IT Minister KT Rama Rao has said that digital literacy, digital infrastructure and digital innovation would be the key enablers for India’s digital growth in the post-coronavirus era.

Digital revolution was only possible if digital or even non-digital solutions could be accessed by a common man. “Enabling the common man with the help of technology will make him believe in technology, and create a social impact. If India has to grow we need to make people digitally literate, create broadband and other necessary digital infrastructure and innovate. It is also critical that Union government encourage States to collaborate, coexist and compete with global IT value chain as part of Digital India strategy,” the Minister said.

He was speaking at a virtual digital summit titled ‘Digital Revolution in Post-Covid Era: Touching Lives & Enriching Businesses’ organised by the CII. Dwelling at length on the issue, he elaborated on how implementation of technology in government and government-run services has been selective and in small portions.

“Digitisation has become the need of the hour and if it has to flourish then we need these 3Ds — digital literacy, digital infrastructure and digital innovation. While the National Digital Literacy Mission needs to be strengthened, it is important that States also concentrate on digital literacy. In terms of infrastructure, as a nation we need to look at digitisation as a basic right so as to make a digital revolution. And finally, it is also important that digital innovation reaches each and every citizen,” Rama Rao said.

He said while India’s ability to lead large corporates was recognised worldwide, the country was still considered to be a service-oriented nation and for this to change the Centre and State governments need to encourage more product companies from India and design strategies and policies for this endeavour.

“Covid-19 has forced governments to reinvent themselves digitally. Lot more can be done and needs to be done in government for the digital revolution to take place. The growth of 18 per cent in Telangana’s IT exports has been majorly contributed by the industry with the government just being an enabler,” he said.

He elaborated on how TWorks, India’s largest prototyping facility, has developed a low-cost ventilator and how the State is using different technologies such as drones, robots and artificial intelligence for surveillance and essential goods delivery. The State is planning to collaborate with the World Economic Forum (WEF) and private agencies to see how it can use drones to deliver medicines to doorsteps, he added.

Addressing the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), secretary, Ajay Prakash Sawhney as part of the summit, Rama Rao said that the government must not let go of this opportunity to encourage electronics manufacturing in India. “The Centre must work with States to set up more manufacturing parks. In addition, I would also request the Centre to look at using satellite systems to impart online education and with the country’s satellite system with Centre, it would be a good move if States have their own satellite domain,” he said.

Finally, the Minister also noted that it is important for governments to enhance and concentrate on data security and create more cyber warriors by collaborating with the private sector. He also sought some kind of collaboration between States so that they can learn from each other on best and next practices and not compete with each other. “We are operating in silos and we don’t know what other States are doing. We need to collaborate and leverage our minds to become a product manufacturing country,” he said.

ITE&C secretary, Jayesh Ranjan shared an experience on how around 1000+ local kirana stores were empowered through the digital platform offered by the State Government in Covid times. He added that the Pandemic has provided a big push to the digital transformation in the country. While it offers great opportunity, there is also a need to relook Digital India program to ensure that it does not create Digital Divide.

Software Technology Park of India (STPI) Director General Omkar Rai, CII Telangana past chairman V Rajanna, Co Founder and CEO of Mobile Premier League Sai Srinivas Kiran and CII Telangana Chairman Krishna Bodanapu spoke.

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