By Kashyap Arora
Edited by Madhavi Roy, Senior Editor, The Indian Economist
India and China who are already a hot topic of discussion as potential future superpowers, now have another statistic to boast about i.e. a recent survey by Internet Live Stats has shown the consolidated share of these two economies in terms of world internet users to be greater than the consolidated share of the other top eight regions in this domain. The biggest reason behind these statistics has been the advent of social networking sites and apps, especially with the younger generation showing interest in developing and using new apps to keep themselves socially active and connected to peers across the globe.
This huge influx of internet users has further resulted in a massive increase in the number of online start-up firms especially in India. Figures such as 100 million Facebook users in India alone serve as a motivating push up for majority of these start-up firms. With regard to such figures, one major reason which definitely needs to be highlighted is the demographic dividend (in form of a high proportion of young population) enjoyed by the Indian and the Chinese economy. However, in addition to some of these implicit features, attention should also be paid towards the efforts made by the respective governments of these countries in laying down the foundation for the growth of internet technology in the future. With regard to such efforts I would like to discuss more about the ‘Digital India’ program.
The Digital India program which is a full-fledged plan looking to enhance the current state of technology (especially Information technology) in the Indian economy, aims to achieve targets such as overall digital inclusion (i.e. even at remote villages). To further supplement this, 20- and 40-hour modules on digital literacy in respective regional languages have been created. The Department of Telecommunication also aims to set up a mechanism to provide Wi-Fi services in cities with a population of more than 1 million (along with major tourist centres) and also complete the setting up of a pan-India optic-fibre network by June 2016. Another important initiative on the cards is the provision of ‘digital cloud’ to each Indian. This, in turn would provide each citizen the ability to store all their original documents at one place, which in turn can be accessed by various government departments without the requirement of the hard copies. Impetus for India’s IT drive also comes from its plan to develop 100 smart cities with an allocation of ₹ 7060 crores towards the development of these smart cities.
Thus, even though 100 days may be considered too less a period to judge any government’s efficiency level, but one thing which is for sure is that Mr. Modi is one of the most pro-technology Prime Ministers in Indian history and if such a trend in the IT space continues in the years to come, India will definitely be seen competing aggressively in the technology space with some of its developed counterparts.
An economist from University of Warwick, Kashyap is an avid reader, writer, and tactician with a real zeal for economics and finance. He has also professionally represented and worked for some of the most prestigious organizations such as Standard and Poor, and HDFC. It is his passion which drew him towards “The Indian Economist”, where he aims to study aspects of Indian economic and polity scenario from a different perspective and derive more involvement from his readers, thus, laying down the foundation for a highly aware future generation.