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Role of digitisation in building India as a future superpower: Amitabh Kant speaks at JSW Public Policy School at IIMA

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New Delhi, Nov 16 (IANS) JSW School of Public Policy at IIM Ahmedabad (IIMA) hosted Amitabh Kant, CEO of NITI Aayog, for the launch of its Public Talk Series titled ‘India 2031: The Decade of Transformation’ at the IIMA Campus.

Stressing upon some key focus areas where the country needs to probe, Kant laid down a constructive and robust pathway in his talk with the students and faculty members of IIM Ahmedabad.

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At present, India needs to improve its learning outcomes, health outcomes and largely on nutritional outcomes, if we need to sustain growth for three-decade period, said Kant.

Kant talked about the role that digitisation can play in building India as a future superpower. Being data rich and data intelligent to a lot of AI and machine learning, India must use this power and get into the areas of electric mobility and battery storage.

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Speaking of the technology, Kant stressed that, India must focus on becoming a fast grower of 5G tech, which will drive us to grow majorly in the coming years. The country should also make a Genomics breakthrough. If India wants to grow at high rates of 9-10 per cent over a long period of time, we must plan “Scientific Urbanisation”.

In terms of payments India does all digital and seamless transactions. Through UPI, over 200 banks are interconnected, and its transactions are more than Amex, and in two years’ time UPI shall overtake Visa. He mentioned if UPI was a private company, then its valuation would probably be more than Microsoft and Apple. With regards to breakthrough apps, CoWin is also a good example of digital strength of India with seamless and verifiable system for vaccination certification. Our data is the cheapest in the world and in every three seconds we are creating a new internet user. Hence, in future many of these challenges will be resolved by young startups as they unfold to disrupt the established industry of today and will be solving problems of the 1.3 billion people of India, therefore technological leap frogging will be the key to growth and progress in the coming years.

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Kant said: “I strongly believe that we get into the sunset areas of the industry quiet often and it’s very difficult to penetrate the global markets of the industry’s sunset areas, by that time other countries and companies have already moved in. It is very difficult to dethrone established companies therefore India must get into ‘Sunrise areas of Growth’. Being data rich and data intelligent to a lot of AI and machine learning, India must use this power and get into the areas of electric mobility and battery storage.”

He added that massive benefit that can be achieved from tracking real time data and publishing it in the public domain to create transparency.

Kant said that five key areas such as improving outcomes in education, health, and nutrition; promoting sunrise sectors of growth such as AI and Data Science, scientific urbanization, technological advancement and shifting to sustainable sources of energy such as green Hydrogen can contribute significantly to India’s growth in the years to come.

One of the key challenges, Kant addressed was how do we work seamlessly with state governments. “There is a lot of regional disparity in this country, and it is important to touch upon these factors that if India needs to do well states will be the key drivers to this growth. The human capital matters the most and look across the world and are important determinants of fulfilled nation. In the health structure, we face shortage of health infrastructure, manpower and financing. If we will go state wise, some states are doing extremely well and some are doing moderately well and some are tend to do poorly. We at NITI Aayog believe in competitive federalism. India will hugely grow with massive reforms and rest of India will grow with lower states. Under aspirational district programmes we picked up 115 backward districts of India and we call them aspirational districts. We started ranking them on 49 parameters including healthcare, innovation, infrastructure, etc. These districts were not backward because of lack of resources but they are backward because of bad governance, frequent transfers, unfilled posts for doctors and teachers and lack of morale in the district. We started naming and shaming collectors along with rewarding them for performing well. Many of them performed better than non-aspirational and best performing states. I believe in power of data and real-time data. We have technology to get this data and improve these indicators.”

He also added that the NEP is a path breaking way in many ways. Various skill development initiatives under the same have been launched and the government use structural reforms across various sectors. Hence concluding his speech, he said that in a country like India it is important to maintain the efficiency of delivering the schemes at the Centre, state and district level and it is not possible to sustain growth for a long period of time without cooperation of states.



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