Digital transformation is the most remarkable change of our era. The proper use of digital technologies can become a force multiplier in the decades-long global fight against poverty. Digital solutions can also be helpful in the fight against climate change – as we all saw in the examples of remote-working and paperless green offices during Covid. But these benefits will be realized only when the digital access is truly inclusive and when the use of digital technology is really widespread. Unfortunately, till now we have seen this powerful tool only from the criteria of simple business, keeping this power tied in the ledgers of profit and loss. It is the responsibility of us G-20 leaders that the benefits of digital transformation should not be confined to a small part of the human race.
India’s experience of the past few years has shown us that if we make digital architecture inclusive, it can bring about socio-economic transformation. Digital use can bring scale and speed. Transparency can be brought in governance. India has developed digital public goods whose basic architecture has in-built democratic principles. These solutions are based on open source, open APIs, open standards, which are interoperable and public. This is our approach based on the digital revolution that is going on in India today. Take, for example, our Unified Payment Interface (UPI).
Last year, over 40 percent of the world’s real-time payment transactions took place through UPI. Similarly, we opened 460 million new bank accounts on the basis of digital identity, making India a global leader in financial inclusion today. Our open source CoWIN platform made the biggest vaccination campaign in human history, a success even during the pandemic.
In India, we are making digital access public, but at the international level, there is still a huge digital divide. Citizens of most developing countries of the world do not have any kind of digital identity. Only 50 countries have digital payment systems. Can we take a pledge together that in the next ten years we will bring digital transformation in the life of every human being, so that no person in the world will be deprived of the benefits of digital technology!
During its G-20 Presidency next year, India will work jointly with G-20 partners towards this objective. The principle of “Data for development” will be an integral part of the overall theme of our Presidency “One Earth, One Family, One Future”.
DISCLAIMER – This is the approximate translation of Prime Minister’s remarks. Original remarks were delivered in Hindi.