"The speed at which India was progressing in the ICT field was badly hurt by this incident. It is a challenge to recover from this," Modi said at an ICT Business Awards ceremony organized by Cyber Media in Delhi.

"The industry which showed progress in the highest speed got the biggest jolt because of this incident," he said.

On the development of science and technology in India, the Gujarat Chief Minister said, "We need to innovate according to the needs of the country, then only we can go hand in hand with the world."

He said during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, a lot of initiatives were taken in the ICT field, including the formation of an IT ministry.

"Unfortunately in the last one decade, specifically because of the 2G scam, it got a jolt," he said.

The ICT industry can change the perception of India from a "snake charmer" country to that of a progressive one, Modi said.

Talking about the economy of the country, Modi said Finance Minister P Chidambaram put a curb on the gold import to arrest the current account deficit of the country but that is only leading to increased gold smuggling into the nation.

He emphasized on the need to develop more IT hardware in the country and that will help bring back the good brains of the country who have gone elsewhere to work.

Modi said it is very important to have proper rural telephony. "I have heard that Rs.28,000 crore is lying idle in government coffers. If that was utilized in rural teledensity, we would have progressed."

He said ICT network is going to uplift the country in global arena.

Modi said "information highway" is the only way to achieve the goal of - "one mission, one vision and one nation".

Earlier in the evening, he met 35-40 ICT honchos in a closed door meeting, where he asked them about the industry's expectations from the government. According to industry sources, Modi asked them for suggestions to develop the ICT industry.

(Agencies)

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