India highlighted the importance of digital inclusion during the pandemic

The G20 ministers have adopted a declaration for “Leveraging Digitalization for a Resilient, Strong, Sustainable and Inclusive Recovery”.

The declaration was adopted at the G20 Digital Ministers’ Meeting hosted by Italy on Thursday at Trieste.

Union Minister of Electronics & Information Technology Ashwini Vaishnaw, who led the Indian delegation virtually, shared India's story of digitization. He highlighted the transformation achieved through Digital India since 2015 for digital inclusion and social empowerment.

According to an official release, Vaishnaw spoke about the empowerment of people through digital technologies and public digital platforms such as AADHAAR and Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT).

“Providing digital identity Aadhaar to 1.29 billion users, opening bank accounts of 430 million poor people and linking both these to send the financial entitlements directly into bank accounts has eliminated leakages from delivery system. Around 900 million citizens are receiving benefits of one or more schemes. This has not only empowered the common citizens but has also led to savings of over US$24 billion in last seven years," he explained.

Vaishnaw also highlighted the importance of digital inclusion during the pandemic for which India has been a strong proponent.

He said that technology is for Digital Inclusion and not for creating digital divide and India has always been advocating that digital economy is an important tool for social inclusion. He committed India’s support towards closer partnerships at the G20 forum and invited countries for future cooperation towards the digital inclusion and social empowerment.

Minister of State, Electronics & Information Technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar shared India’s model for the availability of robust and secured digital infrastructure including digital platforms and connectivity under the Digital India programme.

He emphasized the role of AADHAAR, the unique digital identity that empowers residents of India to authenticate anytime, anywhere and also provides targeted delivery of subsidies, benefits and services in an efficient and transparent manner.

According to Chandrasekhar, more than any time in the history of the world, Technology and Digitalization has been front and center in the toolkits of every government’s response to the COVID caused disruption of lives, livelihoods and economies.

He suggested that G20 countries should collaborate on free, open, transparent, safe and trustworthy Internet for all to leverage technology.