Digital platforms, robust ICT infra helped reduce pandemic hardships: President

NEW DELHI, Dec 30: Proactive implementation of digital platforms such as Aarogya Setu and e-Office backed by robust ICT infrastructure has helped the country reduce the pandemic hardships, President Ram Nath Kovind said on Wednesday.
As COVID-19 has impacted the global economy, India has pledged to make itself more self-reliant, and technology will be a key enabler in that journey in coming days, he said addressing Digital India Awards virtual ceremony.
“The year is about to end now, and let us hope the pandemic will also end soon,” he said.
While the pandemic has changed the world in terms of social relations, economic activities, healthcare, education and many other aspects, the proactive digital interventions have allowed operational continuity, he observed.
“India was not only prepared to minimise the adverse impact of mobility-restrictions, but also utilised the crisis as an opportunity to march ahead in various arenas. It was possible only because the digital infrastructure has been strengthened in recent years,” he said.
Implementation of digital platforms such as Aarogya Setu, e-Office and video conferencing services backed by a robust ICT infrastructure helped the country reduce the pandemic hardships, he said.
Technological advances are often termed as ‘disruptions’, but this year they helped overcome the big disruption (caused by the pandemic) to a great extent, he said. From judiciary and education to tele-medicine, scores of sectors have switched to the virtual mode.
“For the government too, information technology was one of the most crucial tools to deliver a variety of services to citizens and keep the wheels of the economy turning,” he said.
Proactive digital interventions allowed operational continuity of important government services during and after the lockdown.
“Equally importantly, they have helped us in pandemic management too,” Kovind said.
He emphasised that innovative solutions must continue to be developed for functioning of government offices in paperless and contactless mode, for security and benefit of citizens.
“It will also help in making administrative processes more eco-friendly,” he said.
The President asserted that technology and ICT-driven innovative solutions must be leveraged to aid economic inclusiveness and social transformation even in the remotest corners of the country.
“A large segment of our population is still not able to derive the benefits of digital devices and services. The number of such people needs to be minimised by extending digital access to them through effective innovations. This will make our digital revolution more inclusive,” he said.
Sharing information enhances transparency in society, and empowers citizens and civil society, he said adding that National Data Sharing and Accessibility Policy envisages a participatory model of governance in which citizens can access non-strategic information from public authorities and become partners with the government in reform processes.
“Indigenous plug-and-play ICT solutions are required for the efficient, transparent and quick delivery of governance at different levels, from the Union Government to the local governance bodies,” he said.
India has been at the forefront in implementing and adopting modern technologies in different sectors and at all levels of governance.
“We have to keep challenging ourselves to deliver innovative solutions to improve the ease of living for all citizens,” he added. (PTI)