Business Opportunities in the New Digital India
The Internet and its advantages are nothing new to be talked about anymore. We all understand and appreciate how a single click can change things for us, in a positive way, of course. This very benefit was realised when the Government of India launched the Digital India project to enable its citizens better Internet connectivity to further access all government services and online applications. The project was started in September 2015 and over the past one year or so, we are definitely seeing positive outcomes. First, it has meant a considerable decrease in paperwork and overall documentation. Second, there is greater transparency in all the transactions. Personally, one of the big advantages which I see is the business opportunities which have now surfaced across all sectors in the country thanks to this initiative.
Building an infrastructure to support digitisation of the Indian ecosystem requires the development of a multitude of factors, namely, a large-scale optical fibre network, electronics manufacturing, etc. Thus, these sectors have managed to generate employment for thousands of people. This, in turn, means that newer business avenues must open in these areas. According to Communications and IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, the Digital India initiative will be worth $1 trillion business opportunities. This would primarily include the telecom, IT/ITeS, and the electronics manufacturing sectors. Let us look individually at some specific areas on how they would create newer opportunities.
Training – Since digitisation is aimed at connecting all villages with the cities, i.e. creating a rural-urban connect, the government has launched a host of projects to empower people at all levels. Thus, training opportunities exist and can be developed to create new business opportunities. In fact, the government seeks qualifies trainers to train almost three lakh service delivery agents to be further able to run IT services related businesses. Not just that, but Digital India aims to train the youth, with figures going up to one crore, in smaller towns and villages to become employable for the IT industry as well as the telecom sector. That implies a massive opportunity for trainers in these fields.
Healthcare – According to Arvind Gupta, head of the Digital India Foundation, there is a deficit of almost 1.5-2 million doctors. The Digital India initiative includes an important project, called eHealth, to tackle this very concern. Under this project, once people register themselves online, they can avail services such as checking availability of blood on the Internet, getting diagnostic reports, making payments for healthcare, etc. Now, for generating businesses, there can be various options such as creating online access to pharmacies, doctors, providing information on health problems, sharing knowledge about insurance, and the likes. There is surely no dearth of good prospects in the healthcare sector.
Startups – The campaign being a new addition to the government’s offerings, there are several ideas which are solicited by the government itself as well as which can be started by individuals to participate in the progress. Startup India is one such place where budding entrepreneurs can receive information and advertise their business on a government platform. If not, aforementioned areas such as training or digitisation processes have enough opportunities to make a mark. It is predicted that by 2020, startups in India will generate employment to more than 250,000 people. With a tech-savvy policy like Digital India, that number seems realistic.
Overall Employability – As mentioned earlier, employment opportunities will soar as the different means of getting digitisation into place will happen (such as, say, even laying the optic fibre cables). At the same time, under the government’s Digital India Platform (DIP), freelancers can contribute in digitising all the official documents. Anyone who can type on a computer or a mobile device and has an Aadhar number can register for the same. That is a good way to generate income for someone who is literate and has some spare time on hand. The postal sector is also going to benefit hugely from the Digital India programme. Since the rural and semi-urban areas will be easily connected to the cities, the eCommerce space is predicted to grow at almost 67%. That gives rise to business opportunities in other linked areas such as the postal service, BPO industry, etc.
Smart Manufacturing and Make in India – Smart manufacturing, also known as Industry 4.0, is making its presence felt in the manufacturing industry. It is an environment where the systems are fully integrated with each other and they collaborate with each other so as to quickly respond to changes in the parameters of the process. IoT and Big Data are helping companies improve their bottom lines through faster collection and analysis of data and helping the manufacturing units rectify the inefficiencies. India has a unique advantage of thriving software services sector which can make India the major industrial hub in Asia. The Make in India campaign, launched in Sept 2014, has several initiatives such as assistance to foreign investors, consolidated services and faster security clearances, easy policies and laws, dedicated business portal for query resolution, and so on. It aims at creating jobs in 25 sectors.
Digitisation will bring businesses closer to each other and make sharing of services easier and stronger. This will help generate even novel business ideas. The Digital India initiative, as it is likely professed, is about empowering the common man in the country. When new and exciting business opportunities open up, it will allow all the stakeholders, including the citizens, to contribute proactively and thus, rightfully claim their stake in the growth and progress of their country.