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Prime Minister Modi Urges G20 Unity in Tackling Cybersecurity Challenges

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During the G20 meeting, Prime Minister Narendra Modi stressed the critical importance of fostering conviction, commitment, coordination, and collaboration among the G20 nations to effectively address the multifaceted security challenges emerging within the digital economy. Additionally, he emphasized the need for responsible and ethical deployment of artificial intelligence. This message was earnestly conveyed by Prime Minister Modi to the distinguished members of the G20 working group of ministers dedicated to the digital economy during their gathering on the 19th of this month.

In a significant and technologically facilitated engagement, Prime Minister Modi virtually participated in the G20 Digital Economy Ministers’ Meet, which was convened in the vibrant city of Bengaluru. With a warm and gracious welcome, he extended his hospitality to the esteemed dignitaries, highlighting Bengaluru’s illustrious identity as a hub of Science, Technology, and a thriving entrepreneurial ethos. Prime Minister Modi underscored the intrinsic synergy between the city’s spirit and the discussions centered around the digital economy, rendering Bengaluru a befitting venue for the purpose.

Diving into the chronicles of India’s digital journey, the Prime Minister attributed the commendable and transformative advancements achieved over the past 9 years to the landmark initiation of the Digital India campaign in 2015. He delineated the driving forces behind this evolution, which included an unwavering belief in the power of innovation, an ardent commitment to swift and effective implementation, and an unwavering dedication to inclusivity that ensures the participation of every stratum of society.

The Prime Minister’s discourse expanded upon the vast dimensions of this transformational voyage. A striking highlight was the revelation of India’s staggering count of 850 million internet users, who enjoy the privilege of cost-effective data services that are unparalleled on a global scale. To exemplify the integration of technology within governance, Prime Minister Modi elucidated the exemplary case of Aadhaar, an ingenious digital identity platform that spans over 1.3 billion individuals. Moreover, he underscored the triumvirate of transformative forces comprising Jan Dhan bank accounts, Aadhaar, and Mobile (JAM), which have orchestrated a revolutionary paradigm shift in financial inclusion. An astonishing testament to the global resonance of India’s digital prowess emerged with the revelation that almost 10 billion transactions transpire monthly through the UPI payment system, contributing to an impressive 45% of real-time global payments.

Prime Minister Modi’s address encompassed a spectrum of impactful mechanisms that have harnessed technology’s transformative potential. The implementation of the Direct Benefits Transfer mechanism was celebrated for its dual merits of eliminating leakages within the system while also resulting in substantial savings exceeding 33 billion dollars. A pivotal moment in India’s fight against the Covid-19 pandemic was illuminated through the acknowledgment of the CoWIN portal’s role in facilitating the administration of over 2 billion vaccine doses, accompanied by digitally verifiable certificates.

The intersection of technology and strategic planning found manifestation in the Gati-Shakti platform, which functions as a dynamic infrastructure and logistics mapping tool. This innovation contributes to streamlined planning processes, cost reduction, and acceleration of delivery timelines. Prime Minister Modi also shed light on the Government e-Marketplace, an innovative online platform orchestrating public procurement with heightened transparency and probity. Furthermore, he drew attention to the Open Network for Digital Commerce, a democratizing force within the e-commerce landscape.

Intricately woven into the digital tapestry of India’s progress were fully digitized taxation systems, functioning as catalysts for transparency and e-governance. The Prime Minister’s address further showcased the nation’s commitment to linguistic inclusivity through the development of Bhashini, an AI-powered language translation platform that aims to bridge digital divides by enabling seamless communication across India’s diverse linguistic spectrum.

A resounding proclamation resonated throughout Prime Minister Modi’s discourse – that India’s Digital Public Infrastructure is emblematic of scalable, secure, and comprehensive solutions poised to effectively tackle global challenges. Acknowledging India’s intrinsic diversity encompassing languages, dialects, religions, and cultural practices, he stated that India’s pluralistic milieu serves as a fertile ground for testing and refining solutions with universal relevance. The Prime Minister aptly emphasized that solutions that prove efficacious within India’s intricate tapestry are inherently equipped for seamless deployment on a global canvas, thereby embodying the spirit of “VasudhaivaKutumbakam,” the world as one family.

During the pivotal G20 meeting, Prime Minister Narendra Modi underscored India’s readiness to share its valuable experiences with the global community. He illuminated this stance by offering the CoWIN platform as a global resource during the Covid pandemic. He emphasized that India has established the India Stack, an online Global Public Digital Goods Repository, to ensure that inclusivity prevails, especially for those from the Global South.

Expressing contentment, the Prime Minister acknowledged the working group’s endeavours in establishing a G20 virtual Global Digital Public Infrastructure Repository. He highlighted the significance of progressing toward a Common Framework for Digital Public Infrastructure, which would contribute to crafting a transparent, accountable, and equitable digital ecosystem for all. He extended a warm reception to initiatives focused on constructing a roadmap for Cross Country Comparison of Digital Skills and the establishment of a Virtual Centre of Excellence on Digital Skilling. These efforts were deemed crucial in nurturing a workforce that is prepared for the challenges of the future.

Recognizing the global expansion of the digital economy and its ensuing security threats, the Prime Minister stressed the importance of attaining consensus on the G20 High-Level Principles for a Secure, Trusted, and Resilient Digital Economy.

Following the meeting, Union IT Minister AshwiniVaishnaw highlighted unanimous consensus on the concept and application of digital infrastructure and cybersecurity. He underscored the shared understanding that cybersecurity is a global challenge that necessitates collective efforts. Furthermore, consensus was achieved regarding the inclusive growth of small businesses within the digital economy.

Meanwhile, the G20 Digital Economy Working Group (DEWG) identified three priority areas: Digital Public Infrastructure, Security in the Digital Economy, and Digital Skilling. Meetings were conducted in Lucknow, Hyderabad, and Pune to foster consensus on these pivotal domains.

Marking the culmination of this series of meetings, the fourth and final G20 DEWG gathering commenced in Bengaluru on the 16th of August. In the opening remarks, Mr. Alkesh Kumar Sharma, G20 Chair and Secretary emphasized the need for inclusive, decisive, ambitious, and action-oriented priorities. He expressed optimism that the knowledge outcomes stemming from these discussions would significantly bolster the global digital economy.

With a diverse assembly of over 100 delegates from G20 members, 9 invited countries, and 5 International Organizations, including OECD, ITU, UNDP, World Bank, and UNESCO, the meeting provided a comprehensive platform for engagement.

Further events that were held include the Digital Economy Ministerial Meeting (DEMM) on the 19th of Augustand the G20 Digital Innovation Alliance (DIA) Summit held from August 17th to 19th3. Under the esteemed leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India’s G20 Presidency, spanning from December 1, 2022, to November 30, 2023, assumes prominence. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) spearheads the G20 Digital Economy Working Group (DEWG), which, over an extensive period of 8 months, has conducted intensive discussions to formulate key priorities and deliverables within the realms of Digital Public Infrastructure, Security in the Digital Economy, and Digital Skilling. The culmination of these discussions culminated in the fourth DEWG meeting in Bengaluru.

The dialogue within the DEWG was complemented by side events featuring global and Indian experts, fostering interaction among public and private sector stakeholders, and facilitating the sharing of best practices in the digital domain. These sessions aimed to elucidate the national, industrial, and international dimensions of the priority areas of the Digital Economy.

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