IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw has invited G20 countries for cooperation towards digital inclusion and social empowerment, highlighting that digital platforms in India have prevented leakages in the delivery of government schemes, an official statement said on Friday.
Vaishnaw — at the G20 Digital Ministers’ meeting hosted by Italy on Thursday — said that digital platforms like Aadhaar and direct benefit transfers have not only empowered people in India but have also led to savings of over USD 24 billion in the last seven years.
‘Providing digital identity Aadhaar to 1.29 billion users, opening bank accounts of 430 million poor people and linking both these to send the financial entitlements directly into bank accounts has eliminated leakages from the delivery system. Around 900 million citizens are receiving benefits of one or more schemes,’ the IT and telecom minister said.
The G20 digital ministers meeting adopted a declaration for ‘Leveraging Digitalization for a Resilient, Strong, Sustainable and Inclusive Recovery’, the statement said.
Vaishnaw at the meeting highlighted the importance of digital inclusion during the pandemic for which India has been a strong proponent.
He said the technology is for digital inclusion and not for creating digital divide, and India has always been advocating that the digital economy is an important tool for social inclusion.
The minister committed India’s support towards closer partnerships at the G20 forum and invited countries for future cooperation towards digital inclusion and social empowerment, according to the statement.
Minister of State (MoS) for IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar suggested that G20 countries should collaborate on a free, open, transparent, safe and trustworthy internet for all to leverage technology.
Even before taking over the change of MoS for electronics and IT, Chandrasekhar has been actively participating in debates on technical issues such as net neutrality, data protection etc.
At the G20 meeting, he shared India’s model for the availability of robust and secured digital infrastructure, including digital platforms and connectivity under the Digital India programme.
He too emphasised the role of Aadhaar, the unique digital identity that empowers residents of India to authenticate anytime, anywhere and also provides targeted delivery of subsidies, benefits and services in an efficient and transparent manner.