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India adaptable, agile even in middle of COVID-19 pandemic: PM Modi

·5-min read
Prime Minister Narendra Modi (Photo/ANI)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi (Photo/ANI)

New Delhi [India], June 16 (ANI): India as a nation is adaptable and agile even in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Wednesday and noted that the government has implemented huge reforms across sectors such as mining, space, banking and atomic energy.

Delivering the keynote address at the 5th edition of VivaTech via video conference, the Prime Minister said that challenges faced by humanity can only be overcome with a collective spirit and a human-centric approach and called upon the start-up community to take the lead.

He said partnerships matter to India as it is an open society and economy and a nation committed to the international system.

Terming COVID-19 pandemic as "the biggest disruption of our age", he said all nations have suffered loss and felt anxiety about the future.

The Prime Minister said that VivaTech platform reflects the technological vision of France.

"India and France have been working closely on a wide range of subjects. Among these, technology and digital are emerging areas of cooperation. It is the need of the hour that such cooperation continues to grow further. It will not only help our nations but also the world at large," he said.

"Many youngsters saw the French Open with great enthusiasm. One of India's tech companies, Infosys provided tech support for the tournament. Likewise, the French Company Atos is involved in a project for making the fastest supercomputer in India. Whether it is France's Capgemini or India's TCS and Wipro, our IT talent is serving companies and citizens all over the world," he added.

PM Modi said the youth are best placed to power global transformation.

"The challenges our planet faces can only be overcome with a collective spirit and a human-centric approach. For this, I call upon the start-up community to take the lead. The start-up space is dominated by youngsters. These are people free from the baggage of the past. They are best placed to power global transformation. Our start-ups must explore areas such as healthcare, eco-friendly technology including waste recycling and new age tools of learning."

The Prime Minister said that in his conversations with President Emmanuel Macron, in his summit with EU leaders in Porto in May, digital partnership, from start-ups to quantum computing, emerged as a key priority.

"As an open society and economy, as a nation committed to the international system, partnerships matter to India. France and Europe are among our key partners."

He said history has shown that leadership in new technology drives economic strength, jobs and prosperity.

"But, our partnerships must also serve a larger purpose, in service of humanity. This pandemic is not only a test of our resilience but also of our imagination. It is a chance to build a more inclusive, caring and sustainable future for all," he said.

Noting that the Indian tech talent pool is famous across the world, he said Indian youth have given tech solutions to some of the world's most pressing problems.

"India has 1.18 billion mobile phones and 775 million internet users, more than the population of many nations. This is more than the population of several nations. Data consumption in India is among the highest and cheapest in the world. Indians are the largest users of social media. There is a diverse and extensive market that awaits you."

He said digital expansion in India is being powered by creating state-of-the-art public digital infrastructure.

PM Modi said 523,000 km of fibre optic network links 150,000 village councils and many more are being connected in the times to come.

"Public wi-fi networks across the country are coming up. Likewise, India is working actively to nurture a culture of innovation. There are state-of-the-art innovation labs in 7,500 schools under the Atal Innovation Mission. Our students are taking part in numerous hackathons, including with students overseas. This gives them the much-needed exposure to global talent and best practices," he said.

Referring to disruption caused by the pandemic, he said it does not have to mean despair.

"Instead, we must keep the focus on the twin foundations of repair and prepare. This time last year, the world was still seeking a vaccine. Today, we have quite a few. Similarly, we have to continue repairing health infrastructure and our economies. We in India, implemented huge reforms across sectors, be it mining, space, banking, atomic energy and more. This goes on to show that India as a nation is adaptable and agile, even in the middle of the pandemic.

"And, when I say - prepare-I mean: Insulating our planet against the next pandemic. Ensuring we focus on sustainable life-styles that stop ecological degradation. Strengthening cooperation in furthering research as well as innovation," he said.

PM Modi said digital technology helped the country "cope, connect, comfort and console" during the pandemic.

"Through digital media, we could work, talk with our loved ones, and help others. India's universal and unique bio-metric digital identity system - Aadhar - helped us to provide timely financial support to the poor. We could supply free food to 800 million people, and deliver cooking-fuel subsidies to many households. We in India were able to operationalise two public digital education programmes- Swayam and Diksha - in quick time to help students."

The Prime Minister invited investments on the five pillars of talent, market, capital, eco-system and culture of openness and said India offers what innovators and investors need.

The Prime Minister said India's strides in the world of technology and start-up are well-known and several unicorns have come up in recent years.

"Our nation is home to one of the world's largest start-up ecosystems. Several unicorns have come up in recent years. I invite the world to invest in India based on the five pillars of talent, market, capital, eco-system and culture of openness," he added. (ANI)

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