Digital Revolution in India

India’s march towards a digital economy is in full swing. In the wake of Demonetization, NITI Ayog CEO Amitabh Kant was quoted saying that by the year 2020, ATMs, PoS, credit/debit cards will become redundant. It is very much possible that by the year 2020, a majority of our population will be well versed with mobile banking and ATMs and credit/debit cards will not be required at all. There will be High speed WiFi in every public institution. Learning, health care, banking will take a huge leap forward and will become e-learning, e-health care and e-banking respectively. This ideal image is far and yet quite near.

Digital India campaign launched by the Modi government is a huge step forward in this respect. The umbrella project plans to bring a lot many schemes under it with a common goal of making a smarter digital India. As the government move from e-governance to m-governance(mobile), it is also promoting mobile banking. Recently PM launched BHIM (Bharat Interface for Money) app that uses a Unified payment Interface. This platform will make banking and transactions feasible for the layman. A lot of companies like Paytm and PhonePe are riding on the “cashless” wave generated by demonetization and are fuelling a cashless economy dream.

Under the Digital India campaign, the government plans to provide WiFi access to all public institutions. Government plans to set up NOFN (National Optical Fibre Network) to provide high speed internet in rural areas of the country. The Campaign aims to produce more jobs in the IT sector by training individuals and promoting IT startups. Not only will this improve the unemployment scenario, it will also reduce India’s trade deficits. The plan is to reduce net Imports to zero by 2019.

Companies like Reliance Infocomm have played a major role by setting up intensive fibre networks across India and facilitated the goal of a Digital India. Companies like Facebook and Microsoft have also invested funds to improve rural digital connectivity in India.

Digital Revolution has shown its impact on every sector of Indian economy. Our education institutions are gradually moving towards e-learning models. MOOC platforms like edX , Khan Academy and Udacity have a huge number of Indian students. Health care institutions are more automated and organized. Government has launched its own website MyGov.in to facilitate people participation in the governance. Digitalization will undoubtedly lead to a more transparent democratic and advanced India.

A major challenge that lies in front of Indian Government is to educate people, disseminate information and ensure high level of digital safety. A large proportion of Indian population resides in villages and/or is illiterate and that will be a big challenge to overcome. Information disseminating booths, easy payment interfaces, and universal mobile connectivity will be needed to realize the dream of digital India. The future is indeed bright and it is time for India to take the road not taken.

Are we are imprisoning ourselves in the ‘cell’ of our cell phones?

Take a walk around your city and everywhere you will run into people bent over their cell phones. Sometimes neck tilted holding the cell phone in the grip of ear and shoulder; sometimes necks bent 90 degree, eyes dug deep into the smart phone screen. In the past decade this phenomenon has given rise to plenty of debate, questioning whether it is healthy or not to imprison ourselves in this ‘cell’ phone and how it has ended our social lives. This debate often overlooks another fact. Human species has lived this way for years now. First we bent our necks over newspapers, then books, and now cell phones. It is not an argument for technology, it is rather an argument for human behaviour and needs.

These cell phones, rather than acting as a prison with sealed walls, are gateways to a whole new world. They foster relationships even at a distance, encourage people to voice their opinion and the experience can be highly customized to a person’s qualities and desires. An introvert can finally find a platform for his voice on twitter, a shy young man too can hope to find love on tinder, a small business man can sell his products on Alibaba in various countries without worrying about language barriers, and a house wife can find a platform to learn English or earn money by free lancing. This cell is anything but a ‘cell’.

Cell phones are often blames for reducing social real life interactions but in reality, they have done something exactly opposite. Rise in technology has been accompanied by increasing number of malls, food outlets, gaming zones, public gathering places etc. Telecom revolution changed how people lived their lives. Every loved one was suddenly a phone call away. Even in present day, cell phones  deepen human bonds even when people move far away. Bringing people across geographic and ethnic borders closer is no less than a miracle.

Cell phones have also made life much easier by bringing together every aspect of life from banks to education to healthcare to paying bills. With improvement in technology, they will be able to do things better and faster and even more functions could become a regular thing for cell phones.

Rather than being prison cells of human mind, cell phones are portals of freedom in so many ways. Cell phones have and will play an important role in the years to come by fostering social interactions and making the world a more connected place to live in.

De-Globalization

Bygone year 2016 saw a wave of rising populism and nationalism across the west. In the reluctance of European countries to provide asylum to immigrants to Donald Trump promising USA a closed and secure future, an interesting pattern emerged which underscored the outlook of developed countries towards globalization.

Britain voted in favour of a “Brexit”. People choose to leave Britain as they did not want Immigrants coming and “stealing” their jobs. This lead to Exit talks in several other European countries such as Italy and France. People felt that their jobs had been stolen by foreigners and their taxes spent as welfare checks on these asylum seekers. Suddenly they felt the need to reclaim their resources and jobs and this lead to a rise in nationalist sentiment across the countries. A similar sentiment was on rise in USA. The world might blame Donald Trump and his policies but that is exactly what USA citizens wanted. 19/20 candidates in the presidential elections USA 2016 had Protectionist policies in their agenda. This is a reflection of what US citizens desire. They do not worry about Globalization or free trade, they worry about their next generations and the competition they might face in the years to come if immigration continues.

Britain PM Theresa May declared that Britain would not remain a part of the free trade bloc in EU and will heavily restrict the number of Immigrants. A lot of countries such as Italy have started sending Immigrants back. Donald Trump has taken the president office and opted out of the TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership) deal and is planning to impose heavy Border Adjustment Taxes to restrict Imports and boost exports.

While the developed world looks to close its borders, the developing nations are trying to open up as globalization provides them the opportunity to explore and grow. It has brought enormous advantages to emerging markets in recent years. De-globalization might become a reality in future but it will remain restricted to a few nations. As west closes its borders, other nations will emerge and become major market players. China and India will rise as new favourable trade zones and the world would shift its attention to east.

In spite of all these changes, de-globalization will remain restricted to the area of trade and Immigration. The world has time and again come together when faced with bigger issues. Take for example the continent of Antarctica. When the land was discovered, countries argued over land pieces and water resources. But when the damage done to the environment was exposed, all the nations came together to fix it. Issues like hole in ozone layer, declining number of whales, seals and penguins, were taken as important international problems and lead to Montreal Protocol as a solution. In the face of war, climate change, terrorism and other important concerns, the world would remain globalized because we have a collective responsibility towards this planet and these things affect all nations equally.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑