Indian Finance Minister Sitharaman on Saturday highlighted advanced technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), quantum computing, and data storage. In a bid to fuel these technologies to their fullest capabilities, she noted that embracing a new paradigm is the way forward.
A five-year investment of a total of INR 8,000 crore ($1.12 billion) has been allotted to the National Mission on Quantum Technology and Application.
In addition, a fresh allocation of INR 6,000 crore ($840 million) has also been extended to the government-backed digital connectivity programme called BharatNet.
Between 2020-2021, Sitharaman announced a target of connecting over 100,000 rural governments called “gram panchayats” in India, with high speed fibre-to-home internet.
Along with gram panchayats, all public institutions at rural levels including police stations and post offices have also made it onto the list of getting connected digitally.
"We appreciate the government’s emphasis on promoting cutting-edge technologies in India. In her Union Budget 2020 announcement, the finance minister observed that technologies like Machine Learning (ML), robotics, Artificial Intelligence (AI), along with a number of productive age group (15-65 years) are cross-cutting streams in India, which is a special attribute for our country", commented Atul Rai, co-founder and CEO of Indian AI start-up Staqu.
On Friday, President Ram Nath Kovind also acknowledged that India’s successful digitally-backed e-governance systems like the Aadhaar and Unified Payments Interface (UPI) are inspiring other countries to adopt similar plans.
In a recent flagship report, the United Nations (UN) acknowledged India's progressive utilisation of digital platforms to bridge gaps related to gender, income, and education for groups that collectively add up to 1.37 billion people, the second-largest population in the world.
The world body noted that the new Indian government-backed public infrastructure had successfully implemented a unique identification procedure based on Aadhaar – a biometrics-based system, that not only made public services more effective but also increased the reach of financial services.
According to President Kovind, an all-digital approach to income tax is also in the works. The aim is to maintain transparency in records without any human interference.
Back-to-back announcements on the importance of adopting digital technologies clearly prove that Prime Minister Modi’s government is going bullish on its “Digital India” initiative.
“Digital India” is a campaign launched by the government of India to ensure central services are made available to all electronically and to empower the country.
From e-signatures, to the use of smartphones to make financial transactions, India is getting more and more accustomed to the means of digital living.
For instance, next year, the population census will allow Indians to count themselves digitally by logging-in with a one-time-password (OTP) sent to their respective telephone numbers.