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Digital India to transform the way India will live, work: Modi

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San Jose: Prime Minister Narendra Modi told US tech greats that his government’s vision of Digital India was an enterprise to transform India on a scale “perhaps, unmatched in human history” that would touch the lives of those living in the farthest corners of the country and also change the way the nation “will live and work”.

photo credit: ndtv.com
photo credit: ndtv.com

 

In his speech at the Digital India dinner here, Modi recounted the way technology was helping make connectivity easier, with the internet, mobile phone and Skype touching the lives not only of farmers, villagers and those living in cities but also connecting doctors in India with hospitals in other countries.

“Today, technology is advancing citizen empowerment and democracy that once drew their strength from Constitutions. Technology is forcing governments to deal with massive volume of data and generate responses, not in 24 hours but in 24 minutes,” he said.

He said with Digital India, the government will “transform governance, making it more transparent, accountable, accessible and participative.”

“I spoke of e-Governance as a foundation of better governance – efficient, economical and effective. I now speak of m-governance or mobile governance. That is the way to go in a country with one billion cell phones and use of smart phones growing at high double digit rates.”

Modi said: “Since my government came to office, we attacked poverty by using power of networks and mobile phones to launch a new era of empowerment.”

“I see technology as a means to empower and as a tool that bridges the distance between hope and opportunity,” he said. “In this digital age, we have an opportunity to transform lives of people in ways that was hard to imagine just a couple of decades ago.”

Modi said the government wanted paperless transactions and announced plans to set up a “digital locker for every citizen to store personal documents that can be shared across departments”.

He said the e-biz portal set-up was aimed to make approvals for businesses and citizens easy and efficient.

“The government”, he said, “is using technology to impart scale and speed to development and for this there is need to bridge the digital divide and promote digital literacy in the same way as ensuring general literacy.”

Modi said: “We want our 1.25 billion citizens to be digitally connected. We already have broadband usage across India go up by 63 percent last year. We need to accelerate this further.”

He said the government launched an aggressive expansion of the National Optical Fibre Network that would take broadband to 600,000 villages. All schools and colleges would be connected with broadband. “Building I-ways are as important as highways,” he said.

He also announced the setting up of Common Service Centres in villages and towns and that information technology would be used to build smart cities.

Modi said the government wants to turn villages into smart economic hubs and connect farmers better to markets and make them less vulnerable to the whims of weather.

“Access also means that content should be in local languages. In a country with 22 official languages, it is a formidable, but an important task,” he said.

“Affordability of products and services is critical for our success. There are many dimensions to this. We will promote manufacture of quality and affordable products in India. That is part of our vision of Make in India, Digital India and Design in India,” he added.

He said along with promoting connecting the different services, the government would also give the highest importance to data privacy and security, intellectual property rights and cyber security.

Inviting the tech giants, including Google, Microsoft, Adobe and others to participate, Modi said: “So, from creating infrastructure to services, from manufacture of products to human resource development, from support governments to enabling citizens and promoting digital literacy, Digital India is a vast cyber world of opportunities for you.”

“Today, we speak of India-US partnership as a defining partnership of this century. It hinges on two major reasons. Both converge here in California.”

“We all know that the dynamic Asia Pacific Region will shape the course of this century. And, India and the United States, the world’s two largest democracies, are located at the two ends of this region.”

“We have the responsibility to shape a future of peace, stability and prosperity in this region,” Modi said.

(IANS)

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India’s President ‘Ram Nath Kovind’ Designates ‘Narendra Modi’ as PM for Second Term

The Election Commission announced that the BJP won 303 out of 542 seats in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of Parliament

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Newly elected lawmakers from India's ruling alliance led by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party raise their hands in support of Narendra Modi's election as their leader in New Delhi, May 25, 2019. VOA

India’s president on Saturday appointed Narendra Modi as the prime minister soon after newly elected lawmakers from the ruling alliance, led by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, elected him as their leader following a thunderous victory in national elections.

President Ram Nath Kovind said in a tweet that he also asked Modi to forward the names of those to be appointed as ministers in his government and the date for the swearing-in for his second five-year term as prime minister. Modi and some leaders of his alliance met the president on Saturday.

Media reports said Modi was likely to be sworn in by Kovind on Thursday.

BJP president Amit Shah announced Modi’s name as the leader of the National Democratic Alliance in a meeting of the lawmakers in the Central Hall of Parliament in New Delhi.

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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, second right, hugs senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader M.M. Joshi as L.K. Advani, left, watches after Modi’s election as ruling alliance leader, in New Delhi, May 25, 2019. VOA

The Election Commission announced that the BJP won 303 out of 542 seats in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of Parliament, after the official vote count from the six-week-long election was completed on Friday. That is well beyond the simple majority a party in India needs to form a government.

The BJP’s top rival, the Indian National Congress led by Rahul Gandhi, won 52 seats, and the All India Trinamool Congress led by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee won 22.

Unity movement

Critics say Modi and his party have applied divisive policies and used a Hindu-first strategy. But Modi said after Saturday’s vote that “this election has become a movement of social unity.” “It is generally said that the election divides, creates distances, makes walls. But the 2019 elections have worked to break the walls,” he said in his address.

On Friday, Modi met with his outgoing Cabinet ministers and later presented his resignation to the country’s president. The president asked the officials to continue to serve until the new government assumes office.

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The Election Commission announced that the BJP won 303 out of 542 seats in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of Parliament. VOA

Gandhi, whose great-grandfather, grandmother and father were all prime ministers, personally conceded his seat, long a Congress party bastion, to his BJP rival, India’s textiles minister, marking the end of an era for modern India’s most powerful political dynasty.

Counting of the estimated 600 million ballots cast over six weeks of staggered polling — the world’s largest democratic exercise — began early Thursday.

ALSO READ: Here’s How TikTok Made PM Modi Popular Among Young Voters

Hindu-first politics

The victory was largely seen as a referendum on Modi’s Hindu-first politics that some observers say have bred intolerance toward Muslims and other religious minorities, as well as his muscular stance on neighboring Pakistan, with whom India nearly went to war earlier this year after suicide attacks killed more than 40 Indian security officials in Indian-controlled Kashmir.

Modi effectively used the incident as a major campaign tool after responding to the attack with an airstrike in Pakistan that triggered nationalist sentiments, with the BJP saying Modi is the right person to ensure India’s national security. (VOA)