He added that India is no longer a place known for bureaucracy.
“It’s known for the red carpet for investors. Whether it’s FDI reforms, or the liberalization of drone rules, or moves in the semiconductor sector, or the production incentive schemes in different sectors, or the increasing ease of doing business,” he told the 25th edition of Asia’s largest tech event.
Many excellent factors come together in India, Modi noted.
“Your investment and our innovation can work wonders. Your trust and our technical talent can make things happen. I invite you all to work with us as we lead the world in solving your problems.”
India’s technology and innovation have already impressed the world, he said.
“But the future will be much bigger than our present. Because India has an innovative youth and increasing access to technology.”
Noting that the power of Indian youth is known around the world, Modi said they have ensured the globalization of technology and talent.
“Health, management, finance – you will find young Indians leading many areas. We use our talent for the global good. Even in India, their influence can be seen,” he said.
India, Modi said, has jumped to 40th place in the Global Innovation Index this year.
“We ranked 81st in 2015. The number of unicorn startups in India has doubled since 2021. We are now the third largest start-up hub in the world. We have over 81,000 recognized startups. There are hundreds of international companies that have R&D centers in India. It’s because of India’s talent pool,” he said.
Modi said Indian youth are empowered by increasing access to technology. A mobile and data revolution is taking place in the country.
In the last eight years, broadband connections have increased from 60 million to 810 million, and the number of smartphone users from 150 million to 750 million. Internet growth is faster in rural areas than in urban areas. A new demographic will be connected to the information superhighway, he said.
Technology has long been considered an exclusive domain, Modi said, and is only for the big and powerful.
“But India has shown how to democratize technology. India has also shown how to put a human touch on technology. In India, technology is a force of equality and empowerment,” he said.
Referring to the world’s largest health insurance scheme, Ayushman Bharat, the prime minister said it provides a safety net for nearly 200 million families.
“That means about 600 million people. This program is implemented on the basis of a technology platform. India conducted the world’s largest COVID-19 vaccine campaign. It was conducted through a technology-based platform called COWIN.”
Referring to the education sector, he said India has one of the largest online repositories of open courses. There are thousands of courses on different subjects. Over 10 million successful certifications have been achieved. This is all done online and for free.
“Our data plans are among the lowest in the world. During COVID-19, low data costs helped poor students take online classes. Without this, two valuable years would have been lost for her,” Modi said.
The Prime Minister said India is using technology as a weapon in the fight against poverty.
“Under the ‘Svamitva’ program, we use drones to map land in rural areas. Then people are given property maps. This reduces land disputes. It also helps the poor to access financial services and credit,” he said.
During COVID-19, many countries faced a problem. They knew people needed help. They knew transfer payments would help. But they didn’t have the infrastructure to bring benefits to the people. But India has shown how technology can be a force for good.
“Our ‘Jan Dhan Aadhar Mobile Trinity’ gave us the power to transfer benefits directly. Benefits went directly to authenticated and verified beneficiaries. Billions of rupees reached the bank accounts of the poor,” he said.
“During COVID-19, everyone was concerned about small businesses. We helped them, but we went one step further. We help street vendors access working capital to get businesses back on track. Those who start using digital payments are incentivized way of life for them.”
“Have you heard of a government running a successful e-commerce platform? That happened in India. We have the Government E-Marketplace, also called GeM,” he said.
It is a platform where small traders and businesses meet the needs of the government. Technology has helped small businesses find a big customer. At the same time, this has reduced the scope for corruption. Similarly, technology has helped with online bidding. This has accelerated projects and increased transparency. It has also reached a procurement value of 1 trillion rupees over the past year, Modi said.
The Prime Minister stressed the importance of innovation.
“But when it’s supported by integration, it becomes a force,” he said. “Technology is deployed to break down silos, enable synergies and ensure service. There are no silos on a common platform.”
Citing PM Gati Shakti’s national master plan, Modi said India will invest over Rs 100 trillion in infrastructure over the next few years. The number of people involved in any infrastructure project is huge. Traditionally, large projects in India have often been delayed. Overspending and extending deadlines used to be common.
“But now we have the common platform Gati Shakti. The central government, state governments, district administrations, different departments can coordinate. Each of them knows what the other is doing.”
“Information on projects, land use and institutions is available in one place. So every stakeholder sees the same data. This improves coordination and solves problems before they arise. It speeds up approvals and clearances,” he said.
Inputs from PTI