The issues of our day, in Milind’s words

 

IT and Communications

Milind’s ministership has given him a uniquely comprehensive perspective on the forces shaping India’s future.

“The Ministry of Communications and IT is building the hard infrastructure which we hope will usher in a data revolution. Our goal is to ensure that every Indian is on board, regardless of whether they live in Mumbai or in a remote village.”

“We want India’s villages to kick off and lead the data revolution.”

“The government, and my ministry in particular, is always available to lend industry any support that it requires. But our partnership and dialogue must go beyond fiscal incentives. It should also build an enabling environment for our youth that fosters academia and innovation.”

“India’s telecommunications sector is still at a nascent stage in its development. I say this because although almost 80% of our country has access to voice services, we are continuously evolving, both in terms of a policy and technological framework.”

“I hope India Telecom 2012 will tell the world that India’s telecom sector continues to remain vibrant, full of growth opportunities, and that we are united in our quest to connect every Indian to voice and high-speed data services at affordable prices.”

“Today, we have one of the highest subscriber growth rates and lowest tariff regimes in the world. India’s teledensity was 2% in 1998, 5% in 2003, grew to around 18% in 2007 and has quadrupled to 77% at present. While we have done reasonably well to encourage teledensity growth in rural and economically backward areas, we are yet to begin the next phase of the telecom revolution, which will connect our towns and villages to high-speed internet.”

“The government is working hard to provide reliable, high quality OFC broadband connectivity to all our village clusters. Once this process is completed, we will feel the multiplier effects of this investment towards building a more inclusive, equitable and connected India. I invite all of you to participate in this revolution and help make it a reality.”

“The Ministry of Communications and IT, with the help of industry, is making massive investments in increasing our bandwidth capacity and taking high-speed internet to Panchayats. We’re also working to bring down the cost of customer premise equipment and make the ICT ecosystem equitable and available to all.”

“Many countries look up to India for how we rolled out our voice-based revolution.”

“When I got into politics, I was really interested in bridging the digital divide.”

“IT must be equitable and affordable for all.”

 

Internet Access

Technology is not for the few. India’s future belongs to everyone.

“Government is committed to promoting internet access and protecting citizens’ rights.”

“I believe social media has an important role to play in the Information Communication Technology (ICT) revolution and we are trying to put in place a system that is rooted in the fundamental principles of democracy, inclusive growth, transparency and accountability. “

“The UPA Government, in partnership with industry, is making large investments to build a non-discriminatory, next generation telecommunications network, panning across India. Our objective is to connect our farmers and panchayats, in addition to our cities, to high-speed internet.”

“We believe [connectivity] will improve governance – particularly the delivery of social services such as education and healthcare, make government departments more efficient, transparent and accountable, allow people to communicate with their friends and loved ones anywhere in the world at affordable prices, and allow everyone to access information in real time.”

“In the case of the Palghar arrests, where innocent girls were arrested under various IPC provisions and Section 66A of the IT Act, the Ministry of Communications and IT spoke unitedly and unequivocally that the Maharashtra Police had wrongly applied the IT Act, as well as the stringent provisions of the IPC.”

“What we really require are legal and administrative changes on the ground that renew our youth’s confidence in their inalienable freedoms of speech and expression and allow them to continue to perceive the internet as a fun and informative medium.”

“We should be careful not to dismiss existing laws (or policies for that matter) because they’ve occasionally been misused. Corrective action to ensure that justice prevails, for the complainant and author alike, is always a possibility and is an ongoing process. One hasty and wrong decision should not lead to another.”

 

Shipping

The sea still shapes India’s economy and global ambitions.

“Given India’s strategic location along major shipping routes, our vast coastline and maritime history, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t aspire to become a global maritime hub with the best ports, shipping registry services, shipping companies, shipyards and, of course, seafarers.”

“During my last six months as the Minister of State for Shipping, my confidence about India’s prospects in global maritime trade has only increased. We are trying our level best to not only respond to the present challenges faced by industry, but also to chart out a strategy that will keep us ahead of competition, especially during difficult business cycles.”

“Whether it’s commercial and trade opportunities, transportation or even tourism and recreational opportunities, it’s fair to say that India’s coastline is one of her most untapped and under-utilized natural resources.”

“Through our lighthouses, the Ministry of Shipping has established a National Automatic Identification System Network along India’s coastline. This is used for coastal surveillance to track vessels fitted with transponders up to a distance of 50km. We are also developing a Tourism Policy for our lighthouses and have identified over two dozen lighthouses around India that will be taken up in Phase 1.”

“The Ministry of Shipping is working with the Government of Kerala to better utilize its coastline and inland waterways for various employment generating activities, including shipping and port development.”

 

Innovation

Fostering a culture of creativity for the next generation.

“That’s an example of innovation, where we’re not only reacting to situations but helping shape the future.”

“At its core, like any laboratory experiment, innovation is nothing but a Q&A session with nature. Every new technology that we can imagine already exists in one form or another. These technologies have been around since the day the Universe was created. All that innovators need to do is follow the clues and ask the right questions.”

“The benefits of e-Governance are a no-brainer. But for it to take-off in India, all stakeholders have to be on the same page and work in close coordination with each other. We also have to invest more in innovation and in sharing the process and outcomes of innovation.”

 

Football

“If you’re a good footballer in India it’s difficult to get noticed and go anywhere, but my hope is to develop this and, eventually, have the best footballers come from India.”

“There is a lot of raw potential which is waiting to exhibit talent and take the game further.”

 

Water Conservation

“Water conservation is no longer the preserve of a few activists, but a requirement that each one of us needs to pursue.”

 

Youth

“I hope that young people are inspired to become leaders in the true sense of the word and take our country to new heights.”

 

Politics

“Rather than making impossible promises, I prefer to set realistic expectations and then exceed them. I try not to over-promise.”