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First Conference on India’s Citizen Stack : Digital Public Infrastructure, Transformative Technology for Citizens” at the United Nations Headquarters, New York, 

25 April, 2024

 

Remarks by Ambassador Ruchira Kamboj

 

 

The President of General Assembly H.E. Mr. Dennis Francis

 

The Administrator UNDP Mr Achim Steiner

 

G20 Sherpa Mr. Amitabh Kant

 

The ISPIRT Team from India

 

My Dear Ambassador Friends

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

Today, I want to share a story that echoes from the streets of Khurja, a small town in India, where a remarkable woman named Geeta lives. Geeta, a mother of two and a tailor, never had the chance to attend university. Every day, she stitches clothes for her neighbors, earning her wage in crumpled bills of tens and hundreds. With every stitch, she weaves her dreams—not just for herself but for her children, ensuring they receive the education she missed.

 

 

 

Geeta's routine included a monthly trip to the city bank, trading a day's earnings for a bus ride to deposit her hard-earned savings. She dreamed of saving enough to expand her small tailoring business into something much bigger. She aspired to be a businesswoman!

 

One day in 2016, a change sparked when a customer asked if she accepted payment via UPI. Unfamiliar but intrigued, Geeta decided it was time to learn something new. She found a tutorial video by PIB, produced by the Government of India, and what she discovered was nothing short of a revolution. It opened up a world where she could connect with customers not just in her locality but across the country.

 

 

Today, Geeta doesn’t make those trips to the bank anymore. Instead, she spends that time at her children's school, watching them learn and grow, secure in the knowledge that their future is bright. Payments for her tailored clothes now come instantly on her phone from all over India. She saves for her business and pays for her children’s tuition, all through a digital wallet on her mobile. Geeta has become what she always wished to be—a successful businesswoman, empowered by the digital age.

 

 

 

This transformation was made possible by the India Stack, a pioneering force in building digital public infrastructure, turning a billion dreams like Geeta’s into reality. It has revolutionized everyday transactions in India—from buying vegetables to consuming street food like paani poori, from taking loans to saving money. Within six years, India achieved an 80 percent financial inclusion rate, a feat that would have taken decades without such digital infrastructure.

 

 

 

As we stand here today, celebrating the empowerment of billions in India, we are guided by the words of UNSG Antonio Guterres, “Partnership must continue to be at the heart of our strategy.” Embracing the spirit of our G20 leadership - Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’s-we are honored to have our G20 sherpa, Mr. Kant with us, as we seek to build partnerships that extend this empowerment globally.

 

The IMF has noted in its working paper, "Stacking up the Benefits: Lessons from India’s Digital Journey", that India’s journey offers powerful lessons for other nations embarking on digital transformations, emphasizing a design approach focused on shared building blocks to spur innovation across ecosystems.

 

So today, as we invite you to engage with us, let’s stack up the benefits worldwide and help millions more like Geeta achieve their dreams.

 

Thank you for joining us on this day of constructive engagement. Let’s inspire and be inspired as we work together to build a digitally empowered world.

 

 

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