Dignitaries, invitees, participants, dear friends. 

It is my privilege to be the Chief Guest at the CIVIL 20 (C20) MIZORAM CONCLAVE on ‘Education & Digital Transformation’. I am happy that we are discussing the future of education and digital transformation in the context of India’s G20 Presidency and its C20 Engagement Group.  

I thank the C20’s Education and Digital Transformation (EDT) Working Group for their positive initiatives, as the potential for technology to connect communities is enormous. It is my desire that our efforts must benefit our society, our neighbouring countries, and the entire world in the spirit of ‘Vasudaiva Kudumbakam’, which is the theme of India’s G20 Presidency.  

Through Honourable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi Ji’s vision, we are connecting with countries around the world to address crucial global issues. As the premier forum for the world’s leading developed and emerging economies, G20 is helping to shape a global architecture that is needed now more than ever, especially as we address the economic and social challenges due to the pandemic. 

Thus, Government of India has ensured that sustainable development and inclusive growth are the focal points of our G20 initiatives. And the C20 Engagement Group, representing the world’s civil society and NGOs, is one of the most crucial channels to address these issues. 

I am delighted that Shri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, a spiritual leader fondly known as Amma, has been named as Chair of C20. India’s C20 is collaborating with hundreds of civil society organisations (CSOs) from around the world to voice common concerns, with the vision of leaving no one behind. 

If we, as a global community, utilize the influence of CSOs and NGOs, the impact will certainly reverberate throughout society as a whole. As we all know, the NGOs and CSOs are valuable partners for the government in implementing social schemes effectively.    

In Mizoram, we have a close-knit community and a vibrant civil society. Our NGOs address various issues ranging from societal problems to the environment. We maintain strong connection to our traditional values and ethos. We have a high literacy rate and a vast forest cover. However, we also face challenges with a high percentage of the population still dependent on shifting cultivation. 

The north-east region in general, and Mizoram in particular, is inhabited by diverse tribes and communities. Indigenous people often face challenges such as endemic poverty, poor health, and cultural erosion. Many times, these are linked to forest degradation. Education & Digital Transformation offers a pathway to come out of the reliance on subsistence agriculture in a world of unpredictable climate patterns.  

As the reach of CSOs is vast, C20 has innovatively broken into 14 working groups to address various needs. The one which we are addressing today focuses on 

Education and Digital Transformation.  

 COVID-19 ironically brought people together through online communication. Though educational institutes remained in lockdown, digital education flourished. 

This has allowed us to extend education resources to students in remote areas.  

Digital education is a vital tool which can bring about revolution in education and training. It promises to mitigate global challenges of education including quality of instruction, easy access and equity.

This digital learning infrastructure means that a delivery system for knowledge is made available for students who cannot reach classrooms due to distance and cost, especially throughout rural India. 

In the big picture, the projects build a tremendous bridge across economic and geographical divides, and carry a huge potential to expand knowledge access to all strata of society, to instil self-confidence in both students and teachers, and to open new trajectories for future learners. 

Through digital literacy, we can achieve an education system that is accessible, equitable, and inclusive by maintaining the need for a flexible and multidisciplinary approach based upon needs and social contexts of different cultures. 

And as we move forward with our efforts to improve the education and digital landscape of Mizoram, we will benefit by keeping this vision in mind.  

We must strive to provide quality education to every child in the State, regardless of their background or location, by leveraging technology to reach them.  

Today’s modern education has to be technology-assisted, only then can it reach a greater number of people and the masses. 

A modern digitized society is the order of the day. A country’s advancement today is measured by its digital infrastructure. In India, in the last nine years, digital infrastructure has undergone a seachange. Hon’ble PM Shri Narendra Modi ji has recently released a Vision Document that details India’s plans to develop and launch 6G, which is the 6th Generation telecom services. This is happening within six months of the roll-out of 5G services. By 2030, India will have 6G services. I’m happy to state that India had the fastest 5 G rollout in the world!  

India is now working with many countries to change the work culture of the whole world using the power of 5G. At a recent program in New Delhi, Hon’ble PM Modi ji said that India is working fast on creating 5G smart classrooms, farming techniques, intelligent transport systems and healthcare applications. The Bharat 6G Vision Document provides an enabling environment for innovation, capacity building and faster technology adoption in the country. 

This is the REAL digital transformation that we have been waiting for. Earlier, we used to calculate the per capita cost of living which included roti, kapda aur makaan, which means food, clothing and shelter. However, in a modern digitized society, these parameters have changed because our basic and fundamental needs have gone beyond these three things. Today, we need to calculate the index of cost of learning. And, in a modern society, the cost of learning is parallel to the cost of living.  

The cost of learning includes tools of learning and acquiring knowledge. Earlier, there were traditional knowledge diffusers, who were our teachers. However, in a modern digitized society, there are digital tools that become knowledge dispensers and amplifiers. These include smart phones and TVs, broadband and satellite, which help in faster distribution of knowledge amongst the masses. 

Therefore, broadband and satellite add to the index of the cost of learning. Niti Aayog has taken the first decisive step of identifying 100 such items typical of a modern digitized economy. These items are necessary for the masses today to be able to experience the REVOLUTION OF KNOWLEDGE. The cost of learning is therefore the cost for the masses to have access to the most qualified jobs, to promote national wealth and to secure the future of our children. 

I commend EDT’s work as a C20 initiative for their study and recommendation of practical skill development and education models that are equitable and accessible for underdeveloped, developing, and emerging economies. 

I am happy to learn that Amrita has worked closely with the tribal population in mainland India, with a vision is to provide an integrated, sustainable approach for improving education, health and livelihood through digital inclusion. 

India leads the world in knowledge. The whole world is looking at India’s growth story today. And, yet, if we were to assess India by merely the growth in its GDP, which measures only the monetary value of goods and services produced by a country, India stands below some of the developed nations. And yet, everyone here will agree with me, that India has become a knowledge hub and destination. 

Therefore, the true index to measure an economy is not its GDP, but its 

GDKP! The Gross Domestic KNOWLEDGE Potential! The ‘K’ factor, which is the knowledge factor, is critical, and India is far far ahead of others in the knowledge factor.  

Education and knowledge, coupled with the use of technology to enhance education and knowledge, are the true measure of a successful and growing nation. And, the economic growth of any country is dependent on its growth in knowledge.  

We are happy that India is a true “KNOWLEDGE ECONOMY”. Of course, one of the biggest challenges before us remains the task of attaining 100 percent literacy, and how to use technology to reach this goal.  

Our state of Mizoram has always been amongst the states that have shown highest literacy rates. In the last ten years, we have seen further improvement. The good news in Mizoram is that we don’t have to struggle to educate our girl children. Tribal societies are blessed with gender equality. Our girls go hand in hand with our boys to schools and colleges.  

Our  slogan therefore must be EDUCATION FOR ALL, KNOWLEDGE FOR ALL & DIGITAL 

TRANSFORMATION for all .. to attain our larger goal of SABKA SAATH, SABKA VIKAAS & SABKA VISHWAAS!! 

Efforts towards Education and Digital Transformation are also in line with our National Education Policy 2020 and the Digital India initiatives. Our aim is to make India a global knowledge superpower through digital empowerment.

In conclusion, I would like to thank Amma Shri Amritanandamayi ji for her vision in promoting the importance of education and digital transformation, both through leadership of the Civil 20 Engagement Group, and in the establishment of her institutions across the country in the form of schools, university campuses and hospitals.             

I believe that with the collective efforts of all various stakeholders, we can build a better future for the state, the country, and the world. Let us work together towards building an inclusive, accessible, and equitable education system that builds a better world for our coming generations. 

Thank you. 

Jai Hind.