IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, on Monday (May 25), said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for “atmanirbharta” or self-reliant India was based on the geopolitical and the geoeconomic shifts witnessed during the pandemic, but India is not closing its door to the international tech and investor community.
While a lot of emphasis in the past few days has been on promoting local goods, services and technology, Prasad clarified that this does not mean that India will isolate itself from the world. “Foreign direct investment is welcome, technology is welcome. It’s more about self-reliant India, which translates to being a bigger and more important part of the global economy,” Prasad said during a webinar.
Earlier this month, PM Modi had announced an INR 20 Lakh relief package and termed it ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan’. While this package was aimed at reviving the economy, the government is also looking to boost the local production and supply chain with this corpus.
Modi had said that Indian industries will drive the next leg of growth, adding that the package will boost Make in India initiative. He also stressed that Indians should consume and promote Indian products. “Local has saved us. It is not only a necessity, but it is also our responsibility. Local has to become our life’s goal,” Modi had said.
Artificial Intelligence To Fight Covid-19
New-age technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR), blockchain, machine learning (ML), among others are playing a key role in the fight against Covid-19.
Prasad said that the world needs to delve deep into AI and come up with innovative solutions to fight the Covid-19 pandemic. “This world will not remain the same as it was until now. Your life habits and your approach to life is going to change. In this light, do we need to reflect on the application of AI in a completely different way?” Prasad was quoted by Economic Times.
During the webinar on ‘AI Solutions for Covid’, Prasad noted that AI technology also poses challenges. “While the government has used technology extensively to tackle the coronavirus threat, AI poses challenges in the areas of privacy and ethics,” Prasad said while urging technology experts to come up with AI solutions that are relevant for the post-Covid world and resolve these challenges.
Currently, the government has given the responsibility to leverage supercomputing capabilities to come up with AI-based solutions to deal with Covid-19 to Pune-based Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC).
AI Has Right To Privacy Issues
In the current times, there has been an increased pressure on the government to address privacy issues. Prasad said that the biggest campaigners of right to information have become the biggest campaigners of right to privacy. “Earlier, they wanted to know what’s on my files. But now the roles have been changed.”
To address some of the challenges, the government is working on personal data protection legislation. Prasad said that the Bill is ready is currently scrutinised by a select parliamentary committee.
Meanwhile, Prasad also backed Aarogya Setu and said that the application ensures that the privacy of users is maintained. “This is the reason why the application has been downloaded by 100 Mn people,” he added.