The Digital India Conference of State IT Ministers, along with the sixth edition of India Mobile Congress (IMC 2022), was held on October 1, which was inaugurated by Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. Industry veterans Mukesh Ambani from Reliance Industries, Sunil Bharti Mittal from Bharti Enterprises, Kumar Mangalam Birla from Aditya Birla Group, and several other dignitaries graced the inauguration. It saw the national launch of 5G, exhibitions, and unveiling of several 5G use cases in education, health, worker safety, smart agriculture, etc.
After the inaugural session of IMC 2022, “Digital India Conference of State IT Ministers” was held under the chairmanship of the Minister for Communications, Electronics & Information Technology and Railways, Ashwini Vaishnaw in the august presence of Minister of State for Electronics & Information Technology and Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, Rajeev Chandrasekhar and Minister of state for Communications, Devusinh Chauhan and IT Ministers from 12 States and UTs, namely Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Goa, Manipur, Uttarakhand, Telangana, Mizoram, Sikkim, and Puducherry. It was also attended by State IT Secretaries and State officers from all States and UTs and senior officers from MeitY and DoT.
In the welcome address and initial remarks, Alkesh Kumar Sharma, Secretary, MeitY shared how Digital India proved its resilience during pandemic. He shared latest initiatives such as My Scheme, Meri Pehchaan, Digital Bhashini, and PLIs, which can be leveraged by the States and UTs for uplifting ease of living and ease of doing business. And emphasized on making all efforts for making this decade as India’s TechAde.
Devusinh Chauhan stated the introduction of 5G services in India made October 1 a historic day. He saidthat time taken to obtain a RoW permission has now been reduced from 3 months to 6 days.
Rajeev Chandrasekhar said that there is an unprecedented opportunity for growth and the world is looking to India as a trusted supply chain partner especially in electronics sector. He emphasized that all States and UTs, as Team India, should leverage PLI schemes to attract companies, make policies to take startup culture to tier 2/3 cities, leverage India Stack solutions and digital platforms built around it to standardize the citizen centric and business centric services.
Ashwini Vaishnaw, in his address stated that Team Digital India comprising Central and State Governments must fulfil the aspirations of youths and 1.3 billion people. He said that the focus must be on creating employment, achieving target of USD 1 trillion Digital Economy and 1 crore digital jobs by 2026. He also said that the states must share their constructive suggestions on Draft Telecom Bill and Digital Data Protection Bill.
Thereafter, State/UT IT Ministers shared the progress of connectivity, electronic manufacturing efforts, e-governance initiatives taken under Digital India in their respective States. They also shared the issues concerned with connectivity, opening of more centres of NIELIT, CDAC, STPI, opening of CoE in emerging areas and the policy matters.
In his closing remarks, MEIT stated that the connectivity is vital for the Digital India and its reach to every corner of the country. He announced that Rs 36,000 crore to install new 25,000 towers in next 500 days have been approved. The list of spots for installing towers is prepared in consultation with States /Chief Secretaries. States can further review the list. He also announced that Rs 1.64 lakh crore will be used for revival of BSNL in a comprehensive manner and it will be rolled out in next 18 months. Design in India and Make-In-India will be big beneficiary. He congratulated all States and UTs for their speedy onboarding at PM Gati Shakti. He also announced that the fibre network will be put on a common portal, which will help States and UTs to plan layout driven infrastructure projects, and digital transformational projects. He informed that the policy related matter are / will be determined in due consultation with States. He also shared that the special assistance to States for capital expenditure worth Rs 2000 crore has been supported. He encouraged the States to be proactive and make business friendly policies to attract businesses in their States. Emphasizing on the moto of Sabka Saath and Sabka Vikas, he stated that the commitments from all States and UTs, large as well as small States, are vital in taking Digital India to higher level and in realizing the AatmaNirbhar Bharat and Trillion Dollar Digital Economy.