Rajeev Chandrasekhar: India will lead the digitization wave

Ritu Jha–

Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Minister of State for Electronics and IT, who was an opening keynote speaker at the Global Indian Technology Professionals Association (GITPRO) World 2023, told the Silicon Valley technologist, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists as well as startups that through you and for all of those who have your own networks and ability to influence, that India is certainly a place that they should look at starting something, doing something India-based.

GITPRO is a global networking association of Technology Professionals of Indian origins based in silicon valley aims to bring together Indian tech professionals for professional and self-development and, in turn, encourage them to contribute back to the betterment of the community with their knowledge, skills, and resources.

“One message that you can give to those who are looking at really cutting-edge opportunities to have the experience of building something India-based for the world. This reimagined ambition of India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi needs continuous support from all of you here,” Chandrasekhar said over a video conference held June 17.

Chandrasekhar, who did not accompany Prime Minister Modi during his State visit, told indica, “The partnership between India and US has a great potential and I am extremely confident it will truly play a deep role in defining the future of tech and semicon (semiconductors) and so on.”

Striking an emotional chord, the minister added: “As Indians and as people with a heart beating for India, I certainly think any amount, any support you can give in any form, even if it is thinking good for India and praying for India, that is also welcome and that is something that I encourage people to be backing us as we climb this mountain and become a developed nation.”

The minister then answered a number of questions from the attendees. In reply to a question, the minister said that there are so many youngsters who have created startups which the government is actively supporting and funding.

As far as the American companies that we are working with, every American company today that is in the tech space has a back office or an R&D center, or a global technology center in India. And whereas the Intels or the IBMs or the Qualcomm, every company is basically open to partnering with us and we are open to partnering with them. The ecosystem and the partnership is between the government, a large company, foreign or Indian, startups, and academia. These are the four poles of our partnership model.

Responding to the questions when Chandrashekhar was asked about the success of UPI, the complex maintenance infrastructure in India, and the plans to make it a global payment infrastructure he said, “I think the identity authentication is one layer, the payment UPI is another layer and then we have the storage and vigil locker. There are multiple applications that sit on the stack. There is health, there is education, there is skilling, and all kinds of other layers including security, and then we will also be bringing AI into that. The India stack has been, as it is organized now, is now under the G20 presidency of India being offered to many, countries that have in a sense lacked the digitization, that has lacked the authentication, or just couldn’t afford it.”

“For several decades the digital space, especially for government, has been a discourse or narrative about what happens if we have one. The countries that could build these expensive systems have invested millions of dollars in building and a large number of global south countries, especially the smaller ones in Africa and other places, have just not been able to afford it. The India stack, which is built on an open-source platform, is now being offered under the G20 presidency of India and beyond as a global DPI, digital platform infrastructure. We just had a global summit in Pune where eight countries have signed up and have signed MOUs with India to transfer those technologies including payment to their countries and have Indian startups and their startup work together to implement them,” he added.

The minister said that India is very interested in ensuring that every country, including those in the global south and those who are small, middle-income countries, “ride this digitization wave that is sweeping the world, and not be held back because of lack of resources or the need to pay a billion-dollar contract. So that is an ongoing process and I think as a consequence of this global adoption, the UPI will evolve into a global payment gateway from what it was originally in the south, which is a domestic payment gateway”.

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