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Credit: The Government of India

Credit: The Government of India

Indian President says technology is India’s destiny on National Technology Day

On 11 May, the President of India Shri Ram Nath Kovind gave his address at the National Technology Day celebrations in New Delhi. He emphasised that technology is the country’s destiny and iterated that “technology must also be equity” and that “its fruits must be accessible to all”.

“Our goal is a technology society and our means to that goal too will incorporate technology. Technology is our destiny,” he said.

In his address, the President first traced the country’s history in technology development and production – how India began to climb the value chain in technology production in the areas of space and atomic energy after independence and expand to today’s capacities in communication technology, IT, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology.

He then urged the country to explore new frontiers. To support new technological advances, the Indian Government has proposed to establish Centres of Excellence to train young technologists in robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), digital manufacturing, big data analytics, quantum communication, and in the Internet of Things (IoT). He also mentioned that the government is also pursuing demonstration and deployment of successful technology solutions for clean energy options and for meeting the challenge of water availability.

“Technology and innovation have cross-cutting implications. All of our national programmes – such as Make in India, Skill India, Digital India, Start-up India, Stand-up India, Ayushman Bharat, enhancing agricultural productivity and farm incomes, and others – require a force multiplier in the form of technology,” the President said.

As part of the National Technology Day celebration, the occasion also celebrated the achievements of some of the country’s best scientists and innovators, and their success in shaping technology into usable, commercial products and processes that change the lives of people.

The recognised projects range from a vaccine that will help defeat rotavirus, which is a leading cause of diarrhoeal deaths among children, to a low-cost but high-performing diagnostic machine for kidney and other non-communicable illnesses. Projects that have won technology startup awards include companies that have demonstrated advance in wireless communication, in drug delivery for cancer patients, and in medical tests that help fight the growing problem of antimicrobial resistance.

According to the President, these new technologies have three attributes in common. First, they offer solutions that are necessary in the Indian context and contribute to the social and economic needs of its people. Second, they achieve all this at competitive price points. Third, they do not compromise on quality.

“This emphasis on quality in our innovation and technology endeavours is non-negotiable. There was a time when we tended to confuse frugal and low-cost innovation with jugaad – small, incremental change or essentially a cut-and-paste approach to technology. As a society, we have and we must continue to overcome that mindset,” he added.

As the President highlighted that technology is India’s destiny, he also emphasised that technology must also be equity and that its fruits must be accessible to all.

“Finance and resources should be available to all technologists who may wish to turn entrepreneurs – and to migrate from the lab room to the shop floor. Above all, gender equity must be integrated with technology production and technology sharing. We need more of our daughters and more of our country’s young women to enter the technology and innovation space. Those who are already working here are doing a remarkable job, but their numbers need to improve, and improve urgently,” he urged.

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