Statement by India at the 20th session of UN Commission on Science and Technology for Development on the theme – New innovation approaches to support the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), delivered by Shri Sanjay Kumar Vyas, Additional Director, Ministry of Electronics & IT on 10 May 2017

 

Statement by India

at the 20th session of UN Commission on Science and Technology for Development on the theme – New innovation approaches to support the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), delivered by Shri Sanjay Kumar Vyas on 10 May 2017

 Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for giving me the opportunity to speak on behalf of the Delegation of India, at this forum. 

We believe that Enhancing digital infrastructure, including cloud computing, laying fibre-optic cables, improving the mobile network penetration will help broaden connectivity across the population and promote economic development. 

Harnessing digital technology as a major inclusion and growth mechanism; spreading the benefits of ICT across the economy; driving affordability in digital technologies, use of innovation in technology while ensuring privacy and security through a robust cyber-infrastructure will indeed help in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. 

Developing software for services that can be provided digitally and provide software solutions for services that need ICT support, developing electronic databases and applications for public services will increase automation and bring transparency. 

Access to digital modes of communication and public information will empower citizens to use these platforms to realise their rights and entitlements. This will also enable them to further their economic development.

However, Mr. Chairman 

The Delegation of India would like to emphasize that mere providing access to digital services does not necessarily imply the use of such resources by common citizens for their development or to access resources and information. We feel that there is a need to equip the common citizens with the necessary skillset to take advantage of digital eco-system. 

The use of public-private partnerships is an effective method to implement change at the grassroots level for reaching common citizens. While private organizations may possess scalability and resources, the Government has the knowledge of the requirements to be fulfilled in different areas, and the exchange of knowledge can help in more effective implementation. In the context of India, we would like to share some key innovative initiatives taken up by the Government in recent past: 

The trinity of ‘JAM’ has become the corner stone of effective governance in India. Mr. Chairman, allow me to explain what is J A M – JAM - ‘J’ stands for JAN DHAN i.e. opening bank accounts for the hitherto untouched population, ‘A’ stands for AADHAAR, a 12 digit biometric and demographic based identity that is unique, lifelong, online and authenticable; and ‘M’ stands for MOBILE platform which is used not only as a means of communication but also for effective public service delivery and electronic payment system.

We would like to highlight that Government has facilitated opening of close to around 300 Million Jan Dhan Bank accounts. These accounts have a cumulative balance equivalent to close to US $10 Billion, which shows that these accounts are being used by the beneficiaries. We would like to highlight that Government has provided a unique identity to more than 1.12 billion Indians through AADHAAR. Further, in India, more than 1.1 billion people have Mobile phones of out which more than 3.5 million are smart phones. A large number of Government initiatives are being interwoven using the trinity of JAM. 

The first such initiative is ‘DBT - Direct Benefit Transfers’ (DBT) using the AADHAAR has been adopted to cover 338.6 million beneficiaries in around 100 schemes of the Government to transfer the funds directly to the beneficiaries account thus eliminating any intermediaries. Savings accrued due to use of DBT over the last 3 years has touched $ 7.51 billion. The Government intends to bring more than 500 central payout schemes under the DBT shortly. 

Another such initiative is taken by the Government through innovative and indigenous ICT solutions especially using mobiles for making an electronic payment to create a less-cash society. The digital payment is being pushed through multiple platforms such as AADHAR Pay, Unified Payment Interface (UPI), Immediate Payment Service (IMPS), e-wallets, in addition to debit/credit cards. The Government has launched a mobile app called ‘Bharat Interface for Money’ in short called as ‘BHIM’ for facilitating electronic payments through bank accounts by using not only smartphones but also by feature phones.

Through this unique innovation, the citizens can undertake essential banking operations by using mobiles without having the need to visit banks. We are glad to share that within 4 months of its launch, more than 12.5 million citizens have used the BHIM App. Also, the Aadhaar-holders can use Aadhaar Enabled Payment System using biometrics, which eliminates the need to remember PINs. The Government has launched a new innovative initiative named  ‘Bharat QR code’ which paves the way for device less Point of Sales system. 

The Government had launched MyGov platform in July 2016 to bring the Government closer to the common citizens by use of technology, thereby creating an interface for healthy exchange of ideas and views involving citizen and experts with the ultimate goal to contribute to the social and economic transformation of India. Since then, this platform has become a key part of the policy and decision-making process of the Government of India and gave the citizens a voice in the governance process of the country. 

Another key initiative called as Common Services Centres known as CSCs have been set up primarily in rural India to drive digital inclusion, entrepreneurship, digital services and productivity across rural India’s grassroots, empowering India’s less privileged citizens. These CSCs are driven by individual Village Level Entrepreneurs. CSCs provide citizen centric services in electronic mode in rural areas. Around 0.25 million such CSCs exist in the country and host more than 2,500 G2C and B2C services to the citizens. The CSCs are also leveraged to conduct awareness sessions for the promotion of digital payment amongst rural citizens. They have trained more than 20 million rural population and 2.5 million merchants from rural India. 

The Government launched National Digital Literacy Mission three years back wherein around 8.2 million persons have been trained. Almost 50 % of the trained are women. To usher in digital literacy revolution in rural India, a new scheme ‘Pradhan Mantri Gramin Digital Saksharta Abhiyan’ (PMGDISHA) has been initiated recently to cover 60 million rural households wherein one person per household would be trained on digital literacy by 31.03.2019. The training also includes capacity building of the rural citizens on using the various options for making an electronic payment using mobiles. 

To creating a secure cyber ecosystem in the country, the Government has setup ‘Cyber Swachhta Kendra’ i.e. Botnet Cleaning and Malware Analysis Centre to create a secure cyberspace by detecting botnet infections in India and to notify, enable cleaning and securing systems of end users so as to prevent further infections. This Centre operates in close coordination and collaboration with Internet Service Providers and Product & Antivirus companies. The website of the Centre provides information and free tools to common citizens to secure their computers and devices. This centre is being operated by the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In). 

These are few of the recent initiatives taken by Government of India that are aimed at transforming the country and bridge digital divide by leveraging the innovations in ICT technologies. 

I thank you Mr. Chair for the opportunity to share India's nation experience on this theme.

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