There is a significant role of ICTs in increasing the effectiveness of BRICS countries’ response to the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and assisting in recovery of economies, business continuity and minimizing the social and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, says Minister of State for Communications of India, Devusinh Chauhan at the 7th Meeting of BRICS Communications Ministers.
The Ministers discussed the need to work together to develop multi-pronged approaches and reference models for affordable access to communications services and digital technologies for benefitting people, achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
India as the current BRICS Chair convened the 7th Meeting of BRICS Communications Ministers on 22nd October, 2021. Fábio Salustino Mesquita De Faria, Minister of Communications, Brazil; Bella Cherkesova, Deputy Minister of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media of Russia, Xiao Yaqing, Minister of Industry and Information Technologies of China, and Khumbudzo Phophi Silence Ntshavheni, Minister of Communications & Digital Technologies of South Africa led their respective delegations.
Devusinh Chauhan stated that the Prime Minister is committed to bridge the digital divide in India. To achieve the same, the Government of India has recently launched historical telecom reforms which will unleash the true potential of the telecom industry besides providing much needed support to the telecom service providers.
He also stated that the Prime Minister of India has launched a flagship scheme of extending optical fibers to all six lakh villages of India which will bridge the digital divide between urban, and rural areas.
Ministers expressed concerns on the risks and ethical dilemma related to Artificial Intelligence (AI) and encouraged members to work together to deal with such concerns and risks of Artificial Intelligence and its ethical and responsible uses.
Ministers adopted the Terms of References of Digital BRICS Task Force and supported the advancement in work of the BRICS Partnership on New Industrial Revolution (PartNIR) across several Working Groups meeting in 2021.
Ministers encouraged continuous cooperation in ICTs activities in international organizations and multilateral forums such as the International Telecommunications Union and other organizations.
Devusinhn adopted the proposal to host the Digital BRICS Forum annually to facilitate sharing of information and knowledge, practices, initiatives etc. on agreed cooperation areas.