Digitally-enabled India: 2019 can be the year. What challenges opportunities are ahead?
Research conducted by McKinsey Global Institute in collaboration with the IT ministry a year ago had optimistically projected a trillion-dollar opportunity that beckons if we address all the possibilities of digital enablement. This will mean not just the tech sector contributing $300 billion or more by 2025 but many sectors — health care, manufacturing, agriculture, tourism and education — using the enabling power of the national optical fibre network and an array of digital technologies will transform product design, optimise processes and enable new consumer and citizen journeys. The good news is that India’s pace of digital adoption has been among the best in the world with more than a quarter billion Indians having gone online in the last five years and smart phone penetration — which grew from six per hundred people in 2013 to 23 in 2017 — is expected to continue its breathtaking growth rate in the foreseeable future.
The secret to success in the creation of a digitally enabled India is not to rush in with digital technologies without preparing the processes and culture for assimilation of new ideas and capabilities.
The McKinsey report pointed out that while IT and IT-enabled services, electronics manufacturing, e-commerce, telecom services and e-payments would contribute half of the trillion dollar digital economy, the other half would be made up of new and emerging digital ecosystems — digital product and service creation and delivery, smart grids and digital power distribution, e-marketplaces for private and government services and larger participation of shared economy players not just in transportation and hotel rooms but every segment of the services economy. The challenge of course will lie in preparing the new workforces with the skills and work culture they need to participate with the digital natives to create new economic models and benefit from them. The nation is approaching a state of readiness to take up the digital challenge and convert it into national and global opportunities.