“Access to high speed broadband should be available without any restrictions:” Jayant Sinha

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Speaking at the 10th India Digital Summit in New Delhi, Minister of State for Finance Shri Jayant Sinha reiterated the government’s firm commitment of transformation of India. He said: “There are 3 vectors for the transformation – Internet & Mobile; Green Technology and Transportation. All of them are inter-linked and technology is the secret sauce for India’s transformation.”

Addressing the captains of the digital industry and the young start-ups attending the two-day conference, Sinha said that because of the Jan Dhan programme, every Indian can have a bank account.

He went on to say: “If you look at it, it is technology which is driving most of the programmes of the government. The Social Security Platform, which the government is working on, is dependent on technology. Technology will be pivotal for Social Security, as it will enable a transparent system with digital audit trail.” Sinha stressed that “protecting and safeguarding privacy of the data” was paramount and the government will ensure it is protected. He highlighted once the architecture of the Social Security Platform is ready, the government will be reaching to various stakeholders for inputs.

The minister said that the social security platform requires one true database of Indian citizens. The government needs to have unique ID for citizens through Aadhaar and have certain demographic information to decide whether an individual is eligible for certain government programmes or not. Once the data base is assembled with associated bank account seeded with Aadhaar, the government will be able to pay beneficiaries of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) programme directly into bank accounts in 100 percent cases as compared to 90 percent cases at the moment, he said. “Once the money is in bank account, we have the opportunity to make you participate in various programme like Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY) and Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJJBY), Atal Pension Yojana (APY) and other schemes,” he said.

On start-ups, the minister said, “India is going to be the entrepreneur engine catering to 6 billion people of the world.” Commenting on net neutrality, Sinha said, “Access to high speed broadband should be available to every citizen, without any restrictions.” He also said that the government is open to tweaking its start-up policy as it aims to encourage entrepreneurs to start new companies and provide employment to a larger number of people.

“Policy making is a dynamic process. There are no full stops,” Sinha said adding “If there is a problem, let us know, we’ll fix it.”

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