2021- The Watershed Year for Digital India


Charles Darwin had famously said “it’s not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent one that survives, it is the one that’s most adaptable to change”

And change has been taking place. The first industrial revolution was use of steam which mechanised the production. Second was brought economies of scale of mass production by using electricity, the third one was augmented by advent of electronics, telecommunications and rise of computers. Now the fourth industrial revolution is underway which is being prompted by Internet, that is used by most of us in our daily lives, both at work and at home, by usage of processed which are becoming Digital, applications which are artificial intelligence based and manufacturing which is based on robotics and machine learning.

While for the first three industrial revolutions, India was a late adapter of the changes, we have taken a lead in the 4th one and hence the vision of “Digital India” was conceived a few years back as a program to launch India in future as a knowledge & digitally empowered society.

A few of the key visions of Digital India are-
• Internet Access to people at very high speeds
• financial inclusion by integrating mobile networks & bank accounts which enable digital payments
• access to most of civic body services to citizens on internet.
• now electronics manufacturing is also being focused by indigenisation of manufacturing of mobiles, computer chips, consumer electronics, smart cards and medical electronics.

The union budget of 2021 provides further impetus to India’s digital economy. The country now has almost 70 Crores Internet users which is second largest in world. With the wide acceptance of UPI by both service provider and consumers, India has become world leader in digital payments, in January 2021, Indian made approximately 230 crore transactions through UPI and transacted for a total of 4.31 Lacs Crores. The high number of adapters for internet and Digital Payments through UPI indicate that we are at cusp of further move in government’s push for Digitisation and Digitalisation through Digital India by following measures-

• further emphasis on creating a world class fin-tech hub at GIFT City
• boost to insolvency & bankruptcy procedures now by setting of E courts under NCLT
• to enhance usase of technology in Railways to bring the transportation cost down and make Indian Railways digital.
• land records for many years have been a subject of dispute and digitalisation of land records will bring down such issues.
• allocation of 1500 Crores for promoting digital payments which further advance the acceptance of payments thru UPI.
• increased focused on Hybrid Learning which is a mix of classroom and online learning will prepare students for all kind of future scenarios.
• showcasing its own conviction in adaptation of technology for a critical exercise, the 2021 Census could be a completely digital event.
• Ministries like ministry of corporate affairs will start using AI, ML and data Analytics to enhance scrutiny and compliance management.

While in a country like India, more is always less, All these indicate the government’s determination to harness technology to take India towards a $5 Trillion Economy and 2021 will in most likelihood turn out to be a watershed year for Digital India.

The fourth industrial revolution isn’t about stronger beating the weak but about fast outpacing the slow and India’s Digital push is surely on fast track.