Underlining the need for a concerted digital push to complement the government’s flagship ‘Make in India’ manufacturing thrust, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday highlighted its importance as an effective tool to deal with the problem of corruption, help provide efficient governance and bridge the rich-poor divide.
Inaugurating the ‘Digital India’ week in New Delhi in the presence of senior ministerial colleagues, industry chiefs and CEOs of several global companies, Modi said: “We have to move from E-governance to M-governance. M-governance does not mean Modi governance. It means Mobile governance.”
Industrialists present at the event pledged Rs 4.5 lakh crore as the Prime Minister sketched a broad roadmap of how he plans to digitise India, a project that is expected to catalyse big-ticket investments in IT services and technology manufacturing.
Reliance Industries plans to invest about Rs 2.5 lakh crore in digital initiatives, chairman Mukesh Ambani said, though he did not indicate a timeline. “Normally, industry moves faster than government”, he said,” but with Digital India, I have no hesitation in saying the government has moved faster.”At the event, Cyrus Mistry said the Tata Group would hire 60,000 IT professionals this year, and Kumar Mangalam Birla said his Aditya Birla Group would invest Rs 44,500 crore in the next five years in infra and digital space.
Highlighting the country’s potential in IT sector, Modi called upon the youth to innovate and go for “Design in India”. He promised government support to ‘start-ups’ and said India had the potential to become the second country after the US in this space.
Referring to huge IT capabilities of the country, Modi promised to encourage manufacturing of electronic goods, the second largest imports after petroleum products. He said he dreams of a Digital India where government services are easily available to citizens on mobile devices.
“I dream of a Digital India where government proactively engages with people through social media… I dream of Digital India where cyber security becomes an integral part of national security,” he said, reminding the audience of the speech by Martin Luther King.
Citing the advantages of the IT sector, Modi said it helps in dealing with problems like corruption. “Technology played a big role in auction of coal mines. So many coal mines were auctioned but there is no allegation against the government because it was all done in a transparent manner.”
On global worries over cyber security, he said India should come up with solutions to meet the challenge posed by this threat of “bloodless war”.
“Clouds of a bloodless war are hovering over the world. The world is terrified by this… India has a big role to play in this. Can India play this big role? India has talent. Can India provide a shield to the world by providing innovative and credible solutions? Why should we not have such a confidence? We should accept this challenge to ensure that the entire humanity lives in peace,” he said.
On dangers posed to cyber security, he said, “somebody, with an education of 10th or 12th class, sitting thousands of miles away, can clean up your bank account with a click of mouse. This situation needs to be addressed.”