The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, recently inaugurated the new International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Area Office and Innovation Centre. During his speech, he highlighted the widespread accessibility of digital technology in India, stating that the number of internet users in the country has risen from 25 billion in 2014 to 85 billion. He also noted that rural areas have a higher percentage of users than urban areas.
PM Modi announced the establishment of a 6G R&D Test Bed, citing the laying of over 25 lakh kilometres of optical fibre in the past nine years by the government and business sectors as a case study for the rest of the world. He praised the JAM (JanDhan, Aadhaar & Mobile) trinity for its strength and effectiveness.
India and ITU signed a host country agreement in March 2022 for the development of an area office, which is housed on the second floor of the Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DoT) building in Mehrauli, New Delhi. The office aims to serve India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Afghanistan, and Iran. It also aims to improve regional coordination and ensure mutually beneficial economic cooperation.
In addition to inaugurating the ITU Area Office and Innovation Centre, PM Modi also launched the “Call Before U Dig” (CBuD) app. The app was developed to prevent damage to underlying assets, such as optical fibre cables, caused by careless digging and excavation. This damage costs the nation roughly Rs 3000 crore annually. CBuD exemplifies a “whole-of-government approach” to governance, making it easier to conduct business and benefiting all stakeholders.
Overall, PM Modi’s speech highlighted India’s progress in digital technology and its commitment to improving regional coordination and economic cooperation.