NEW DELHI: India’s growth in the years ahead will be dependent on the rate at which we transform digitally, said Aruna Sundararajan, Additional Secretary & Administrator (USOF) and Chairman & Managing Director, Bharat Broadband Network Limited. She stressed that digital transformation is not a luxury but a dire necessity and the onus is not only on the government but on every section of the society to bring in the transformation.
She highlighted that the industry has a key role to play and we can’t be solely dependent on the government as the nature of the technology is disruptive and high level innovation is required in the path ahead. She was speaking at the session on “Accelerating the Digital Transition” at the Global Exhibition on Services organized by the Ministry of Commerce & Industry in association with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Services Export Promotion Council (SEPC).
Hosting the panel discussion, Kiran Karnik, Chairman, CII National Mission on Digital India, stated that to achieve a goal, it is good to have a single point focus from which other things flow. He highlighted that the goal for accelerating digital transition is for India to be ranked 75th or better in the UN eGovernance Development Index (EGDI) by 2018, up from 118th rank in 2014. He stated that the eGDI comprises of 3 components, namely digital services, telecommunications infrastructure and human capital and four tracks have been identified that will help drive digitization at a fast pace.
He invited Bhaskar Pramanik, Chairman, CII National Committee on IT & ITes & Chairman, Microsoft India Pvt. Ltd. to speak about track one, which focused on “Enabling digital services through online verifiable ID”. Pramanik reflected that everyone has multiple ID’s in the form of passport, driving license, PAN card but India is ahead of many other nations as we have a national asset in the form of an Aadhar card. The objective is to build and enhance an Aadhar based platform to transform service delivery, reduce leakages, increase efficiency and enable better decision making.
Prashant Shukla, National Technology Officer, Microsoft India, spoke about the second track “Enable last mile access to connectivity & IT infrastructure”. He shared 3 ideas that would help in achieving the last mile connectivity: different business and deployment models for Rural, Semi-urban and Urban regions, alternate technologies, like TV whitespaces, Satellite etc, to complement current solutions for rural India and lastly, addressing roadblocks for service providers and end consumers.
Speaking on the third track “Enhance digital literacy of the population”,Anurag Malik, Partner – Advisory Services, Ernst &Young LLP, stressed that digital literacy is for all citizens and not certain sections of the population. He noted that there is a need to create a common definition of digital literacy, identify metrics and set clear targets and specific milestones in order to develop a digital workforce.
Kiran Karnik, talked about the fourth and the final track on “Tackle structural issues and develop Business Models for Digital India”. He stated that there is a need to change systems, create an overall framework which is based on performance indicators, service level agreements and expected outcomes. Also there is a need to bring in transparency, vendor neutrality, inclusiveness and innovation in the models.
Speaking about the progress on the Digital India Initiative, Ms Sundararajan highlighted that in the last six months, 60,000 kms of optic fibers has already been laid and a big infra and National Knowledge Network roll out is in the pipeline, expected by the end of this year or early next year.
(Report first appeared with CII Portal)