The World Congress on Information Technology (WCIT 2018) or the ‘Olympics of IT’, coming to India for the first time, got under way on Monday with Prime Minister Narendra Modi emphasising on re-skilling of existing workforce in the backdrop of emergence of new technologies.
“Skilling citizens for the workplace of the future is important. We also need to ensure that our existing workforce is able to re-skill as new technologies emerge,” he said, inaugurating the event held in Hyderabad, through video-conferencing. Besides the WCIT, the three-day event comprises the Nasscom India Leadership Forum. “We need to reflect on changing nature of jobs in the emerging age of intelligent automation,” he said, pointing to how disruptive technologies such as Blockchain and IoT (Internet of Things) would have “deep impact in the way we live and work. They will require rapid adaptation in our workplaces.” Earlier, the Prime Minister unveiled FutureSkills platform, a Nasscom initiative to upskill 2 million technology professionals in India.
Utilising the forum to highlight the digital strides made, the Prime Minister said India is the hotspot of digital innovation across all sectors. The country not only has a growing number of innovative entrepreneurs, but is also a growing market for tech innovation. “India is best placed to leverage the power of technology and leap-frog into the future while ensuring empowerment of every citizen.”
“We were and will be one of the most tech-friendly population in the world. With over 1 lakh villages linked with optical fibre, 121 crore mobile phones, 120 crore Aadhaar and 50 crore internet users, India is best placed to leverage the power of technology and leap-frog into the future,” he declared.
“Technology has transcended power point presentation and has become an inseparable part of people’s lives,” he said, adding Digital India has graduated beyond being a government initiative to one that has become a way of life. The JAM trinity of combining 320 million bank accounts of poor with Aadhaar and mobile with direct benefits of welfare measures has saved ₹57,000 crore, he said.
“Digital India is a journey bringing about digital inclusion for digital empowerment aided by digital infrastructure for digital delivery of services. Leveraging technology in such a holistic manner was unthinkable some years ago. We have successfully completed this life cycle in last three-and-a-half years... possible through a change in public behaviour and processes,” Mr. Modi said. Convergence between programmes has also happened, he said, with make in India “from only 2 mobile [phone] manufacturing units in India in 2014, today there are 118 units operational in India, including some of the best global brands.”
Stating that technology is becoming enabler of the deeply imbibed Indian philosophy of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, he said if used well for public good technology can deliver lasting prosperity to mankind and sustainable future for the planet.