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India will play lead role in rebuilding economy in post-COVID era: Dr Jitendra Singh

NEW DELHI: Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh on Thursday said India will play a lead role in rebuilding economy in the post-COVID era and the way the country''s scientific community rose to the challenge of the pandemic is a testimony to this.

Addressing the Global R&D Summit-2020, organised by FICCI and Department of Science & Technology, Singh, the Minister of State for Personnel, said the government''s continuous focus on innovation and skilling will go a long way in the holistic development of the country.

Dwelling on the importance of harnessing of space technology for greater common good, the minister said though India was a late starter in the space journey, in the last four-five years, space technology has become part of infrastructure building and promotion and its benefits have reached every household.

He was speaking on the topic of ''Building Resilient Economy''. Singh referred to some of the path-breaking historic reforms in the Department of Space under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying possibly for the first time in the history of Independent India, future projects for planetary exploration, outer space travel etc. will be open for the private sector.

"This, he said, is also a part of the Modi government''s ‘Atma Nirbhar' roadmap towards self-reliant India, which envisages the initiative to boost private sector participation in space activities," a statement issued by the Personnel Ministry said.

Singh said private companies will be provided a level playing field in satellite launches and space-based activities.

The minister said with the creation of Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe), there will be a mechanism in place and the private sector will be allowed to use ISRO''s facilities and other relevant assets to improve their capacities.

Expressing confidence that North East India will take a big leap in the post-COVID era both in the economic and tourism sector, Singh said when main tourist spots of the world still remain infested with the coronavirus, the N-E region could emerge as a tourist destination of the world by remaining "Corona-free virtually", it said.

Similarly, the minister said huge bamboo resources in the NE and its multi-dimensional usage has a great potential to reshape the economy of the region, the statement said.

"In this regard, he referred to the amendment to the 100-year-old Indian Forest Act brought about by the Modi government in 2017, as a result of which, home grown bamboo has been exempted from it in order to enhance livelihood opportunities through bamboo," it said.

C P Gurnani, CEO and MD of Tech Mahindra and Gopal Vittal, CEO of Airtel also addressed the session and endorsed the minister''s idea of collaboration between government and the private sector for making India a leader in space technology and space communications, according to the statement.

On the occasion, Singh also launched the FICCI publication on "Science Meets Industry".

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PTI