Washington [US]: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday said there were apprehensions in India after PM Narendra Modi started the digitalisation of the economy but the initial inhibitions of people were removed with the help of digital technology.
Speaking at Johns Hopkins University event in Washington, Sitharaman said, “There were apprehensions in India after 2014 when we started ramping up the capacity for digitalisation of the economy.”
Questions were raised “if in India this technology will make any difference at all? Will people be ready to use it?” Sitharaman even said questions were asked about whether the investment in technology will bear fruit and whether people will accept it.
“There was this apprehension that you may want to do a lot of things to get technology to people, you may invest to bring technology to people but people are not going to be ready to adapt. People may not be comfortable. One they may not be ready to use such gadgets. The general sense of condescension that how will villagers…that kind of (mentality),” she said while speaking on the topic “Technology, Finance and Governance: The Multiplier Effect.”
Between 2014 to 2019, Sitharaman said the focus of the government was to “reach electricity to every village and once you have reached the village, you must reach every house.”
Of the 7.5 lakh panchayats that India has, the minister said 80 per cent of them have received optical fibres to their points.
“With the infrastructure being laid for digital technology to reach everywhere and people being trained at the local level and in the local language and software being provided that can translate in their local language — the initial inhibitions that people had were removed,” she said.
Explaining the Modi government’s approach, she said good governance in India is being achieved by the use of technology and a certain transformation has happened due to ramping up the capacity for digitalisation of the economy.
She said that a certain transformation has happened in India in the recent past and people have adapted to the change with great ease.
“Good governance in India is being achieved by the use of technology and a certain transformation has happened in the last two years. The level of acceptance and the level of adaptation by the people is unbelievable,” she said.
On Wednesday, Sitharaman held back-to-back bilateral with global finance ministers and heads of the top international organizations in Washington DC on topics that centred on important economic issues.
She is on an official visit to the United States to attend the IMF and the World Bank annual meetings, the G20 Finance Ministers and the Central Bank Governor (FMCBG) Meetings.
The Finance Minister is holding bilateral meetings with a number of countries from around the world. She is also holding one-on-one meetings with leaders and heads of OECD, the European Commission and UNDP. (ANI)