New Delhi, November 26
India is in a position to play a leading role in the global arena not only in the healthcare sector, but also in building the post-COVID economy, Union Minister Jitendra Singh said on Thursday.
The nation has shown remarkable resilience, and its ability to rise to the occasion at a short notice, reorienting itself to the crisis has demonstrated the underlying scientific temperament, innovative thinking and strength of its medical fraternity, he said while speaking at a Ficci event.
“…it’s not a simple coincidence that when we started off into this pandemic…we were short of ventilators, PPE kits and now we are in a position to export these items.
“So, that itself is a reflection of our scientific fraternity — in this case, of course, the medical fraternity — rising to the occasion at a short notice, and re-orienting ourselves to a crisis, which was actually alien to the entire world, including in the medical fraternity,” Singh said addressing the ‘Global R&D Summit 2020’ organised by industry body Ficci.
India is in a position to take a “leading role” in the global arena in the post COVID times, not only in the healthcare but also in the building of the post-pandemic economy, said Singh, who is the Minister of State (Independent Charge), Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space.
Speaking at the virtual event, Bharti Airtel CEO Gopal Vittal noted that telecom has become the “backbone” for India and businesses, playing a critical role in all aspects — right from ensuring the seamless functioning of payment systems to work-from-home, and from ensuring remote access to quality healthcare to enabling online education for children.
The industry is “uniquely positioned” to deliver major productivity benefits for the economy and businesses through digital technology, science and partnerships.
“One of the most critical enablers for Digital India is improved access to infrastructure, affordable and easy access to Right of Way, so we can lay out fibre when needed, affordable spectrum…so we can invest in building networks rather than spend money on just airwaves, and finally stable and long term policies to encourage more investments with lesser risks,” Vittal said.
Tech Mahindra Managing Director and CEO C P Gurnani said the Indian private sector has tried to explore how — with limited R&D spends — it can still continue to innovate without always turning to ‘Jugaad’ that sometimes has a negative connotation.
He also lauded the government for the continued focus on innovation in areas like healthcare and agriculture even amid the pandemic.
“…whether we follow the money, technology or innovation, if the government and private sector can work together, I think there is a huge headroom and we are looking for support,” he said, citing the example of space-tech that the government has been promoting through various efforts.
Gurnani said citizens have benefitted immensely from the one-way communication (via satellites), and added that with the advent of low-orbit satellites and some of the newer technologies, “two-way communication is a possibility”.
“…we would like to collaborate and make us the leaders in space technologies, make us leaders in space communication…(so that) we are able to marry some of the technologies that already exist in this country,” Gurnani said. — PTI