TECH TALK: India’s Century: Technology and the Internet

Information Technology and the Internet can be the change agents in the creation of India 2.0. Businesses and the government need to think of how what they do can be re-architected to leverage IT and the Net. Because of the low installed base of telecom, computing and software infrastructure, there is an excellent opportunity to build out using tomorrow’s technologies, the use of which can turn Indian from a laggard into a leader.

The combination of wireless, broadband, devices and real-time computing can be the anchors of the new India. Telecom can be driven by developments in wireless and fibre optics to provide unimaginable, ubiquitous bandwidth, and therefore drive the creation of content and new applications. Voice-over-IP can help bring down the cost of telephony. Low-cost “mass market” Internet access devices and Internet community centres can make the Internet a utility in people’s lives. By using eBusiness software, companies and government can create, in the words of the Gartner Group, “Net-liberated” organizations, for whom eBusiness becomes part of the DNA.

Technology and the Internet need to become all-pervasive: in the lives of consumers, enterprises and government. There needs to be value to human time. There needs to be a focus on efficiencies. The focus should be on removing pain from the lives of citizens and employees. By making a decision to leverage new technology, India can become a testbed – and showcase – for the world. Look at
China: with a base of 100 million cellphones (compared to India’s 3 million), it has become the largest and most attractive wireless market in the world. That in itself feeds the investment frenzy.

A starting point could be the creation by the government of a Universal Citizen Database. Much of this information exists on paper or in electronic silos. It needs to be integrated and made available in real-time to decision-makers. One useful application of this will be to catch tax evaders – the revenues thus garnered would more then fund this project! An interesting variation of this is in Thailand where GIS maps are being used to identify tax payment patterns in specific buildings.

Technology usage and application must not be limited to just urban India. There is another India – in the villages. Technology and the Internet should be used to improve their quality of life also. What is needed is to expose people to the wonders of technology – many of the solutions to their problems will originate from themselves.

The emerging set of technologies offer great hope for India – not just in connecting people, but also in creating solutions which can be applied to other markets like India.

Published by

Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.