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Remarkable digital transformation of India

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By Mohammad Hanief

Widespread digital transformation in India is leading the country into an era of digital governance. The economic liberalization of 1991, industry-related reforms, and increasing interest of foreign multinationals in the Indian market spiraled into the growth of the Indian IT industry and digital infrastructure in the country. The developments in the 1990s culminated in the introduction of the Information Technology Act, of 2000, India’s first IT-related regulation. This was followed by the national e-governance plan in 2006.

The most recent digital reforms were introduced in 2015 under the Digital India Initiative. It aims to connect the population of more than a billion with governmental organizations, narrowing the divide between digital haves and have-nots. This multi-faceted program aims to transform the nation’s consistently growing digital infrastructure into a public utility paving way for digital governance. Digital India’s faceless, paperless, and cashless economy is slowly translating into easier access to various government services and platforms.

In recent years, India has witnessed a remarkable transformation in its digital landscape. Government services have gradually been integrated into digital platforms, allowing for quick and efficient delivery at the grassroots level. Today, citizens can access these services with a simple click, receiving the assistance they need within seconds. As part of the government of India’s vision to digitize the financial sector and economy, there has been consistent growth in digital payment transactions. Additionally, significant efforts have been made to prioritize financial inclusion as a crucial national goal, ensuring that every individual has access to financial services.

India has witnessed a significant transformation in its digital payment landscape. The government’s initiatives have been well-received by the people, who have shown a remarkable willingness to embrace emerging technologies. 

With relentless efforts, the government of India is dedicated to establishing the country as a global leader in the realm of digital payment systems. The aim is to position India as one of the most efficient and advanced payment markets worldwide and ensure widespread and affordable internet and digital accessibility for all its citizens, including those currently lacking access or underserved.  

By achieving this goal, India seeks to foster new digital ecosystems capable of addressing various economic and social challenges across different sectors. This endeavour holds the potential to establish a thriving digital economy, generating economic value of up to $ 1 Tn by 2025, and positioning India as a global hub for digital innovation and production. 

Digital India has set a significant goal of attaining a status characterized by “Presence-less, Paperless, Cashless, backed with Consent” transactions. The government of India has placed utmost importance on promoting digital payments, aiming to include every segment of the country’s population within the formal framework of digital payment services. The ultimate vision is to ensure that all Indian citizens can access seamless digital payment facilities conveniently, affordably, quickly, and securely.

Digital payments offer a faster and more convenient alternative to traditional methods. By using digital mediums, individuals can avoid the inconvenience of long queues at banks or ATMs to withdraw cash. It also reduces the need to carry physical currency, minimizing the risks associated with handling cash. With just a smartphone and a stable internet connection, transactions can be completed with a single click, making it a convenient option for users.

Moreover, digital transactions help in controlling the circulation of black money by allowing the government to track and monitor all financial activities. This enables the elimination of counterfeit notes and facilitates better regulation of income taxes. Digital payments have emerged as a significant advantage during the pandemic. They enable contactless and safe transactions, eliminating the need for physical contact during monetary exchanges.  

Over the past few years, India has witnessed an unprecedented surge in digital payment transactions. User-friendly and convenient digital payment methods such as Bharat Interface for Money-Unified Payments Interface (BHIM-UPI), Immediate Payment Service (IMPS), pre-paid payment instruments (PPIs), NACH, AePS and National Electronic Toll Collection (NETC) have experienced substantial growth, revolutionizing the digital payment landscape by facilitating both Person-to-Person (P2P) and Person-to-Merchant (P2M) payments. 

More than one billion Aadhaar users and millions of internet users amplified the use and storage of personal data by the government and tech giants which exposed the inadequacy of current regulations in preventing privacy breaches. To counter such issues, the government recently unveiled the draft of the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, 2022 which is likely to safeguard personal data, with penalties for data breaches, however, non-personal data is kept out of its ambit.

Despite leaps in e-governance and structural reforms, the major challenge faced is the disparity in the penetration rate of internet services in rural and urban areas. Increasing internet penetration rates and teledensity also do not automatically translate to digital literacy which entails comprehending and critically utilizing digital platforms. It is likely that in the future digital inclusion is intertwined with socio-economic progress. And the biggest challenge will be to ensure that marginalized groups are not left behind in this digital progress.

With more than half a billion internet subscribers, India is one of the largest and fastest-growing markets for digital consumers, but adoption is uneven among businesses. As digital capabilities improve and connectivity becomes omnipresent, technology is poised to quickly and radically change nearly every sector of economy. That is likely to both create significant economic value and change the nature of work for tens of millions of Indians.

Digital education in India is evolving at faster rate over the years.  It helps the students  to learn  complex concepts  and theory in easier way through visual effects and graphics, the 3-D models etc. For example drawing and explaining Electromagnetic waves on chalk board is difficult. Through use of digital media it’s  easy  to  explain  the  things  .We  can  see  that  the  traditional chalk and talk  method in school  and colleges has been  slowly changing with more interactive teaching methods as schools and colleges  are  increasingly  adopting  digital  solutions.  Digital learning involves more participation from students as the current generation of students is well-versed with laptops, I-pads, and smartphones. We can find many government and private players in  the field  of digital  education  like  e-  Pathshala by  NCERT, DIKSHA by MHRD and private educational platforms like Tata Class Edge, BYJU’S etc.

Owing to the steady economic growth and globalisation, education in India is no longer just a teacher talking to a bunch of students in a classroom. With more than 370 million internet users and hundreds of local as well as global business tycoons willing to invest in the future of education, online education in India has picked up pace. In fact, the e-learning market in the country is estimated to be worth more than $3 billion. India is now the third largest online market for education in the world. 

(The author can be mailed at [email protected])

Twitter/X: @haniefmha

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