In 1985, perhaps the best year in his term, Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi made a startling statement. Addressing young bureaucrats, he said only about 15 per cent of every rupee, that is 15 paise of every single rupee, spent for the poor actually reached the poor and the rest disappeared in a mysterious swamp somewhere in-between. He said, he reached this conclusion based on historical and existing evaluations and estimates given to him by officials in the field. His assertion became one of the oft-quoted postulations in India's governance debate ever since.
In India, an inability to prove identity is one of the biggest barriers preventing the poor from accessing benefits and subsidies. Public as well as private sector agencies across the country typically require proof of identity before providing individuals with services – be it opening a bank account, getting a phone connection, travelling in a train, applying for school/ college admission, availing subsidised food grains by the underprivileged, applying for a job etc. This approach is especially unfair to India’s poor and underprivileged residents, who usually lack documentation and find it difficult to meet the costs of multiple verification processes.
An essential requirement for envisioning India's future in the coming decade is to recognise that the parameters, which determine national development have changed in recent years and will change further in future. I strongly believe that this would require one to constantly keep changing systems, processes and procedures intact. This will open up greater possibilities than ever before. A powerful set of forces is accelerating the speed of social change throughout the world. These include a rapid rise in the levels of education, high rates of technological innovation and application - ever faster and cheaper communication that dissolves physical and social barriers, both within countries and internationally, an easier access to information and the further opening up of global markets. It is here that IT plays a pivotal role. We have to take Digital India as a business transformation and proactively identify opportunities in advance and invest in it before demand actually arises. Digital transformation is nothing but change management as it impacts all levels of functioning-be it any task, activity or process.
India is witnessing a renewed sense of consumer optimism powered by a buoyant economy. The resulting upward trend in economic activity and the growth in volumes will require innovation in electronic payments to deliver a holistic "commerce engine" that support new entrants and enables smooth financial transactions. The Indian government’s big push towards ‘Digital India’ is heartening, as it will result in increased e-Governance and thereby greater consumer convenience. This momentum towards a more 'Digital India' will lead to a further increase in e-commerce, which has already seen phenomenal growth in the last few years. The e-commerce industry will continue to maintain high adoption rates with the consumer increasingly moving towards mobile-based services. There has also been an increased smartphone adoption in India with an expected rise to over 500 million by 2018. With 900M mobile users spread across the country’s less accessible regions, enabling payment services on these mobile devices will help address the challenge of a very significant acceptance gap. We will increasingly see "digital convergence" where the consumer will pay with multiple devices for online, in-app and Near Field Communication (NFC) experience linked to a common account. The focus on building ‘Smart Cities’ will also lead to the emergence of 'smarter services,' assisting in electronic payment flows across areas such as utilities, transit, municipal fees, tolls and duties.
On 28th January 2014, P Chidambaram had said, Modi's knowledge of economics can be put on back of a postage stamp. This is when I was completing my book ModiNomics. Having interacted intensely with both Modi and Chidambaram and having the highest of regards for both of them, I wrote in the book: '…opinions (of Chidambaram and Modi) may be divergent, but economics is the same…'
On 28th January 2014, P Chidambaram had said, Modi's knowledge of economics can be put on back of a postage stamp. This is when I was completing my book ModiNomics. Having interacted intensely with both Modi and Chidambaram and having the highest of regards for both of them, I wrote in the book: '...opinions (of Chidambaram and Modi) may be divergent, but economics is the same...' ModiNomics for the first time gave insights into the economic thinking of Modi. This was followed by the book Defeating Poverty: Jan Dhan and Beyond and the third book in the ModiNomics trilogy, Modi's Odyssey: Digital India, Developed India.
Professing Indianness has taken media spending to a new high and journalistic ethics to a new low. There are marketing as well as editorial solutions to 'nationality laundering'. A Chinese company of yesterday becomes an Indian company of today by simply advertising so.