Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi addressed the United Nations World Geospatial International Congress, via video message, today.
Welcoming International Delegates, the Prime Minister said, “the people of India are happy to host you on this historic occasion as we build our future together.” Expressing his happiness at the conference happening in Hyderabad, the Prime Minister said that the city is known for its culture and cuisine, its hospitality and hi-tech vision.
The Prime Minister pointed out that the theme of the conference, ‘Geo-enabling the Global Village: No one should be left behind’ can be seen in the steps India has taken over the last few years. “We have been working on a vision of Antyodaya which means empowering the last person at the last mile, in a mission mode” he said. 450 million unbanked people, a population greater than that of USA, were brought under banking net and 135 million people, about twice the population of France, were given insurance, the Prime Minister elaborated. Sanitation facilities were taken to 110 million families and tap water connections to over 60 million families, he added, underlining that “India is ensuring no one is left behind.”
Technology and talent are the two pillars that are key to India’s development journey. Technology brings transformation, the Prime Minister said, citing the example of JAM trinity which has delivered welfare benefits to 800 million people seamlessly and of the tech platform that powered the world’s largest vaccination drive. “In India, technology is not an agent of exclusion. It is an agent of inclusion,” Shri Modi said.
The Prime Minister highlighted the role of geospatial technology in driving inclusion and progress. The role of technology in schemes like SVAMITVA and housing, and 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, the Prime Minister emphasized. The PM GatiShakti Master Plan is being powered by geo-spatial technology, as is the Digital Ocean platform, he added. India has already set an example in sharing the benefits of geo-spatial technology, the Prime Minister stated, citing the example of the South Asia Satellite for facilitating communication in India’s neighbourhood.
“India is a young nation with great innovative spirit,” the Prime Minister said, highlighting the role of talent as the second pillar in India’s journey. India is one of the top startup hubs in the world, he added, with the number of unicorn startups having almost doubled since 2021- a testimony to India’s young talent.
One of the most important freedoms is the freedom to innovate, the Prime Minister said, and this has been ensured for the geospatial sector. Collection, generation and digitization of geospatial data have now been democratized, he added. Such reforms have been accompanied with a boost to the drone sector and opening up of the space sector for private participation, along with 5G taking off in India.
According to Prime Minister Modi, the COVID-19 pandemic should have been a wake-up call for the call in taking everyone along. There is a need for an institutional approach by the international community to help each other during a crisis, he emphasized. “Global organisations like the United Nations can lead the way in taking resources to the last mile in every region,” he highlighted. Hand-holding and technology transfer are also crucial in fighting climate change, the Prime Minister added, suggesting that best practices may be shared for saving our planet.
The Prime Minister underscored the endless possibilities that geo-spatial technology offers. These include sustainable urban development, managing and mitigating disasters, tracking the impact of climate change, forest management, water management, stopping desertification and food security. He expressed his wish that this conference becomes a platform to discuss developments in such important areas.
In conclusion, the Prime Minister expressed his optimism at the occasion. “With the stakeholders of the global geo-spatial industry coming together, with the policy makers and academic world interacting with each other, I am confident that this conference will help steer the global village into a new future,” he added.