Indian digital eco-system is a beacon for the world: Ravi Shankar Prasad

Ravi Shankar Prasad believes that India's digitalization in the next 5 years could turn it into a $1 trillion economy

Sairaj Iyer

India’s powerful digital ecosystem can be a beacon for the rest of the world, according to Ravi Shanker Prasad, India’s Law Minister, who also holds the portfolio for Communications & Broadcasting. The minister was in Mumbai to speak on the revolutions and innovations achieved in the digital ecosystem at the Gateway House summit.

Prasad found that most ministers and bureaucrats were available on social media and governance and issue-resolution was becoming quicker than usual. “India is indeed at the cusp of a digital revolution, and as an IT minister of India, I am observing a great metamorphosis of India. The digital economy in the coming 5-7 years will become a $1 trillion economy, that includes telecom, IT, and ITeS, electronic manufacturing, digital delivery of services, digital payments, and e-commerce,” he shared.

Modi’s formula of IT + IT = IT found prominence in Ravi Shankar’s address. Modi had made the slogan during the 2014 elections, connecting Indian talent (IT) plus Information technology (IT) equalling India’s Tomorrow (IT).

Speaking of developments Prasad said that there has been considerable development in the previous 2 years in the manufacturing of electronic and digital goods. In the last 2 years, the government has setup 72 (42 mobile and 30 component) manufacturing facilities. India is fast turning into a mobile-manufacturing hub. A slew of programs ranging from Make-in-India, Startup-India, Digital-India, Skill-India are working in unison with the new digital economy. He explained further that these platforms have 3 unique features. They are affordable, innovative, and developmental for the deprived and downtrodden.

On the success of AADHAR, he averred, “Today, 1.11 bn or 11 crore Indians are on AADHAR and we have spent $2 on each citizen. We are doing 30 million authentications per day at zero-cost. This project has got great words of praise from the World Bank.”

Jan Dhan and Aadhar’s success stems from the fact that 270 million bank accounts have been opened, and Aadhar authenticated digital deliveries including subsidies have eased the distribution of nearly 84 schemes totalling 50,000 crore. “More than $8 bn in a space of 1.5 years that could have been pocketed by fictitious people has been saved,” he said.

To explain the growth of digital resurgence in India the minister shared that e-Taal, the digital movement tracker recorded 6.6 million transactions per day in 2013. The number has escalated to 18.5 million per day in 2015, and 30 million per day in 2016.  By 2018, the number is expected to rise to 50 million per day.

With all the developments, the minister highlighted that Internet Governance is the key to digital order. “If the Internet is one of the finest creations, it should not become the monopoly of a few. It should have linkages with the locals. Local views must blend with international views, that should be the real relevance. States also have a key role to play in Cyber Security,” he conceded.

Sairaj Iyer - Feb 22, 2017 12:00 IST