India should focus on developing software products to reduce import dependence

New Delhi: Mr Ajay Prakash Sawhney, Secretary, Ministry of Electronics and IT, Govt of India, today said that the government will soon launch the National digital platforms in sectors like agriculture, education, healthcare, logistics using latest technologies.

Addressing a webinar ‘Digital Bharat 2020: Digital-The New Normal’, organized by FICCI, jointly with Ministry of Electronics and IT and MyGov, Mr Sawhney said that we are moving forward to the actual rollout of National digital platforms in many sectors. “Each one of them could be a factory of innovation and with the use of newer technologies, incubation of new products and services, it will benefit all,” he said.

Mr Sawhney said that the use of IT within the government has increased, especially in e-governance. He added that the government has launched a series of projects at the National, state and local levels. “It is time to bring all these together. Each of these projects is generating a humungous amount of data. While each project is complete in itself, the real strength of what we have comes alive when we knit them together, we can add scale to it to meet the National demand and requirements. As we knit them together and take industry and other stakeholders along, there will be a lot of opportunities which will be unlocked,” he noted.

Mr Sawhney also emphasized on the need for developing more software products in India. He said that India has strength in IT and IT-enabled services, and we have large global and Indian companies operating in India and they continue to grow during these times. These are captive companies who do designing, R&D for products not just for India but for the globe. “We are trying to move from IT products to software products. We have a policy on National software products as well. The pandemic has given us the realization that we need more software products from India. The area of software products is one where we have been dependent on imports. It is time to change and have software products of our own not just for India, but for a global market,” said Mr Sawhney.

Elaborating on the potential of electronics manufacturing in India, he said that in the last 6 years we have made progress in reviving the activity in this sector, especially in the mobile manufacturing. “Currently we have schemes attracting large scale investments for not just meeting the Indian requirements but also for export markets as well. There are immense possibilities in the medical devices sector, automotive electronics, components, in defence, consumer and industrial electronics, drones and robotics. There is a room for us to grow quickly in these segments,” Mr Sawhney said.

Urging the industry to tap the potential using new and emerging technologies, he said that 2020 will bring new opportunities that are on the horizon. New technologies are coming alive, including 5G, IoT in various domains, AI, 3D printing, blockchain etc. “These technologies are coming and joining several existing technologies. This decade will see an immense amount of change. There will be the growth of new companies, new technologies, new ideas. Today, the opportunities arising of all these factors highlights that India is the best place to be in. The use of technologies and with the capabilities available with us, this is the time to tap the opportunities,” emphasized Mr Sawhney.

Mr Abhishek Singh, President & CEO (Additional Charge), NeGD and CEO, MyGov, Ministry of Electronics and IT, Govt of India said that we see greater adoption of digital technologies across the sectors during COVID-19 times. “There is no dearth of technology and the challenge is to leverage the technology & expertise and work together to bring a Digital Bharat. This will not only meet the current challenges but also help us equip to meet future challenges,” he added.

He also talked about the growth the digital payments, e-learning, digital awareness etc and how Government of India leveraged technology as socio-economic tool for development during COVID-19 emergency.

Prof Rajat Moona, Director, IIT Bhilai, talked about how the education sector of India has leveraged technology to move to the digital platform during the COVID-19 crisis. He stated, “ICT infrastructure especially in rural India has played a huge role in India’ physical to digital transformation.”

Mr Virat Bhatia, Chairman, FICCI ICT and Digital Economy Committee said that digital is the new normal. In this new normal of the remote working environment, cyber resilience and security are playing a huge role. Digital India has truly empowered the nation to leverage technology for digital transformation. “At FICCI we have always worked with the government for the growth and development of our nation,” he said.

Ms Fatema Hunaid, Chartered Accountant also shared her perspective on Digital Bharat 2020 and talked about the upcoming report, while Mr Ashwani Rana, Co-Chair, ICT and Digital Economy Committee gave the Vote of Thanks.

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