The two-day International Conference commenced with an Inaugural Ceremony attended by
Amitabh Kant, the CEO of NITI Aayog,
Maj Gen Alok Deb, SM, VSM (Retd.), Deputy Director General, IDSA, and
Syed Munir Khasru, Chairman, IPAG
Maj Gen. Alok Deb (Retd.), Deputy Director General, IDSA, delivered the Welcome Address and set the context for the two-day International Conference. He highlighted that the variety of tools that the cyberspace provides for influencing minds are growing by the day; as a consequence of which, the whole population is being swayed by the radical ideas. Hence, he asserted, this is the time we need to discuss these issues in great detail and depth.
Syed Munir Khasru, Chairman, elaborated on how technological advancements and digitalization have affected almost every aspect of our lives. He emphasized that while technology has brought immense opportunities and empowerment among people, it also has created significant risks. It has been calculated that by 2021, the cost of cyber related crime will cross almost 6 trillion and by the same year, the amount needed to tackle would be almost 1 trillion. Therefore, he mentioned that we collectively need to start thinking about it ahead of time.
Amitabh Kant, in his Keynote Address in the Inaugural Session offered key insights into Government of India’s major programmes and schemes built on digitization and the need to build on the new opportunities while simultaneously addressing the risks of technology. He emphasized that digitization brings efficiency and is a huge driver for formalisation of economy, with particular reference to the Goods and Services Tax (GST). He further highlighted how Industry 4.0 has captured the imagination of India’s industry and entrepreneurs, benefitting the earlier isolated populations by connecting them with the mainstream populations. He also cautioned against the pervasive nature of such technology which can be exploited by miscreants and criminals to their own advantage.
Dr. Gulshan Rai, in his Keynote Address discussed the unique features of the cyber industry distinguishing it from other traditional industries and the opportunities and costs that it entails. He shared the trends in misuse of ICT where 1%, which has gained prominence in the last 1.5 years only is the weaponization of ICT like WannaCry, Petya among others. He cautioned that the 1% component of sophisticated crimes is likely to increase in the coming years as the share of traditional crimes (90%) goes down. He suggested that the policy framework should help strengthen the concept of single cyberspace, and help create a better nation with social prosperity, more wealth and better education.