Some of the officials said it was inadvertent, and they have been sensitised. It is unlike the case of some NGO, sourcing data from outside, and seeking to circulate. Therefore, the UIDAI has asked them from where they got the data.
This technology and platform is helping the people. It was linked with PAN to prevent money laundering. The true aim of Digital India is to have low-cost, affordable technology that is inclusive. More importantly, Aadhaar has become a tool for empowerment and transparent delivery. Is any poor complaining? He’s empowered, he’s getting money in his account. Rajiv Gandhi had said ‘I send 1 rupee from Delhi, only 15 paise reaches the ground’. In this government, Rs 100 is sent, and Rs 100 reaches the ground. Everyone is free to criticise, but they must also see how the poor people are happy by being empowered, getting benefits without hassle. Let me ask a question: Were MNREGA payments being abused or not? In many villages in North India there were no mazdoors, only affluent kisaans but big amount of MNREGA used to go or not? Voter ID is also in public domain, there is a photograph in the voter list. I don’t see any campaign there.
Government is open to that.
I have talked to many of the top companies’ CEOs. They have said they’ll come back with proper data, but they have denied any mass layoffs, not only to Nasscom but also to us. The government is also open to further dialogue with the industry. Some companies said we’re going to hire 30-40,000 more this year. Indian digital economy will become a $1 trillion economy by 2025, and this will include IT and IT-enabled services, digital payments, electronic manufacturing, e-commerce, start-ups, communications, cyber security, etc. So in the context of Indian digital economy going to the higher gear to reach $1 trillion, along with government’s focus on digital payment, the Nasscom report, which says the industry would hire 2.5-3 million more people in the next 5-7 years, makes sense.
Software services sector will also remain relevant. All the components of IT will remain relevant. 10 lakh people are today working in nearly 2.5 lakh common service centres. They are giving digital delivery of services, making Aadhaar, PAN card, railway ticketing, etc. These 2.5 lakh CSCs have earned Rs 1,800 crore, most of which was in the last three years. They have earned Rs 600 crore only from making 21 crore Aadhaar cards.
I cannot predict, except to say that it holds great promise. Just to give you an example, there are 7.2 crore soil health cards issued in the country. I would like to see start-ups leverage this number.
Sabka saath sabka vikaas includes agriculture also. One of the main focus areas is technology for agriculture, apart from that there are many other initiatives like soil health card, Fasal Bima Yojana, higher compensation in event of crop damage, that the government has undertaken.
It is wrong reporting, we don’t know from where it came. We are in talks and we will come out with a structured response after the talk is over. India is a huge market, millions of Indians are using smartphones, and therefore we must understand the sentiment of Indians for Apple. Because of the market size and enormity of India’s digital economy, I’m sure Apple needs to come to India. Apple must explore the Indian market.
Over 50,000 courts have been digitised. We have launched the pro-bono portal, where lawyers can give free legal advice. Pendency in high courts and Supreme Court is coming down, but district courts are still an area of concern, I’m being very frank. These initiatives will start helping out though. We’re going to have Nyaya Mitra in most of the districts where highest number of litigations pending since 10 years or above are there. Nyaya Mitra will work as an interface between the judiciary, the police and the administration. In CSCs, paralegal volunteers will be there, who will give pre-legal litigation advice to poor ladies by connecting them to district legal service authorities. Digital aid at the base level of gram panchayat is also being used for legal aid.