Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP's) prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on Friday reaffirmed his pledge to focus on information technology (IT) for facilitating the process of ushering in inclusive development and building a Brand India.
Addressing the 25th Nasscom leadership summit here through a webcast, he termed IT a "change agent" capable of empowering, connecting and binding isolated parts of the nation.
Touching upon the debate over digital divide and the gap between the rich and the poor, he said, "We can't have two Indias, one racing ahead and another moving on a reverse gear. This will add to our problems."
"I see IT as a change-agent. IT can join people with governments, bridge the gap between demand and supply, and can bring us closer to knowledge.
"I keep saying that IT+IT=IT (Indian Talent + Information Technology = India Tomorrow). The IT sector can be the shining light of Brand India," the Gujarat chief minister added.
At a recent election rally, Modi had said if a BJP government was elected to power in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, it would bank on five 'T's — talent, tradition, tourism, trade and technology — to build a Brand India. He had also pledged the setting up of more IITs to impart technical education.
A day after US ambassador Nancy Powell met Modi and reportedly praised the governance model in Gujarat, he said e-governance was the most effective form of governance and his state had taken several initiatives in this regard to make life easier for the commoners.
"It brings empowerment, equity and efficiency to the economy. It is a very useful field that can be the greatest problem solver of people."
The BJP's PM nominee also made a pitch for reduced dependence on imports, particularly of electronic items, and said the focus should be on manufacturing sector along with services to ensure better inclusive growth.
"Electronics imports have a big share in our overall import basket. We must focus on manufacturing, particularly in strategic sectors like defence...there is also a need to focus on promoting hardware as much as software to ensure inclusive growth."
In line with his recent speeches, Modi also put emphasis on skill development among youngsters.
"We are among the most youthful nations. Just imagine the energy and potential of this talent pool. We need to empower our youth with skills for their development and the growth of India."
Stating that information and communications technology (ICT) training was the need of the hour, Modi said it could enable the country emerge as a big service sector and business hub.
Urging Nasscom to get actively engaged in imparting skill among people in its silver jubilee year, he added, "What we need is the skills. Nasscom should focus on this on its silver jubilee."