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Speech of HS at the General Debate on Parliamentary leadership in promoting peace and development in the age of innovation and technological change during the 139th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, Geneva, Switzerland, 14-18 October 2018.


Speech of HS at the General Debate on Parliamentary leadership in promoting peace and development in the age of innovation and technological change during the 139th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, Geneva, Switzerland, 14-18 October 2018.

Madam President, Distinguished Delegates and Friends:

I am grateful for this opportunity to share my views here on an issue of great interest and relevance in the present times. The entire humanity is in the middle of an innovation led technological and digital revolution which is shaping every aspect of life on earth.

Innovation and technology are important for the advancement of society. Technology offers us easy access to information, improved life style, connectivity, communication, social networking and entertainment. But it may also lead to job loss, increased loneliness, addiction and psychological disorders. Science and technology have crucial roles to play in promoting progress and peace in every aspect be it climate change, public health, food security, disarmament or disaster preparedness.

Technology requires long supply chains to build and cross-border cooperation to develop, thus it breaks all barriers. Today generic drugs and modern agriculture could drastically improve health, efficiency, and wealth, helping to bring people out of poverty and perhaps mitigating some of the causes of conflict. Technology however, is not a panacea. Examples of states and individuals stoking conflict, hatred, fake news through technology abound. And technological growth creates problems as well as solutions. Nuclear power can heat homes or destroy nations.

For development to be sustainable and peaceful welfare of the poor should always be at the center of development. That’s why we believe that social innovation is equally important. Non violence is the greatest social innovation that I know of. Innovations using indigenous methods are economical and sustainable. One such example of Indian innovation is ‘Dona’, a bowl used for serving food which is made of tree leaves. It decomposes when disposed unlike single use plastics. Socially beneficial programmes like Mid Day Meal Programme (providing food to children in schools) has brought transformational changes in the lives of people of our country. India has to its credit the greatest spiritual innovations like Yoga and meditation.

The future world order, peace and security will substantively depend on the expansion of this technological revolution and the way international community deals with it. Digital divide can pose a threat to global peace. Global partnership to financing technology, women friendly tools, pro-poor research, impact of artificial intelligence and loss of jobs are some of the important questions thrown up by the modern technology which the international community must discuss and address.

Ancient Indian wisdom tells us that:

अश्वः शस्त्रं शास्त्रं वीणा वाणी नरश्च नारी च । पुरुषविशेषं प्राप्य भवन्ति योग्यायोग्याश्च ॥

 Meaning {Horse, weapon, science, musical instrument, speech, and man and woman. they all become worthy or unworthy, based on who gets to employ or utilize them.}

 It is in these challenging times that we are talking about Parliamentary Leadership for promotion of peace through technology. Indian Parliament and Government is fully conscious of the developments taking place in the world. Speaker’s Research Initiative has been set up in the Indian Parliament for information dissemination and make available a platform to the Members for an interaction with the domain experts for better understanding of the complex, technical subjects and improved quality of debates. Our Parliament is using technology in its effort to become E-Parliament and reduce carbon foot prints. Parliament has passed path breaking laws to create enabling environment for tapping the potential of science and technology. Digital India, Skill India, Start Up India are some of the ambitious programs to channelize the energy of our youth. Through good governance we must harness innovation and technology to ensure development with peace for entire humanity.

Thank you.

 

 

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