Creating a Trillion Dollar Digital Economy – Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad on Digital India

Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister of Law and Justice; Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India addressing AIMA's Diamond Jubilee National Management Convention (NMC) 2017

Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister of Law and Justice; Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India addressing AIMA’s Diamond Jubilee National Management Convention (NMC) 2017

Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister of Law and Justice; Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India sharing his thoughts on Digitisation, #Digital Economy, and #Digitalindia at #AIMA‘s Diamond Jubilee National Management Convention (#NMC) 2017. Read excerpts –

Ladies and gentlemen, I have 20 minutes left, I’ll try to be as brief and as bullet points as possible. You know whenever you come with an Idea, certain hiccups are there. I remember when I was the minister in Vajpayee Government, the National Highway Program was started and Vajpayee was men of few words, sitting in a meeting and there was a lot of opposition “Jamin kaha se ayegi, Kashmir se Kanyakumari, Silchar se Surat 4 lane 6 lane highway kaise banega, kisan pareshan honge”. Vajpayee ji kept on listening and lastly uttered one word “Karna hai” that’s all. The Boss said enough is enough. About 10 months ago I had gone to Kanyakumari in a function. And I was told Kashmir to Kanyakumari 6 lane highway ends just adjacent to the area where the function was held… I said “Let me drive on this highway, I will not get time to drive all the way from Kashmir to Kanyakumari but let me have a feel. That if there is an idea, there is a commitment, results happen.

To speak about digitization today, when the computer came what was the objection? “Naukri chali jayegi computer aa gya” many of our own party people were also having the problem but today computer, leave aside killing jobs, became one of the biggest generators of jobs. Why I am speaking all this to you today is “1. Trust the potential of India’s talent, 2. Have faith in the innovative spirit of Indians, 3. Share the sheer optimism which young India is seeking to propel”. These three things I would like to highlight at the very outset.

You know we have initiated some very important path-breaking programs like Digital India, Make In India, Startup India, Standup India, Smart Cities and Digital Payment, all are digital based transformative programs. The Idea is not only to create enablement but also to transform, and empower not only India but Indians. Today I’ll talk about DBT (Direct Benefit Transfer). Because the idea we set for ourselves. When we went for the digital revolution is – We want to create technology, which is affordable, inclusive and also developmental. Because the digital India is more for poor and underprivileged, it must bring in digital inclusion between the digital haves and digital have not. You have heard a lot of Aadhar card 1.18 billion, mobile phone 1.18 billion “125/130 crore ke desh me 118 crore Aadhaar card hai, 118-19 crore mobile phone hai, 40 se 50 crore smartphones hai, 50 crore internet hai ” Biggest startup movement. How we are bringing in the digital inclusion, that’s very important for you to understand. The typical Indian experiment, which the world today is celebrating, and this has happened in the last three years. We opened Jandhan account of 30 crores poor underprivileged and linked that to Aadhaar and mobile and started sending ration subsidy, gas subsidy, kerosene subsidy, food subsidy direct to the bank account. Do you know how much we have saved? We have saved 58 thousand crores which used to be pocketed by middlemen… We have discovered 3 crore fake gas connections and annulled 2.7 crore fake ration cards. This is digital inclusion, which we are seeking to bring about. Digital governance is good governance; digital delivery is the fast delivery.

I just talked about low-cost technology and I would like to show you something “This is my Aadhaar card what does it contain? It contains my photograph, gender, date of birth and in the reverse my permanent Patna address. It does not contain the name of my father or mother, religion, caste, community, educational qualification, medical record or my income. None of the criteria on which I can be profiled or trolled is mentioned on Aadhaar card but what it contains is my fingerprint, my iris, kept under the safe encrypted form in the domestic produced machines in Bangalore and Delhi. Duly backed by a parliamentary law with due regard to privacy. Even as a law minister I cannot disclose my iris to anyone. If I do I will suffer prosecution for three years. If the company discloses, it will suffer prosecution for seven years and rupees 10lac fine. Do you know we have given SIM card by use of Adhar card to 30 crore people using mobile identity part… Much of documentation and paperwork has been reduced and as a consequence saving the environmental pressure. This is the classic case and how much each Aadhaar costs, just one dollar. Therefore low-cost technology being used to leverage quality of life in a meaningful manner.

Recently Nitin Gadkari and I talked about linking motor vehicle driving license with Aadhaar card. Why? A driver is drunk driving, causes an accident and runs away and he takes a license from adjoining state in a fake name. But if the license is linked to Aadhaar card, the fingerprint doesn’t lie. System will say this man already have a driving license. We have a collector in Maharashtra who did a great job. The government of Maharashtra furnishes provisions for entire tribal people and tribal students, their school fee, their boarding, lodging, school dress. One day he linked it to Aadhaar and the number came down by 40 percent… He did it for teachers also and the number came down by 20 percent. But ladies and gentlemen that 58 thousand crore is not a private money. It is the taxpayer’s money which is required to be saved. Digital governance we are doing like this.

Someone talked about manufacturing. One day ModiJi asked, “Tum kehte ho mobile phone itna hai par banta kitna hai is desh me?” Only 2 factories were operational even Nokia has been closed in Tamilnadu. Ladies and gentlemen, I am happy to tell you in the last 3 years 100 new mobile manufacturing companies have come to India. Noida and Greater Noida is becoming a big centre where 32 mobile factories have come up. From mobiles to batteries to chargers all these have come. The new technology we are promoting in a big way from the Internet of things to machine to learning to blockchain technology to cloud computing. What is important is we are linking that to the common benefit. As I told you I come from Bihar. People used to come to Delhi for AIIMS “aap pahle aao register karao fir vapas jao fir do mahine bad date pade”. I told my people to find a technological answer to it. Today 80 hospitals are e-hospital where with a click of a button you can get yourself registered, you will get a date and go and meet a doctor into the Aims. About 69 lakh patients have benefitted. Enam, what is Enam? A farmer wanted to sell his products, he kept on running from mandi to mandi. Enam is a portal where 400 e-Markets of India are linked. You click your button, tell your produce, negotiate the price and deliver it. E-scholarship 1 crore students are on scholarship. We have rationalized, 45 lakh students have got the scholarship. And best is EGem. “Sarkar ko kursi kharidni hai, computer kharidna hai to L1 me jao, L1 nahi hai to highcourt me case ho jayega ” We came up with the e-Gem portal. The government will disclose if they want 5000 chairs, 10,000 tables, 1000 computers and all the e-commerce company can compete there. They will quote the price and government will go for the best. And I am happy to tell you that government has saved 32 crores in purchasing the dustbin for the government of India. That is how digital technology is changing the quality of our life.

I talk about the digital economy and the promise it unfolds for us. Indian digital economy, Indian IT and IT-enabled ecosystem have three stages. The first, when the Indian IT company went abroad. Today I am very proud of Indian IT companies. They really scaled the tri-colour all over the world in 200 cities of 80 countries. 55% of outsourcing came to India. India became a big centre, the first stage. The second stage, was when the big giant of IT sector came to India the Facebook, the Google, the app makers, the twitter, the Amazon because India is a huge market. I say in a lighter way that India added mobile phones in last three years equal to the population of France and Italy. That’s the scale on which we work. Do you know India has the biggest footprint of Facebook? Topmost. The way e-commerce is rising in India. The way Indians have taken to apps. I was looking at the studies and app consumption itself has become a big industry in India, running into billion dollars. The Boston consultancy report recommends by 2020 India’s digital payment industry would become 500 billion dollar economy… What is the third level of this ecosystem? India’s startup movement is becoming a big movement. Today we are having 5 to 6 startup every day and yesterday I had gone to Indian mobile congress and Raj Anadan of Google India and Asia has said that earlier for recruitment when Google used to go to IITs the topmost brains used to come to us but now the toppers are becoming startups. They say we will not become job seekers, we will become job givers; that is the movement picking up in India and I am very happy about that.

About a month ago I had gone to Bangalore to give awards in The Economic Times Startups Award, the very prestigious function. A young boy of 22 years came on stage with his team, he has done something great and he is still studying. He has been able to raise half a million rupees because of his innovation. This innovation of India needs to be promoted. That is what I would like to tell you. Now how it works out. Indian digital economy ladies and gentleman is going to become one trillion $ economy in 5 to 7 years and when I talk of the digital economy I mean IT and IT-enabled services, I mean communication, electronic manufacturing, cybersecurity, digital payment and I also e-commerce. These are the components of India’s digital economy. Do you know about 3.5 lac people have got jobs in mobile industry and India is becoming a big hub of automobile spare part manufacturing, medical electronics, defence electronics, we are liberalising and pushing that to the core. I want cyber security solutions to appear and Indians are quite keenly innovating with that. If you have got an office and you need to be aware of the cyber security solution. You need not go to big companies. We have got a product to take care of office cybersecurity needs. I have already talked about e-Commerce is booming in India and mind you e-commerce is being driven by demand from the rural segment. They don’t have a mall; they don’t have a shopping market but they have got ambition, they have got aspiration. For the whole Indian digital economy… stakeholders say one trillion dollar is an understatement… Just now I asked Chandrasekaran. he said about 50 to 70 lac jobs will be available only in the IT and digital economy of India in the coming 5 to 7 years. Maybe some jobs will go but 20 jobs will come. Maybe computer would have replaced one stenographer but the computer has created 50 more new jobs on the same premises. That is how the digital economy works.

How I see the future? I have been an activist since my student life in the JP movement. I have been in charge of 8 states of India on behalf of my party. But from the grassroots till here, I have been campaigning in the country for last 25 years on behalf of my party but India, which I am witnessing as an IT minister, is truly enormous. Young people full of Ideas, of confidence, brimming with hope. Almost like we have to conquer the moon. And as an IT minister in this government what we are doing is to create enabling atmosphere for that purposes. My biggest message of digital inclusion is something, which I experienced a few months ago. I sit as a law minister in Shastri Bhavan, and as the IT minister in electronics niketan. Once coming out of my office I was stopped at the red light and a thela wala was parked by my side and he was talking simultaneously on two smartphones. He was telling on one smartphone “Sahab maine aapka maal pahucha diya hai aap chinta mat kijiye” and on the other phone “sahib aap chinta mat kijiye aadhe gante me aapka bhi pahucha dunga” I was so delighted to see that empowerment. I wish I could take a photograph but my security did not allow me to get down. No one told him but he realized if I have to do business I must be digitally connected. That is the innovation happening in India. That is what I am doing my best to empower.

Ladies and gentleman, I am a chronic optimist… We belong to a different part of political activist “Jo alochna karte hai wo karte rahein hum apna kam karte rahein”. Let our work speak and the people will appreciate the true work which we will do and which we are doing on the ground and people are realizing this. Very briefly on digital access to justice… We have got judiciary digital data grid where 6 crores pending and decided case are there on the grid. About 18 thousand Courts of India have come on e-courts. We monitor them and we give access to justice. But I have pushed a big movement for digital inclusion in shape of common service sectors. There are young boys and girls giving digital delivery of services from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, from hills of Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh. The number was 70,000 when I came to power I have scaled it to 2,70,000. They are making Aadhaar card, PAN card, Passport, and insurance, business. Now they are going to sell Ramdev Baba’s medicines and IFFCO fertilizers also… 10 lac people work there and in last three and half years they have earned 1200 crore commission by giving digital delivery of services. I also rolled them into access to justice with the National Legal Service Authority. And now they sit with a paralegal volunteers and if any widow or daughter in law or a “Khetihar majdoor” has a problem of law, they link them through video conference to a battery of lawyers and give them pre-litigation advise and in the last three months about 3000 requests have come including from Kashmir and 2000 disputes have been resolved.

I have set up a mechanism of NYAYMITRA wherein those districts where cases are pending for 10 years or more. I have taken it on the priority basis, that the courts and that is being disposed of and this NYAYMITRA will be a retired judicial officer or police officer who will work as a coordinator between the police, the justice delivery and the administration. For example, a trial is pending because a doctor is not coming to confirm the postmortem because the doctor has been transferred. I said find a way out he can come to the centre and can be cross-examined by video conference. All these things we are working apart from many other.

My conclusion to AIMA is that this whole transformative program is not a government program, it’s a people program. And there the people, the industry, the academia, the civil society and all of you, we have to work together. We are open to all the suggestions. Whatever is good shall be accepted because we are accountable with honesty. And I would like to conclude “It is more than three years the government has been in power, we have done a lot of things, lifting the image of India world over but without a single stain of corruption or impropriety“ that is our biggest asset because digital connect also demands transparency and delivery this is what we are doing. Thank you. Namaskar. Jai Hind.

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