Modi calls for institutional approach by international community to help each other during a crisis
New Delhi, October 11, 2022
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said there is a need for an institutional approach by the international community to help each other during a crisis.
"When we say 'no one should be left behind', it applies across. The COVID-19 pandemic should have been a wake up call for the world in taking everyone along. Billions of people in the developing world needed diagnostics, medicines, medical equipment, vaccines, and more. Yet, they were left to their own fate," he said in his address via video-conference to the 2nd United Nations World Geo-spatial International Congress in Hyderabad.
The theme of this year's conference is "Geo-enabling the Global Village: No one should be left behind".
Modi said global organisations like the United Nations could lead the way in taking resources to the last mile in every region.
"Even in fighting climate change, hand-holding and technology transfer are crucial. We share the same planet. I am sure we can share best practices for saving our planet too. The possibilities that geo-spatial technology offers are endless. Sustainable urban development, managing and even mitigating disasters, tracking the impact of climate change, forest management, water management, stopping desertification, food security, there is so much that we can do for our planet through geo-spatial technology. I wish that this conference becomes a platform to discuss developments in such important areas," he said.
Modi said the theme of the conference was an area in which India had taken many steps over the last few years.
"We have been working on a vision of Antyodaya, which means empowering the last person at the last mile, in a mission mode. It is this vision that has guided us in last mile empowerment at a massive scale. Banking 450 million un-banked people, a population greater than that of the USA, insuring 135 million uninsured people, about twice the population of France, taking sanitation facilities to 110 million families, and tap water connections to over 60 million families, India is ensuring no one is left behind," he said.
The Prime Minister said that, in India's development journey, two pillars are key: technology and talent.
"Let us look at the first pillar-technology. Technology brings transformation. Some of you may have heard that India is the world's number one in real-time digital payments. If you venture out, you will see even the smallest vendors accept, even prefer, digital payments. Similarly, it was through technology that we helped the poor during COVID-19. Our tech-based JAM Trinity delivered welfare benefits to 800 million people seamlessly! Even the world's largest vaccine drive was powered by a tech platform. In India, technology is not an agent of exclusion. It is an agent of inclusion.
"You are all people associated with the geo-spatial sector. You would be extremely happy to know, geo-spatial technology has been driving inclusion and progress. Take our Svamitva scheme, for example. We are using drones to map properties in villages. Using this data, villagers are receiving property cards. For the first time in decades, people in rural areas have clear documents of ownership. Most of you know how property rights are the bed-rock of prosperity anywhere in the world. This prosperity can be further accelerated when women are the prime beneficiaries of ownership," he said.
Modi said the government's public housing scheme had provided homes to nearly 24 million poor families and women were sole or joint owners of almost 70% of these houses.
"These steps have a direct impact on the UN's Sustainable Development Goals on poverty and gender equality. Our ambitious PM Gati Shakti Masterplan is building multi-modal infrastructure. It is being powered by geo-spatial technology. Our Digital Ocean platform is using geo-spatial technology for management of our oceans. This is crucial for our environment and marine eco-system. India has already set an example in sharing the benefits of geo-spatial technology. Our South Asia satellite has been enhancing connectivity and facilitating communication in our neighbourhood," he said.
The Prime Minister went on to talk about one of India's major strengths, the talent of its people.
"India is a young nation with great innovative spirit. We are among the top startup hubs in the world. Since 2021, we have almost doubled the number of unicorn startups. This is due to India's young talent. India is celebrating 75 years of freedom from colonial rule. One of the most important freedoms is the freedom to innovate. This has been ensured for the geo-spatial sector in India. We opened the sector up for our bright, young minds. All the data collected over two centuries suddenly became free and accessible. Collection, generation and digitization of geo-spatial data are now democratised. Such reforms are not isolated. Along with the geo-spatial sector, we gave a key boost to our drone sector. Our space sector has also opened up for private participation. 5G is taking off in India as well. Access to existing data, drone technology to get new data, platform for space capabilities, and high-speed connectivity will be a game-changer for young India and the world," he said.
"The 2nd UN World geo-spatial International Congress makes me optimistic. With the stake-holders of the global geo-spatial industry coming together, With the policy makers and academic world interacting with each other, I am confident that this conference will help steer the global village into a new future," he added.