By Dr. Ajay Data
After a long journey of 75 years after independence, India is now set to again become a “Sone ki Chidiya” – a much-coveted golden bird in the world of technology.
Internet and technology have altered the way Indians live, work and play. From shopping online, giving exams online, fashion, expressing views on social media, watching movies on OTT platforms, and making digital payments, “Digital India” has become part of the daily life of 1.4 billion people.
The platform of Digital India has proved that it can actually turn the billion Indians’ dreams into reality, catapulting India’s success stories into the next set of Unicorns with the support of a conducive policy environment.
The government’s target to create hyper-scale data centers, Bhashni – to break the language barrier, and futuristic digital info-way that will connect education, research institutions, government, and skilling will all enable the steps in building more than 1000 “Soonicorns” – the ‘Soon to be Unicorn’ Club, that will further realize the dream of “Make in India, Made for the World”. The recently concluded 5G auction is also a step in this direction.
As we are celebrating 75 anniversary of India’s independence, as a proud Indian, I will be also celebrating Digital and Secured India.
Digital India is surely a platform of mass impact. Let’s discuss some of the concrete steps that can accelerate the digital transformation of the country in the new normal for Digital India’s mission to contribute to India’s success story and fulfilling the five trillion-dollar economy dream.
Inculcation of scientific temper, where perception doesn’t drive policy, access to data and lower costs of devices especially smartphones, standing cyber armies, high-speed technology, and seamless connectivity through 5G and 6G, adoption of Internationalized Domain Names, local language content, secure and safe cyberspace with clear spaces for redressal, ombudsmen, grievance redressal officers, renewable energy, seamless power supply, green technology and lastly more and more government services to be brought online with more departments talking to each other while giving access to information through public APIs for easy access and distribution of data and decision making are need of the hour.
If we do this right, we would be looking at a truly self-reliant “aatmanirbhar Bharat,” where every citizen would be connected and fully empowered.
I would strongly recommend having a communicable identity for every citizen that could become the primary mode of communication for each citizen for all kinds of services. An identity linked with Aadhar and providing unlimited cloud storage for free to every citizen.
Digital Identity and Service Delivery
As India started its journey toward digitalization, one important feature that set it apart from similar journeys by other nations is the role of the state in the transformation process. India’s road to digital transformation was paved by important government initiatives that led to new digital platforms for the citizens and improved access to such platforms.
Aadhar and UPI probably are the two most important significant achievements, covering the vast Indian population, allowing them access to important government digital services, and making seamless payments. Not only did this improve the availability and transparency of social payments, but it also helped in providing financial assistance to those in need.
The Digital India program has three vision areas: digital infrastructure as a core utility to every citizen, governance and services on demand, and digital empowerment of citizens. We are certain that these ambitions of the program are out of their nascent stage, and despite achieving so much, there is so much more than can be done and being done.
Digital India is an umbrella program that covers multiple ministries and departments and is aimed at consolidating of various smaller initiatives and ideas into a comprehensive vision. Each initiative is implemented as part of a larger goal under the overall coordination done by the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY).
The program was to provide thrust to the nine pillars of growth areas, namely Broadband Highways, Universal Access to Mobile Connectivity, Public Internet Access Program, e-Governance: Reforming Government through Technology, e-Kranti – Electronic Delivery of Services, Information for All, Electronics Manufacturing, IT for Jobs and Early Harvest Programs.
India, having a very modest start, kicked off the JAM trinity – Jan Dhan, Aadhar, and Mobile – to weed out leakages in the system, has today empowered the entire vaccination drive against Covid-19, making her only the second country after the U.S. that administered 2 billion vaccines.
Tech solutions empowered by Digital India have built the infrastructure for years together that today serves as a basis for other emerging interventions in the fields of start-ups, digital education, seamless banking, and payment solutions, agritech, health tech, smart cities, e-governance, and retail management.
In fact, India faced the pandemic as an empowered nation that operated digitally in every arena, throughout the lockdown period to keep the growth clock ticking. It would not have been feasible without the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “Indian Talent + Information Technology = India Tomorrow,” he said stating his aim and vision.
Digital India followed by Digital Village successfully bridged the gap between Bharat and India enabling the country to weave it into a dream for tomorrow where technology can be used and accessed by all. 5G services will soon be a reality in India and it will empower everyone with high-speed internet and access to faster information and services.
The Way Ahead
Research indicates that 50 percent of the 4 million employees in the IT industry need to be reskilled over the next three years. Ever-changing digital disruption will continue transforming every industry and the way businesses are conducted. Government and industry together should aim to reskill or upskilling of around 1.4 million employees over a period of the next five years.
Gamification of skilling and education initiatives will bridge the gap between languages and help lesser educated individuals to also become future savvy, and technology-empowered.
India will not only have huge manufacturing companies but also global software product companies. Products like XgenPlus make innovative enterprise email solutions is not only serving Indian enterprises but also global Russian, Chinese, and Japanese companies.
Digital India will significantly reduce the need for physical space of offices and the need to commute while millions will find opportunities to get new-age jobs sitting at home.
Gamification, 5G, Metaverse, Universal Acceptance (UA), Internalized Domain Names (IDN), Email Address Internalization (EAI), 3D Printing, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Machine Learning, Video Analysis, Wearables, and billions of Internet of Things (IoT) devices will enter into everyday life and will make a difference to aid for better and happier India.
(The writer is an award winner techno-commercial Founder & CEO of multiple technology companies. Currently, He is also the chair of the Administrative Group of the Universal Acceptance Steering Group (USAG). Twitter: @ajaydata)
Disclaimer: The views expressed are not necessarily those of The South Asian Times