G20 to bridge all forms of digital divide

At the G20 Digital Economy Ministerial Meeting in Salta, in the north-west of Argentina, G20 ministers and senior officials issued a declaration that reflects the G20’s commitment towards promoting “policies and actions that catalyze digital transformations. The Digital Economy Ministerial Meeting, held on 23-24 August, was attended by 33 heads of delegation- Ministers, senior officials and representatives from invited countries and international organizations. India was represented by Union Minister for Electronics and Ravi Shankar Prasad.

Building on the contributions of the G20 Digital Economy Task Force, delegates deliberated upon efforts to create conditions that help governments, the private sector and civil society maximize the benefits and confront the challenges posed by technological progress. The other focus area of the meeting was digital inclusion, in particular the gender divide. Other related issued such as Digital government, digital infrastructure and measuring the digital economy were also deliberated.

Built upon the consensus achieved under the Chinese and German presidencies, the document acknowledges that digitalization is a powerful enabler of inclusive economic growth. It encourages G20 countries to better understand new business models to accelerate the digital economy in an inclusive, transparent and competitive manner.

The declaration also lists requirements for a thriving digital economy. These include an effective and high-quality infrastructure system, an environment that supports innovation and enabling legal frameworks, and promoting the free flow of information, knowledge and ideas.The recommendations in the document seek to help reduce the digital gender divide, accelerate digital infrastructure, transform the government and measure the new economy.

Addressing the Plenary, Prasad said that India’s digital story is a story of hope and growth; of opportunities and profits. But above all it is a story of digital inclusion and empowerment. Digital India is a mass movement today touching the lives of a billion people. Minister Prasad said that he was very assured to note that an important theme of the meeting was bridging the gender divide adding that gender empowerment was an important focus for his government.

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