Democratisation of technology important tool to help bridge data divide: PM Modi at G20 Development Ministers’ meet

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday pitched for democratisation of technology to bridge the data divide, and told G20 delegates that India is willing to share its experience with partner countries as digitalisation has brought about a revolutionary change here.

Speaking to G20 development ministers through a video address, Modi also batted for reforms in multilateral financial institutions to expand their eligibility criteria to ensure that finance is accessible to those in need.

He underlined the growing data divide and said high quality data is critical to meaningful policy-making and efficient public delivery.

“In India digitalisation has brought about a revolutionary change. Technology is being used as a tool to empower people,” he said.

Modi spoke about his government’s work to boost development in over 100 aspirational districts, a reference to underdeveloped areas.

Experience has shown that these districts have emerged as a catalyst for the country’s growth and urged the delegates to study the model as they may find it relevant.

Noting that development is a core issue for the Global South, he said these countries were severely impacted by the disruptions created by the global Covid pandemic.

And, the food, fuel, and fertilizer crises because of geo-political tensions have delivered another blow, he added.

“In such circumstances, the decisions you make carry great significance for humanity as a whole. I strongly believe that it is our collective responsibility not to let the Sustainable Development Goals fall behind. We must ensure that no one is left behind. It is imperative for this group to send a strong message to the world that we have an action plan to achieve this,” he said.

Describing Varanasi, where the meeting is taking place, as the oldest living city of the mother of democracy, the prime minister said it is a fitting location for the G20 development ministers’ meeting.

“Kashi has been a centre of knowledge, discussion, debate, culture, and spirituality for centuries. It has the essence of India’s diverse heritage and serves as a convergence point for people from all parts of the country,” he said.