Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday called technology and talent the two pillars that are key to India’s development. He said technology in India is not an agent of exclusion but of inclusion. “It has been ensured even in the geospatial sector. Collection, generation, and digitisation of geospatial data have now been democratised. Such reforms gave a boost to the drone sector and opened up the space sector for private participation…,” Modi said in a video message at the 2nd United Nations World Geospatial International Congress in Hyderabad.

Modi highlighted the role of geospatial technology in driving progress and the technology in schemes such as SVAMITVA for property surveys to promote self-reliant rural India. “The outcomes in terms of property ownership and women empowerment have a direct impact on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals on poverty and gender equality,” he said.

Modi pointed out geospatial technology was powering the PM Gati Shakti Master Plan for integrated planning and implementation of projects. He added India has set an example in sharing the benefits of geospatial technology while referring to the South Asia Satellite, which is facilitating communication in the county’s neighbourhood.

“India is a young nation with a great innovative spirit,” Modi said, highlighting the role of talent as the second pillar in development. He added India is one of the world’s top startup hubs. Modi said the number of unicorn startups has almost doubled since 2021 and called it a testimony to India’s young talent.

Modi said they have been working on a vision of Antyodaya, which means empowering the last person at the last mile. He added that 450 million unbanked people, a population greater than that of the US, have been banked. Modi said 135 million people, or about twice the population of France, have been given insurance covers. He said sanitation facilities have been provided to 110 million families and tap water connections to over 60 million families.“India is ensuring no one is left behind.”

Modi said the Covid-19 pandemic should have been a wake-up call in taking everyone along while asking the international community to adopt an institutional approach to help each other during a crisis.

“Global organisations like the United Nations can lead the way in taking resources to the last mile in every region,” he said. “Hand-holding and technology transfer are also crucial in fighting climate change.”

Modi called for sharing best practices for saving the planet.

Union minister Jitendra Singh said India has witnessed a lot of transformations in the past few years and jumped in the global innovation index. “Technology is increasingly becoming available to generations, but there is no uniformity in adaptation. This needs to be taken into consideration at a global level.”

In his message, UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres called for the need to drive innovation and action through the power of data focused on the most marginalised and vulnerable communities and places.

By Shadab

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