India aims to have a $1T digital economy powered by startups, says Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad

Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad at YourStory's Digital India Town Hall said that India aims to create a digital economy of $1 trillion, powered by startups.

The government of India has already set up an ambitious target of turning into a $5 trillion economy by 2024. Now, there is a new bar set — a digital economy worth $1 trillion.

Setting out this agenda before well-known Indian startup founders, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Union Minister for Communications, Electronics & Information Technology and Law & Justice said, “India’s digital economy must be $1 trillion.”

Union Communication, IT and Electronics Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad at the virtual YourStory's Digital India Townhall meet with tech entrepreneurs of the country

At YourStory's Digital India TownHall, the Minister interacted with some of India's leading startup founders, commemorating the completion of five years of the Digital India programme.

The Minister said that he was very confident that this new economy will be powered by technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and blockchain.

He said, “Unless the common man has a stake in Digital India, it will not succeed," adding that the government has taken numerous initiatives to build Digital India in areas of health, education, governance, financial services, etc.

According to the Minister, Digital India needs to bridge the digital divide in the country and be more inclusive so that every section of the society comes on this platform.

The NDA-led government headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made technology a key enabler for the progress of the country since it came to power in 2014. These include moves like directly transferring government allowances to the beneficiaries bank accounts, leveraging Aadhaar to reach to the designated people, etc.

However, the minister stressed that these initiatives can be driven only through homegrown low-cost technology, and cited the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) as one of the best examples.

The government has already launched a new national AI portal, which will serve as a knowledge hub for all those who are engaged in this domain. The portal will work as a one-stop digital platform for AI-related developments in India, sharing of resources such as articles, list of startups in the domain, investment funds in AI, and list of companies and educational institutions in India.

“We are going to set up incubation centres across the country for next-generation technologies,” the minister said.

When Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma asked the minister on how he deals with negativity — something entrepreneurs have to constantly deal with — he said that one needs to stand out of the group to make a mark but it needs to be accompanied by hard work and intelligence.

He even joked with the Paytm founder, “Nobody knows about digital payment more than Vijay.”

And finally, the minister told the startup founders, “You are all creating a new benchmark and writing a new narrative in the empowerment of India.”

Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta


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