Digital India campaign is designed to empower the country and bridge its digital divide, Union Minister for Communications and IT Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Saturday, stressing the role played by technology in bringing transparency to governance.
“The digital profile of India is changing,” Prasad said in his keynote address to the annual India Conference 2016 organised by the Harvard Business School and Harvard Kennedy School.
Citing some of the success stories where in people are taking advantage of digital development, Prasad said digital India is designed to empower India.
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“It is meant to bridge the digital divide,” he said at the start of the two-day conference.
Prasad said following the idea of smart cities, the government is coming up with the idea of a digital village concept, which would have wireless, virtual connection, a digital health center, solar-powered LED lights, and a digital education center.
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“The whole campaign is designed to empower India,” he said. After coming to power, Prasad said his ministry has done away with middlemen.
“Come to my office, there are no middle men. It has been done away with,” he said.
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“The first new idea of India emerging today is good governance. And for good governance today transparency is essential. We have done that,” he said.
Prasad said as a result of fiber network connectivity in rural areas in particular, e-commerce is rising in the country in a very “amazing” way.
“The startup process is changing in India. It is truly extraordinary. A new India is emerging and we want to encourage that to create new opportunities,” the minister said.
Later in an interaction with students, Prasad responded to a wide range of questions from reservation, to salary of research scholars in India, free basics and increasing presence of pornography on the internet.
Reiterating government’s position on caste-based reservation, Prasad said the regulator in India is looking at the free basics issue.
“It’s a tariff issue. Let’s wait for that,” he said, adding the government would take a call considering India’s best interest.
At the same time India being a democratic and free country, everyone including Facebook has the right to put forth its view publicly.
Prasad invited a Harvard Indian student doing PhD in nuclear science to come and meet him, after he asked the minister that when people like him can make night vision goggle in his lab in four hours, why to buy from outside.
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“India needs you. Come to India, meet me. I will take you to the defence minister and help you on night visit glasses. India needs you,” Prasad said.