Digital India: Decoding the Myths

Digital India: Decoding the Myths

This month, I had a distinct pleasure to speak at Bareilly, “New India: Opportunities and Challenges”, an event organized by Jagran Group and Future College. I was asked to talk about Digital India and Make In India. Perhaps the 2 initiatives that have governed the development of India over the last 2 years. Key focus of both these initiatives being to make it easy to begin, sustain and grow businesses in India.

While preparing and thinking about how to put it across to a Tier2 audience which may not otherwise be that savvy or care about development at the top level, here is a simplistic picture that I came up with. Digital India is about the following:

  • Connectivity: Connecting it all. Laying the backbone of infrastructure to enable everyone to be connected both from a voice and a data perspective. While this is already a success, there is huge scope for how to put applications together for its usage. There is huge scope in healthcare, education and agriculture.
    • Transactional: The best mechanism to remove corruption is reduce the manual intervention. This is also a reasonable success so far.


  • Financial: With the Aadhaar linkings, mobile wallets and digital currency, we are slowly but surely getting there.

We also had a conversation about the obstacles that will inhibit leveraging these initiatives:

    • India is not one: There is a rural India and there is urban India. There is a secular India and there is a communal India. There is an equal for all India and there is a divided by caste, religion, gender India. We look at initiatives with a broad brush and that becomes a major issue. The initiatives need to be much more local.


    • Meritocracy versus reservation: The answer is a balance, rather delicate.


A commonly asked question is whether Digital India or Make In India are successful?! In reality, the progress of initiatives and its success is usually a matter of perception, based on personal experiences. At a true level, such initiatives take at least 4-5 years for true impact to come across as a broad visible social change. Till then, statistics is the best means a manipulator can get.


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