Prime Minister Narendra Modi&’s Rs. 4.5-billion digital dream seems to find favour with the corporate world, which calls it a “very progressive step” and “massive tech push”.
Modi shared his dreams at the recent Digital India Week in the capital and the event saw big names from the business world—Reliance Industries Ltd chairman Mukesh Ambani, Tata group chairman Cyrus Mistry, Wipro Ltd chairman Azim Premji, among others—supporting the initiative.
Showing its faith in Modi&’s dream, Reliance Industries is all set to invest over Rs.2.5 lakh crore in the initiative that would focus on cloud computing and mobile applications, empowering every citizen with access to digital services, knowledge and information.
The initiative could boost the IT sector, which according to NASSCOM witnesses a robust growth in 2015, with the calculated revenue for FY 2015 at $147 billion, and a growth of 13 per cent from the corresponding period 2014.
“From an IT perspective, this is a sincere approach to problem solving with growth, realism and long-term transformation at the core,” said Manish Sharma, president, Consumer Electronics and Appliances Manufacturers Association (CEAMA) and managing director, Panasonic India, in an exclusive interview to thestatesman.com.
“Empowering citizens with the use of IT, we believe Digital India is a massive tech push to provide electronic governance and universal phone connectivity across the country,” he added.
CEAMA and Panasonic are willing to contribute to Digital India through technological expertise and commitment.
The Indian information Technology (IT) industry is reportedly pegged at $118-billion and DS Rawat, secretary general, ASSOCHAM, feels the Digital India initiative could be a “game-changer”.
Commenting on PM&’s pledge to bring Internet connectivity to all Indians, Rawat told thestatesman.com: “The initiative is possible, provided the implementation of the schemes is done in a mission mode.”
“The business and industry will be the major beneficiary in terms of quality of governance, which is possible through digital initiative. Besides, the industry itself has to prepare to deal with new emerging business models such as e-commerce,” he added.
Modi, at the Digital India launch, said that “e-governance will be quickly changed into m-governance, and ‘M’ does not mean Modi governance, it means mobile governance.”
Both, big corporate houses and small players hailed the PM&’s remark.
“It is good initiative for the railway sector in terms of passenger amenities, online procurement and technological up gradation,” said Amit Goel of Aggarwal Engineers in an interview to thestatesman.com.
The company is active in the railway sector.
When asked how Digital India initiative would help small companies, Goel said: “It will help us in many ways. By adopting e-governance, small companies can check and bid for the online procurement and will be able to interact with the concerned department through digital technology.”
Anil Valluri of NetApp India said: “Digital India is one of the most significant transformations the country will witness by eventually connecting over a billion people of India, with technology as its focal point.”
When it comes to IT transformation, cyber security emerges as a vital issue.
Sumandro Chattapadhyay, Research Director, The Centre for Internet and Society (CIS), described the issue of digital security as the key to the “operationalisation and sustainability of the Digital India initiative”.
“We expect the government not only to build administrative structures for ensuring cyber-security of the information systems, but also enable legal frameworks for protecting citizens from unlawful and unforeseen abuses of their digital identities as well as their digital assets.”
Having said that, he praised the PM&’s move, saying it will bring together various existing and new initiatives for building “network infrastructures for expanded public access, electronic governance systems for effective delivery of services, under the national policy umbrella of ‘Digital India’”.
Rajiv Kapur, managing director, Broadcom India, pointed out another benefit of the ubiquitous broadband sector, which according to a report, faces certain challenges such as low rural penetration, stagnant data usage over the years and limited broadband services.
“It will help bring parity between the rural and urban India,” he said and added: “Today, we need solutions that allow the majority of rural Indian population to continue to stay at their homes, and not migrate to cities.”
In a knowledge economy, the biggest difference that will make an impact is education.
"Healthcare is another area where having connectivity can make big difference in quality of life," he said.
“E-delivery of governance and services is important for the efficient use of government resources, and allows for collaborative, transparent and more efficient governance," the Broadcom managing director added.