In the first blog post we pointed out the fact that analysts estimate that the impact of Digital India from positive externalities could lead to a increase in GDP by ~9%.
That’s sounds fair and square in the air, you might say but how is it going to happen.
How am I going to benefit from any of this fancy gizmo-do talks of techies and high nosed economists?
The answer is DISRUPTION
No, not the kind of bomb explosion in the city, terrorist attacks kind of disruption. The other one. The one in the minds and spirit of 1.2 billion people. It is more like a fuse connecting in our brains individually, simultaneously, and connecting the dots yeah, exactly like a moment of awakening. A ‘Renaissance Of The East’, they might call it, the historians, referring to productive disruption brought about by technology.
Bring Home the Market, Buddy!
The point being that we are ready for a digital revolution. The man in a village somewhere in the North East trying hard to sell his meagre produce of rice, but finding all communication lines jammed because of the pouring rains should be benefited from a Put option (right to sell) to a government Public Distribution System agent; he is ready for a digital revolution.
There are thousands and millions across our country who may have goods and skills to trade for a fair value of exchange like a craftsman or folk lore singer, but never gets the chance to showcase his skills to a market. He is caged by geographical, cultural or a lingual barriers. So, well, if he can’t go to the marketplace, the marketplace will come to him, in the palm of his hands with a smartphone.
Amongst the nine pillars (refer here) of Digital India, the project Universal Access to Smartphones seeks to do exactly this. It is a complex undertaking in itself, think of the procurement or manufacturing smartphone devices, local language content creation, ensuring beneficiaries’ training for using such devices, the challenges are aplenty. But with increased penetration of mobile, inclusiveness for everything such as health, education, financial, will not seem such a daunting task.
As per 2013 data, India has 1 doctor for every 1700 people (less than WHO prescribed limit). Due to lack of quality infrastructure and specialized doctors, rural population depends on urban hospitals and spends most of their income on healthcare. Healthcare expenditures exacerbate poverty, with about 39 million people falling into poverty every year as a result of such expenditures. The digital transformation of healthcare sector is going to emerge as a solution to some of these barriers.
Telemedicine is able to decrease the costs of expensive doctor visits by enabling remote communication between physicians and patients. E-visits are proven and adopted in the developed world. They will enable affordable primary medical and diagnostic care to a very large population that does not have access to it today. By using cloud technology, doctor can store and access data from anywhere, anytime to provide a real-time solution to patients’ problem. Even the patient can get the required check-up data directly from the medical database through internet connectivity.
Pathway to Financial Inclusion
The physical availability of banks is set to be replaced by digital platform of mobile banking and cashless transactions. The Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) under which 115 million bank accounts had been opened as of January is another important step in this direction. With the growing use of mobile phones in India, services such as micro-credit, money transfers can be availed by rural communities in regional languages, which could in turn empower them financially. Various applications launched by banks such as SBI, HDFC, Axis Bank and even by India Post shows the determination of both the private and public players to shore up their digital prowess for the times to come.
Smarter Way of Education
Education has to be the catalyst for socio economic empowerment of the country’s citizens. The government has allotted Rs. 100 crores for building virtual class rooms and online courses. Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCS) is a smarter way to study with no restriction on class size or geographical proximity. Education has to be skill based and customized for each professional and lingual aspect example for a farmer, a guide to using crop pesticide provided in his native tongue through an audio book.
Internet of Everything
With a discussion on digitalization, I cannot conclude it without a mention of Internet of Things. It’s defined as networked connection of people, process, data and things. It is a term spoken with awe, by people, the ones who understand how it is good and that it can make all accelerate processes efficiently, quickly and intuitively.
The technology of the future with interactive, intelligent devices each connected to the other, sensing, judging and doing things as per the set algorithm will be reality in all but the coming decade. The technology that can be used to either cook a perfectly barbecued chicken or to managing city traffic or self-clean waste water drains; Internet of Things, now named even more graphically as Internet of Everything has opened up unexplored parallels of technology making our lives easier, convenient than ever before.
The World is Ours!
We proclaim the above statement with a touch of pride and triumph. A digitally empowered India opens up a world of possibility for thousands across the nation like me.
A knowledge boom, will lead to a change in the way we seek and process information, communicate and consume. Setting up of a business will be easier than ever before, acquiring new skills will take few clicks besides will power and thirst, forming and teaming with professionals across the world will take but a quench for comradeship.
Much of this we have already been privileged enough to experience, but not for much of rural and semi-urban India.
Things there are finally set for a change, and we at ED are glad to be a part of it.
All That She Wants: Roti, Kapda, Makaan Aur Broadband : Your answers to ‘What’s in it for me’?
We’d love to hear from you of what you think of the Digital India project and also ED’s initiative of decoding it all for you through this campaign.
Graphic credits: Harshita Sharma & Abhinav Jain (feature image and cover banner)
Views presented in the article are those of the author and not of ED.