of demand and growth of IT-based technologies. The youth of these small towns of the country are emerging as wonderful innovators. The focus of the government is also on building better infrastructure in these small cities so that there is no inconvenience to the countrymen as well as entrepreneurs like you. The more you go to these small cities and towns, the more they will grow.
I am sure that you will have a serious discussion on solutions for the present and future in the next three days. As usual, the government will seriously consider your suggestions. I must say one thing. During my last address from the Red Fort on 15th August, I had set a target before the country that the optical fiber network is to be completed in six lakh villages in 1,000 days. Since I am following it, we will probably do it and the states will also join us. But the work that follows is linked to your mind. How can the poorest of the poor of the country use the infrastructure of the optical fiber network, how new user-friendly products are introduced, how can the people of villages be connected with the government, markets, education and health? How can this skeleton be a big medium to change his life? It has to be done immediately. The start-ups should come up with such products which can fulfill the 10 requirements of the villages when the optical fiber reaches villages and can bring a major change in the lives of the children of the villages.
You see how big an opportunity it is, and so I invite you. The government is doing this work. Now decide that we have to take leadership for a long time, take it in every sphere, take it with full strength, and the nectar that will emerge from this leadership will serve the entire country.
With this expectation, wish you all the best once again.
नया भारत प्रगति के लिए अधीर है।— PMO India (@PMOIndia) February 17, 2021
हमारी सरकार नए भारत की इस भावना को समझती है।
130 करोड़ से अधिक भारतीयों की आकांक्षाएं हमें तेज़ी से आगे बढ़ने के लिए प्रेरित करती हैं।
नए भारत से जुड़ीं अपेक्षाएं जितनी सरकार से हैं, उतनी ही देश के प्राइवेट सेक्टर से भी हैं: PM
हमारी सरकार ये भलीभांति जानती है कि बंधनों में भविष्य की लीडरशिप विकसित नहीं हो सकती।— PMO India (@PMOIndia) February 17, 2021
इसलिए सरकार द्वारा Tech Industry को अनावश्यक regulations से, बंधनों से बाहर निकालने का प्रयास किया जा रहा है: PM
हमारे इंफ्रास्ट्रक्चर से जुड़े प्रोजेक्ट्स हों या गरीबों के घर, हर प्रोजेक्ट्स की Geo Tagging की जा रही है, ताकि वो समय पर पूरे किए जा सकें।— PMO India (@PMOIndia) February 17, 2021
यहां तक कि आज गांवों के घरों की मैपिंग ड्रोन से की जा रही है, टैक्स से जुड़े मामलों में भी ह्यूमेन इंटरफेस को कम किया जा रहा है: PM
मेरा start-up founders के लिए एक संदेश है।— PMO India (@PMOIndia) February 17, 2021
खुद को सिर्फ valuations और exit strategies तक ही सीमित मत करिए।
Think how you can create institutions that will outlast this century.
Think how you can create world class products that will set the global benchmark on excellence: PM