Why is Digital Transformation Important to India?
India is the world’s second most populous country, with a relatively young population, and an economy which is growing faster than most nations. At this time, as it seeks to catch up with the developed world on all parameters including quality of living indices, it also seeks to redress what is called as the two-third: one-third problem, which is that two thirds of India’s population resides in rural areas while they have access to only a third of the country’s resources. The Government of India and its citizens recognize that the only way this situation can be alleviated rapidly is with smart digital interventions.
The Government has allocated approximately 53,000 crores1 to health and family welfare in the Union Budget 2018-19. This is a 11.5 percent rise over the INR 48,000 crore allocated in the previous fiscal. But the gap to be bridged is huge, considering India has only about 26,000 public health centres2 for 600,000+ villages and a shortage of 500,000 doctors3 (going by WHO indices), which puts the country behind Vietnam, Algeria and Pakistan. This was highlighted by a parliamentary committee which presented its findings on 8th March 2016.
Education is now a fundamental right in India. Recent studies indicate that the deterrents are lack of infrastructure, connectivity and a huge shortage of government teachers, estimated at a million4. To reap the 'demographic dividend’ that is often mentioned, India also has to pay attention to the fact that only 2% of its workforce can be considered skilled5 in a world being invaded by automation, analytics, machine learning and AI.
Connectivity is critical in this scenario. Because it’s not only about ‘sadak, paani aur bijli’ (roads, water and electricity) but equally about internet connectivity that gives access to educational content, telephony, services, entertainment and enables two-way communication with local, municipal, state and central governments. Of the 250,0006 gram panchayats (rural administrative bodies), only about 40%7 have broadband connectivity at this time.
Government of India's Digital India Program
The Digital India initiative8 – the flagship program of Government of India, aims to transform India into a digitally empowered society and a knowledge economy. Its three main goals are- to provide digital infrastructure as a core utility to every citizen, to deliver citizen services and entitlements on demand, and to ensure universal digital empowerment as well as literacy throughout India. Digital India aims to provide much needed thrust to the nine growth pillars, namely broadband highways, universal access to mobile connectivity, public internet access, e-Governance, e-Kranti (electronic delivery of services), information for all, electronics manufacturing, IT for jobs, and early harvest programs.9 Each of these areas is a complex program in itself and cuts across multiple ministries and departments.
Gartner’s view on the impact of the Digital India Program and on Government IT spending
According to Gartner, "the Digital India program will call for technology investments in the backbone infrastructure, advanced data analytics, digital security, digital payment and e-commerce infrastructures, digitally-enabled G2G, G2B and G2C services, and a score of other related services. This will be the key driver for IT spending growth in the Indian Government sector over the next five years."10
IT spending in the Indian Government sector is projected to reach $8.5 billion in 2018, an increase of 8.9 percent from 2017 estimated spending of $7.8 billion according to the latest forecast by Gartner Inc.9
Several initiatives by the government, such as the Make in India, Startup India, Skill India, and the corresponding policy frameworks to support these initiatives, such as the new electronics policy, software product policy, data security and protection policy, will have a positive effect on government IT spending in the near future. However, the chief among all these initiatives is the Digital India program.
Country Digital Acceleration (CDA) in India
Impact of digital empowerment
Cisco’s Commitment: In 2016, after meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Cisco’s Executive Chairman said that “India is well positioned to lead in digitization” adding that the company would collaborate closely with central and state governments on strategic initiatives.
Cisco believes that digitization is implicit in the transformation of India and has since invested substantially to advocate this. CDA invests in PoCs (proof of concept) that are aligned with the national agenda and include several projects under Digital India, Skill India, Startup India as well as Cybersecurity and Digital Banking.
CDA in India started two years ago. India is among the largest and most complex countries in the CDA portfolio. CDA in India consists of 55+ projects.
- The government has allocated approximately 53,000 crores to health and family welfare in the Union Budget 2018-19
- India has only about 26,000 Public Health Centres for 600,000+ villages
- India short of 500,000 Doctors, the Doctor-Patient ratio of 1:1,700 is worse than Vietnam.
- India’s Unfolding Education Crisis: Government Schools Short Of 1 Million Teachers
- Economic Survey: India's skilled workforce at a dismal 2%, lower than developing nations.
- Of the 250,000 gram panchayats (rural administrative bodies)
Only about 40% have broadband connectivity at this time
- Government of India’s Digital India Program - Introduction
- Government of India’s Digital India Program
- IT spending in the Indian Government sector is projected to reach $8.5 billion in 2018