India can provide sustainable solutions to global challenges

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New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said that the world is confident that India can provide low-cost, quality, sustainable and scalable solutions to global challenges, while encouraging the youth to work with one goal i.e “Aatmanirbhar Bharat” or self-reliant India.

Interacting with the participants of the grand finale of the Smart India Hackathon 2023 organised by the Union ministry of education via video conferencing, the Prime Minister said, “The aim of Smart India Hackathon is to solve the problems of the country and create employment through solutions. Through Smart India Hackathon, the youth power of the country is extracting the nectar of solutions for developed India.”

Smart India Hackathon (SIH), which was launched in 2017, is a nationwide initiative to provide students a platform to solve the pressing problems of ministries and departments of the government, industries and other organisations. This year, more than 50,000 ideas were received from 44,000 teams, and of them, 1,282 teams were shortlisted for the grand finale to provide solutions on various themes including Space Technology, Smart Education, Disaster Management, Robotics and Drones, and Heritage and Culture, among others.

During his interaction with the students, the Prime Minister said that India’s Chandrayaan mission has increased the expectations of the world. “It has changed India’s perception across the globe. The coming decade is going to be essential for the space-tech economy…The world is confident that in India it will find low-cost, quality, sustainable and scalable solutions to global challenges,” he said.

The PM said that India is at a turning point in time, where every effort of ours will strengthen the foundation of the India of the next thousand years. “India of the 21st century is moving forward with the mantra of ‘Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan, Jai Vigyan and Jai Anusandhan’…To make India developed, we all have to work together. Our goal must be – Aatmanirbhar Bharat,” he said.

While interacting with a group of students from Dayanand Sagar College, Bengaluru, who are working on finding solutions to ensure cyber security, the Prime Minister said that there is a need to be careful with new technologies.

“If these are used carefully, they could be very useful. However, if these are misused it could create huge problems. You must be aware of deepfake videos made with the help of Generative AI. These videos look very real, and therefore, we need to be very careful before believing in the authenticity of a video or an image. India is emphasising a global framework for AI…,” he said.

He also interacted with another group of students from NIT Trichy that is working in making an IoT based system for railway cargos. “I believe that the Indian railway will benefit from your efforts. The Indian Railways is going through its transformation phase, and the central government is spending thousands of crores for that. We also have a special focus on logistics…,” PM said.

Noticing that the team had students from Bangladesh as well, the PM said, “We have started the ‘Study in India’ programme for students from foreign countries to come to India for higher studies.”

Appreciating youth for participating in the hackathon, the Prime Minister said, “I am happy that the young generation of the country is working day and night to provide solutions to the challenges facing the country. The solutions obtained from the earlier hackathons have been very effective.Many students participating in hackathons have also started their own startups. These startups, these solutions, are helping both the government and the society,” he said.

He also interacted with another group of students from Gujarat Technological University, Ahmedabad, who worked on the project of improving the medium-resolution images received by the ISRO’s Moonlander by converting them to super-resolution images using image processing and AI to create a hazard map of the moon. The output of the project will help determine a safe landing spot and navigation path for future missions.

The Prime Minister suggested getting supervision and guidance from the team at ISRO along with various space startups in the country. “India’s space program has become a ray of hope for the world after Chandrayan 3’s success and has changed the outlook of foreign nations towards India,” he said, while underlining that the present era is a perfect time period for the youth who wish to contribute towards India’s space sector as he mentioned the space sector being opened up to the private sector for the youth to flourish.

He also mentioned ISRO opening up its facilities for new-age startups and suggested they visit IN-SPACe headquarters located in Ahmedabad.

The Prime Minister reiterated that the next 25 years of India’s Amrit Kaal will be a defining period for the young innovators. He underlined the common goal of a self-reliant India and stated the objective of not importing any new and being dependent on other nations.

Giving the example of the defence sector which is working towards self-reliance, he pointed out that India is forced to import some defence technologies. He also stressed the need for self-reliance in semiconductor and chip technology. PM Modi also highlighted India’s high aspirations in the quantum technology and hydrogen energy sectors. He said that the government is giving special emphasis to all such sectors by creating a modern ecosystem of the 21st century, but its success depends on the success of the youth.

Expressing trust in the youth power of the nation, the Prime Minister asked them to keep the resolution of Viksit Bharat in mind while finding a solution to any problem. “Whatever you do, may it be the best. You have to do such work that the world follows you” PM Modi concluded.