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'State of the World' address: Modi to speak on India-centric issues

IANS | January 17, 2022 05:26 PM

NEW DELHI: It seems that the World Economic Forum (WEF) Davos virtual summit has already set an agenda for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi who is scheduled to deliver his special address on Monday evening at 8.30 p.m.

From Covid-19 putting pressure on the Indian healthcare system to India's struggle with climate change, specially mentioning the Mumbai floods, Covid's impact of Indian school children from the rural areas to new emerging mental health problems among the public, the WEF has already mentioned all in its India-centric reports.

"India recently announced the establishment of a National Hydrogen Mission. India's ambitious five-part Panchamrit pledge to reach net zero by 2070 was one of the most important announcements at Glasgow, " read one recent WEF report on India, just three days before PM Modi's 'State of the World' special address in Davos.

Nearly 40 per cent of the students in underprivileged households in India have not been studying during school closures, according to a new report.

Only 1-in-4 children in India have access to a digital device, and nearly half of the children in rural India have no means to study online.

As a result, India is experiencing a significant drop in literacy levels.

It's feared that this could cause more children to drop out, says 'This is how Covid-19 lockdowns affected India's school children' WEF referring to a report. which explained the impact of lockdown on the underprivileged school children.

On gender inequality, the WEF has already raised serious questions about the Indian government's claims, saying the government and industry are bringing think-tanks, civil society, and community networks to support women merchants in India.

For example, affordable mobile data, public digital infrastructure, and entrepreneurial innovations are all measures which have increased the amount of digital payments, but there are still several barriers which are specific to women and one of the most important challenges to overcome is trust.

Citing an example of grocery stores in India, WEF says the 12 million kirana stores employ 45 million people and account for 95 per cent of the country's Rs 35 trillion market for food and groceries. However, only 2 per cent of the kirana stores have been digitized so far. The rate is much lower for women and rural merchants.

The Davos Agenda 2022 is bringing together world leaders to address the 'state of the world'.

Starting Monday, the week-long virtual event will feature heads of state and government, CEOs and other leaders discussing the critical challenges facing the world today and presenting their ideas on how to address them.

In addition to PM Modi, the world leaders delivering "State of the World" special addresses will include Japan's Prime Minister Kishida Fumio, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, US Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen, and Nigeria's Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo.

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