By many standards, India is well on its way to becoming a trillion-dollar economy in the next decade. And Digital India’s contribution to this has been significant.
Propelled by the falling cost and rising availability of smartphones, high-speed connectivity, and the many Government policies, India is already home to one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing bases of digital consumers. In fact, the nation is digitizing faster than many other mature and emerging economies.
So what’s in store for Digital India in the coming years?
Digitalization and Rural India
Over 65% of the Indian population resides in rural areas and towns. And yet, digitalization has still managed to leave its mark.
BharatNet, for instance, is an initiative by the Government to empower Gram Panchayats (a formal, democratic grass-root level structure) with internet connectivity by using optical fiber cables. One of the largest rural connectivity projects of its kind, BharatNet, will facilitate the delivery of a plethora of e-services such as e-health, education, and e-commerce.
Similarly, regulatory bodies have rolled out ‘Zero-balance Jan Dhan‘ savings bank accounts to propel a digital payment infrastructure in rural India. This move has led to an increase in the number of bank accounts in the country from 53% in 2014 to 80% in 2018 — a number that is said to increase exponentially over the next few years.
Another initiative by the Government of India is called the MUDRA (Micro Units Development and Refinance Agency) program. This scheme caters to providing rural businesses credit at low rates, in turn, acting as a catalyst for the digital transformation of a medium, small, and micro-enterprises.
It’s all fun and games
The Indian gaming industry has seen significant growth over the last decade, with investments from big players such as Youzu, Alibaba, Nazara, and Tencent. The number of new job opportunities in the industry is a clear indicator of the rapid evolution of this sector — over 40,000 employees by the year 2022.
Unsurprisingly, 55% of casual gamers and 66% of hardcore gamers across India are below 24 years. And today, these users opt for their mobile phones as gaming devices rather than traditional bulky desktops. The primary contributing factor — development and affordability of smartphones.
The road to 5G and transformational technology
While the BharatNet project aims at connecting 250,000 Gram Panchayats in the next few years, the Government of India has also set specific digital goals to be achieved by 2022. One such objective is to provide broadband to the entire nation and create over four million additional jobs in the digital communications sector.
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