Modi`s `Digital India` initiative bridges gap between urban, rural areas: Richard Verma

US Ambassador to India Richard Verma

New Delhi, Aug 26: US Ambassador to India Richard Verma on Wednesday said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Digital India’ initiative highlights India’s commitment to enhancing digital capacity, across a variety of sectors, bridging the divide between urban and rural communities.

Speaking at ASSOCHAM’s 7th annual summit on Cyber and Network Security, Verma said: “Every time a country increases its internet penetration by ten percent, its total economic growth can expand by up to two percent.”

Verma further said: “The Internet is part of the critical infrastructure that we have come to depend on. We use it in so many ways – as a communication tool, a marketplace, a forum for expressing new ideas. Digital technology promotes transparency and helps to hold governments accountable. It is a means to fight against repression, and protect human dignity. Yet we must ensure that cyber security tools are not inappropriately used to undermine these important benefits.”

Talking on Cyber and Internet Security, Richard said the risk is greater when we are more reliant on internet.

“But, as transformative as the Internet is, there are risks. And the more reliant we become on the Internet, the greater those risks become. This means we need sound policies to protect this essential resource, as it is vital to advancing human progress in the 21st century. Therefore, promoting an open, secure, and reliable Internet is a key component of our economic policy,” he stated.

“Protecting the Internet cannot be the task of just one country, however, and requires cooperation between government, industry, academia, and every user. It is a shared resource, and thus its stewardship is a shared responsibility. The Internet has flourished because of the bottom-up, consensus-based process that allows multiple stakeholders to participate in its governance,” Richard added.

Verma said that all stakeholders have a critical role in cybersecurity and cybercrime as well.

“The multi-stakeholder approach reaches beyond government and includes the private sector, civil society, academic institutions, and all internet users. Multi-stakeholder Internet governance has served us well thus far, and it is critical to broaden this approach to other areas of cyber policy because all institutions and users share a responsibility to keep the internet operating in a safe, secure, and reliable manner,” he added.

“Our populations are among the most interconnected on the planet, which is in part a reflection of our shared values. Discussions on how to manage cyberspace can be difficult, because they touch on the core of our democratic values, including ethics, the role of government in society, and economic liberty. But if we commit ourselves to protecting internet freedom, the digital revolution will continue to power the opportunities our societies cherish most, by helping to strengthen governments, make us safer, boost economic growth, and promote free expression. And those are goals worth fighting for,” Verma added.

(With Agency Inputs)

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