Technology can play a big role in taking prosperity to the remotest corners of India and it can really help democratise basic amenities, such as healthcare through telemedicine and education, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said on Sunday.
He said that the idea of the ONDC (Open Network for Digital Commerce) is that small retailers should be protected. "We are ok with large e-commerce also contributing to the nation's economy and working their way through.
"But, should the small retailers be allowed to become extinct like in the western world, where mom-and-pop stores are almost gone or should we not protect livelihoods," Goyal said while interacting with students of IIT-Kanpur.
Talking about steps taken by the government to deal with the problems of the pandemic, Goyal, who is also the consumer affairs, food and public distribution minister, said the government decided to give free food grains over and above the entitlements under the national food security programme to 80 crore people.
The government ensured that "80 crore Indians got five kg of extra food grain for 19 months and it will continue till March this year", he said.
Further, he suggested a five-point action plan for IIT students to unleash India's golden era.
The suggestions include focusing on scale, quality, job creation in all their ventures; providing innovative solutions for farmers, artisans and weavers; studying digital platforms like ONDC and PM GatiShakti; helping set the agenda/themes for India's G20 presidency starting in Dec 2022; and making service and sacrifice guiding philosophy.