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India’s ICT strategy hinges on inclusive growth for all

On 01 June, 2022, the day 2 of WSIS 2022, Devusinh Chauhan, Minister of State for Communications, participated in Ministerial Round Table Meeting on ICT for Well-Being, Inclusion and Resilience: WSIS Cooperation for Accelerating Progress on the SDGs. This session was organised on sidelines of World Summit of Information Society (WSIS) 2022. The WSIS is being organized by International Telecommunications Unions(ITU) at its headquarter in Geneva, Switzerland from 30th May to 3rd June, 2022.

Speaking at the session, the Minister said that with its unprecedented scale and growing impact on daily lives, ICT is nowadays, a powerful tool for a more inclusive, resilient and prosperous societies. We need greater solidarity to move forward. The WSIS community has, collectively, the expertise and the resources to help us accelerate progress on the SDGs.

He further added that India believes in the principle of Antyodaya, which means development of people at the bottom of the pyramid, the marginalized people, living in far flung areas and cut off from the main stream. For development of reliable ICT infrastructure, six hundred thousand villages are being connected through optical fiber cable. Through use of satellite communication services and submarine cable networks, small and remote islands and other inaccessible areas are being connected.

While speaking at a High Level Dialogue on Artificial Intelligence, Devusinh said, “India, being one of the fastest-growing economies, has a significant stake in the AI revolution, given its disruptive nature and potential to transform economies.” The ‘High level Dialogue from the lab to the real world: Artificial Intelligence and the decade action’, was also organised as part of WSIS 2022 to discuss issues pertaining to AI and allied sectors.

During the high level dialogue in Artificial Intelligence (AI), Devusinh Chauhan apprised the participants about the policy initiatives taken by Government of India to mobilize this emerging sector. He mentioned about India’s National strategy for Artificial intelligence which has formulated the way forward to harness the power of AI in various fields especially in healthcare, agriculture, education, smart cities and infrastructure, and smart mobility and transportation.

The Minister briefed the forum about different groups formed by Indian Government for development of an Indian AI stack and to explore possibilities for leveraging AI for development across various fields in manufacturing and services. He also mentioned about an official program known as ‘AI Gamechangers’ that is focused on driving Artificial Intelligence models in India especially for new AIbased start-ups in India.

The minister expressed confidence that the AI revolution will continue to grow and India will become the AI hub for the world in the next decade as we endeavour to incorporate ICT and AI at primary, secondary and tertiary sectors of Indian economy.

At the bilateral talks with Japan held on the sidelines of WSIS forum 2022, Devusinh Chauhan urged the Japanese Companies to be part of initiatives of India in telecom sector. Japanese delegation at WSIS 2022 is led by H.E. SASAKI Yuji, Vice-Minister for Policy Coordination (International Affairs), MIC.

Devusinh Chauhan said that India is one of the largest telecom networks in the world with one of the most affordable telecom services. Last year Government of India announced path breaking reforms in telecom sector to further boost the growth of telecom industry, promote healthy competition and enhance the penetration of broadband and telecom connectivity. These reforms will usher a new era for the sector and will encourage investment by the industry.

Devusinh Chauhan said that India- Japan collaboration in the field of Open RAN, Massive MIMO, Quantum Communications, Connected Cars, 5G Use cases, 6G Innovation will bring forth the strengths of the two ecosystems allowing creation of leading global solutions.

In view of the young engineering talent available in India, the Minister urged Japanese industry to consider establishing their R&D centres in India. This can start with small developments and scaled up to full development centre to cater to global requirements of the parent companies. We have also announced a new Semiconductor Policy. Under this we invite Japanese companies to partner with us. We are also looking to train 85,000 engineers in the field of semiconductor technology. Japan can be India’s Knowledge Partner for this purpose.

Speaking at the bilateral meeting with H.E. Issa Zarepour, Minister of Communications and Information Technology of Iran on the sidelines of WSIS Forum, Geneva, Head of Delegation during theWorld Summit on Information Society 2022, Devusinh Chauhan said that “In recent years our bilateral cooperation has been witnessing substantial momentum and this is to be sustained. We are committed to expanding our multi-sectoral and multi-dimensional relations. We have also taken note of Iran’s ‘neighbourhood first’ and ‘look east, act east’ policies.”

The Minister said that we would like to know about Iran’s robust telecommunication and IT sector and ‘App based’ start-up ecosystem and raise the possibility of bilateral cooperation. To further strengthen the cooperation in ICT sector on healthcare between India and Iran, the Minister said that India is always ready to share the source code for the Co-WIN platform with the Iran, as our true friend and partner.

CT Bureau

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