Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday promised to do everything possible to make enterprise and innovation easier so that India emerges as an innovation hub and keeps pace with the fast changing world.
"The world is changing, quicker than ever before and we cannot remain oblivious to that. If we don't innovate, if we don't come up with cutting edge products there will be stagnation," he said in a 'Digital Dialogue', and added, "On the part of the government, I assure absolute support."
Here are some major things that he had to say:
- Exhorting people to keep innovating as "innovation is what will help us grow faster", the Prime Minister particularly encouraged the start-ups, saying they are "the engines of exponential growth, manifesting the power of innovation". He said that several big companies of today are start-ups of yesterday. "They were born with a spirit of enterprise and adventure kept alive due to hard work and perseverance and today have become shining beacons of innovation," he noted.
- To a question on challenges to the road map of Digital India , Modi said, "When we have taken up such an ambitious initiative and that too at such a large scale, there will be several challenges. But, we should neither underestimate these challenges nor should we get overwhelmed by them. We must be laser-focused on our Mission and that is what we are doing." Talking about the challenges, he mentioned access and affordable access as also skills and knowledge.
- Another challenge, he said, is reforming the citizen-government interface and the processes of governance. "A Digital-First model of governance will not only bring in efficiency and transparency but also will also dramatically reduce corruption," he said.
- One more challenge is innovation and keeping pace with the latest in technology, Modi said. "Everyday, there are new innovations that is making some pieces of technology obsolete. It is in this fast-changing technology environment that we must realise the Digital India goals," he added.
- Modi, who launched Digital India initiative a few days back, said technology empowers the less empowered. "If there is a strong force that brings a change in the lives of those on the margins it is technology. It serves as a leveller and a springboard," he added. Citing the example of a farmer, he said, technology can make agriculture productive, prosperous and profitable. "We have seen this worldwide. I was happy to know that crores of Indian farmers have been receiving agriculture related information trough SMS," the Prime Minister added. He noted that recently, the Cabinet cleared the scheme of Promotion of National Agriculture Market through Agri-Tech Infrastructure Fund under which 585 regulated markets across India will be integrated with common e-platform. "Farmers and traders can get opportunities to purchase and sell agricultural commodities at optimal prices in a transparent manner," he said.
- While batting for technology, Modi said 3As are important for a Digital India - Accessible, Additive and Affordable. He said access is key and the government wants the 125 crore citizens of the country to be digitally empowered.
- Underlining that affordability is the third key, the Prime Minister said, "A product can be accessible and additive but it will never leave the long-term impact until it can be affordable. Because, at the end of the day, who are we working for? Who will gain the most from these initiatives- the poor, the marginalised, the neo-middle class." He said he does not see it as being limited to digital literacy as the larger point lies in encouraging people to use technology.
- Talking about his emphasis on mobile governance, he said it will be a "game changer" as far as increasing technology penetration is concerned. "A mobile is something every Indian dreams of having and is something every Indian even ends up having. We must make full use of this. Giving our citizens a choice architecture, which enables them to choose technology led solutions through carefully calibrated nudges will help. A robust choice architecture implies producers are constantly innovating and consumers have a gamut of products and services to chose from. There will be something for everything," he said.
- He also talked about the recent launch of 'Narendra Modi Mobile App.' Saying it is a one-stop destination for all the latest news and updates from his side and allows people to directly communicate with him and gives him an opportunity to hear their insights.
- To a question about an online portal where information and prices of drugs and medicine will be made available, the Prime Minister said the Department of Electronics and IT is actively working on this.
- The National Scholarship Portal brings together all scholarship schemes under a single application form. "Thus, you will have one convenient platform to search the right scholarship, filling several forms and tracking their progress."
- Modi said his being on social media has enriched him in many ways. "After a long day at work, I log on to social media and it is very very refreshing. I am active on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and Instagram. It gives me a pulse of what people think, get a lot of feedback," he said.