UNION MINISTER for Electronics and Information Technology Ravi Shanker Prasad Saturday in his address at the 106th Indian Science Congress advocated the Modi government’s flagship projects such as Digital India and Aadhaar identification and said India may have missed the industrial and enterpreneunal revolution but does not want to miss the digital revolution.
“There is a mission behind all this,” Prasad said. “We have to be leaders in the digital revolution and Digital India is part of that. The technology has to be low-cost and India-created. It has to transform lives of people.”
Prasad at the Science Communicators Meet asked the members of the Indian Science Congress “to further communicate in their own way as to how the transformation is happening in India” and in his presentation gave a distinction between the developments which took place in the digital field prior to 2014 and after 2014, when the Modi government came to power.
“Digital India is the technology to transform lives in India. There are 123 crore digital Aadhaar Identities, 121 crore mobile phones, 45.5 crore smartphones, 56 crore Internet users, 51 per cent growth in e-commerce and 29 crore Facebook users,” Prasad said, adding India’s population was around 130 crore and there are 121 crore mobile phones. “We have added as many as mobiles during the four years of Modi government as there are people in France and Italy,” he claimed.
Prasad further said the lowest cost mobile Internet has been made available in India and the “mobile consumption grew by 1680 per cent till June 2017 from June 2014.” He said the country would launch 5G by 2020. Speaking regarding the Bharat Net Project which aims at connecting 2.5 lakh gram panchayats with optical fibre network, Prasad said only 358 kilometres were covered between 2011 and 2014 but “Three lakh kilometres were laid during the four years” of the current government.
Prasad during the address took out his Aadhaar card and said it contains details like his name, gender, name of father and permanent address.
“What it doesn’t contain is my caste, community, my religion, income. Aadhar is digital identity to supplement physical identity,” he said, adding “Aadhaar (data) is kept at safe locations. We are changing the narrative of India. Aadhaar is safe and secure, backed by a parliamentary law and so tough that even if I disclose my identity for unauthorised purposes, I could be prosecuted,” he said.
Stating that a law would be brought to link driving licences with Aadhaar, Prasad said it will reduce cases of fake licences. “You can change name but not biometrics,” he said. Prasad also spoke about other projects initiated as part of Digital India.