Author – Amitesh Tyagi,
Alumni IIM Ahmedabad and Co-Founder IndiaLetsPlay
Tectonic Shifts as India embraces tomorrow today
Not so long ago in the history of India was it labeled as a country of snake charmers and elephants. Till as late as early 90’s most in the world assumed that India was as epical in reality as what they saw in artificial ‘scriptures’ and ‘monument’ mimics, that their friends or family members brought back after their visits here. Then started the IT revolution and world started acknowledging the reality of India beyond the snake charmers and elephants. India had arrived by the 2004-2005 when first few billion dollars IT companies emerged right from scratch and brought export dollars of IT services, so much so that it became 7% of the overall GDP. Today, India is the single largest software exporter in the world and is only going strong.
Recently, a leading e-commerce major of India announced that it is moving away from its website and going mobile only. If this strategy is right, it is believable that another similar revolution in underway in India as the world is bracing its next tectonic shift in consumer behaviour– away from traditional modes of communication, led by companies like Apple and Samsung, powered by an aspiring youth of the nation and enthusiastically supported by the Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi. This shift is christened as ‘Digital India’.
The chart below suggests the changing pattern in consumer usage of internet (disrupting the world with technology driven information gathering and transacting power).
Naysayers may slam ‘Digital India’ as another trick from the hat or a ‘jumla’, Digital India is here to stay and I am more convinced after reading more and more about it, and observing how the world around us is evolving. Below are some of the key reasons mentioned by the government for the purpose behind ‘Digital India’:
- India had misfortune of missing the industrial revolution due to its colonial past. Consequently, India could never savour the benefits and pride of having a strong industrial base. With few pockets of success, India has largely relied on technology and quality transfers from the more industrialized world. India could never build or drive the bus of Industrial Revolution and is merely reduced to a passenger in it.
- On the manufacturing side, the world has found China a more potent and favorable destination, attributed largely to the local support that they enjoy from the Chinese Government. India, on the other hand, has a lot of catching up to do to reach there. With ‘Make in India’ some of the distance may be covered but it is still a very long road ahead.
- India is a young and vibrant country with average mobility in line or more than the average population of the world. There is a very high aspiration value around the ‘smartphones’ and ‘digital media’ among the youth of the nation and semi-urban/rural youth are bypassing a lot of steps that the urban population has gone through to reach, in digitization, where they have reached today.
- We have a very strong IT services story and a natural tendency towards tech adoption in the youth of the country; ‘Digital India’ is an ambitious initiative by the PM Modi. Old saying of ‘Engineer or Doctor’, finally seems to be yielding some edge in the country today.
- Politically, it seems the best viable option that can be delivered fast and can make a deep resounding impact with the last man standing in ‘Bharat’ with the power of technology.
- PM Modi envisions reversing the ‘social pyramid’ with ‘Digital India’ thus creating new opportunities, new horizons, new markets and making a significant societal impact. It could prove to be a masterstroke politically or an utter disaster depending upon how efficiently it gets implemented.
With over Rs. 4.5 Lakh Crore ($75 Billion) committed most by of the large Indian conglomerates, PM Modi seems to have won Round One in garnering industry attention and support for a large impact initiative that promises to create a few lakhs of new jobs in direct employment and many more in indirect employment. Digital India appears to be the first great impact initiative that PM Modi has taken to re-build India and perhaps to stamp his preparation for his next tenure as PM.
But there could be a bumpy road ahead as well after all the launch hoopla. Not long ago an equally ambitious project was launched by the previous regime going by the name of UIDAI. Just as Indian geographical terrain, Indian tech terrain provides an equal set of complexities and challenges to deal with, as was seen in UIDAI project – popularly known as ‘Aadhaar project’.
It’s important to note here that the Aadhar project has neither been halted nor slowed down by the new government. PM Modi seems to be preparing for a deeper penetration with Digital India in high impact areas such as Education, Healthcare, Financial inclusion and Agricultural Tech. In this and the subsequent articles here, we shall unravel whether the country of snake charmers and elephants is truly moving to this new path through the power of ‘Digitization’ or going to continue as a land of lost opportunities?
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of The Indian Iris and The Indian Iris does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.