India has several stories to tell about its success on social, economic and health fronts, but it is a story about the country’s digital transformation and its success in creating a citizen-centric digital economy which is creating a buzz in the world

Firm leadership and desire to empower common people through technology, has what made India a unique country in terms of digital growth. Today, internet connections have jumped from 251.5 million in March 2014 to 836.9 million in June 2022, registering a growth of 232 per cent, while broadband connections have jumped from 61 million in March 2014 to 816.2 million in September 2022, the Ministry of Communications said in its report in December.

The Internet and Mobile Association of India in its June 2022 report said around 346 million Indians are engaged in online transactions, including e-commerce and digital payments. This apart, India ranks 3rd in the world in Start-Up ecosystem with 107 Unicorns and more than 80,000 recognised startups.

Digital penetration

Low data price and rise in smartphone growth have contributed to significant increase in broadband growth in India. In the last eight years, broadband connections have risen from 61 million in March 2014 to 816.2 million in September 2022. Today, the number of smartphone users in India has increased to 600 million. This has led to propelling data consumption in India. Average monthly data consumption per wireless data subscriber increased by 266 times to 16.40 GB in June, 2022 from 61.66 MB in March 2014.

Digital quotient for business

Foundation of strong digital India was laid when the world’s largest digital identification programme—Aadhar was launched. More than 1 billion people are today enrolled under the Aadhar system which has evolved into a very important digital identity infrastructure. As a unique digital ID, Aadhar provides a powerful platform for authenticating a resident anytime and anywhere.

It has enabled India to become a leading country in the world in digital payments. More than 88400 million digital payment transactions were performed during 2021-22, while nearly 33000 million till July 24, 2022. Launch of Unified Payment Interface (UPI) has led to further revolutionising digital payments, and in firmly placing India on the track toward a cashless economy.

In the month of August 2022 alone, as per the Ministry of Finance, 346 banks were live on the UPI interface. A total of 6.58 billion financial transactions were carried out through UPI last year in August. UPI currently constitutes well over 40 per cent of all digital transactions taking place in India.

UPI has given a boost to small businesses and street vendors as it enables fast and secure bank-to-bank transactions even for considerably small amounts. It also facilitates quick money transfers for migrant workers. The technology is convenient to use as it requires minimum physical intervention, making it possible to transfer money simply by scanning a QR code.

Overall, digitization has added to the growth of the country’s digital economy. According to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), India’s digital economy grew 2.4 times faster than the Indian economy, with strong forward linkages to non-digital sectors. As per the country’s central bank, 62.4 million workers are employed in the digitally dependent economy.

Digital growth and social benefits

Jan Dhan scheme, which emphasizes financial inclusion of the poor and those living at the margin of the society, has empowered more people because of India’s digital growth. As per the Ministry of Finance, the number of Jan Dhan account holders has grown threefold from 147.2 million in March 2015 to 462.5 million as on August 10, 2022. Of these Jan Dhan account holders, about 54 million received direct benefit transfer from the government under various schemes in June, 2022.

Key digital initiatives

India BPO Promotion Scheme (IBPS) and the North East BPO Promotion Scheme (NEBPS) are key initiatives which aim at creating employment opportunities and dispersal of the Information Technology and Information Technology Enabled Services (ITES) industry in small cities and towns by incentivising the setting up of Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) and ITES operations by providing financial support of up to ₹ 1 lakh per seat in the form of viability gap funding towards capital and operational expenditures.

Under IBPS and NEBPS, 246 BPO/ITES units have started operations covering 27 States/UTs and are providing direct employment to over 51,584 persons.

Amidst this, credit for India’s successful vaccination drive goes to CoWIN, a Covid tracking and tracing app which has proved to be a safe, secure, and trustworthy digital platform. It has helped people in establishing when, where and by whom they have been vaccinated. It has also proved to be highly effective in tracking the usage of vaccination and minimizing wastage.

Under Digital Village initiative at least one village per district per state and UT has been covered under the initiative through which digital services being offered are: digital health services, education service, financial services, skill development, solar powered street lights, business to citizen services and government to citizen services.

Conclusion

Affordability of connectivity, sheer size of IT professionals and the talent pool have contributed to India’s digital transformation. But how it has impacted common people’s lives in India has become a case study for the whole world.