IT superpower India fails in digital inclusion
India is a IT superpower and the back office for the global IT needs. When the IT industry across the world is growing at 4-5%, Indian IT industry is growing at 18-19%. With the pent up demand from global businesses and the increased IT spend, Indian IT has been as buoyant as it can ever could be. The sector has employed over 200,000 employees in the last twelve months and is poised to add a similar number next fiscal year. India’s fiscal year starts on April 1st and ends on March 31st.
So how does India with all its IT superpowers rank on the digital inclusion of its own citizens? Very poorly. If we go by the digital inclusion report by MapleCroft. The report ranks India at 39 from 186 countries. Lower number means poorer digital inclusion. Countries which include their citizens digitally in a better way are ranked with higher numbers. Netherlands (186), Denmark (185), Luxemborg(184), Sweden (183) and the UK(182) are the top five digitally included countries.
You know what those countries have in their favor. Population or the lack of it is the reason I can think of. The five top digitally included countries together have a population of 94 million. India just concluded its Census and released a preliminary statistic. India’s population is 1210.2 million. For the first time in nine decades, the rate of growth has slowed down. Probably a good news for the policy makers. After we combine five countries together we end up with 8% of India’s population. Should we still look at the report in the same way. Probably not. Yet the report still provides some great insights when we bring China in.
China which is more populous than India, is ranked at 103. A much better ranking considering India’s 39. What’s my defense with China’s comparison? None. Actually I have one. China’s industry just like India’s was strongly controlled by the state for the most part. China decided to let go some of it and India decided to let go too. China had a 12-15 year head start over India. That is visibly in almost any comparison.
None of these should dilute the report’s findings. We just have to bring them on right scale before we can comment. Now that we have done it reasonably well, lets establish India’s digital inclusiveness. India needs to be digitally included. In fact that could directly related to India’s productivity which directly goes to increase India’s GDP. For someone like me who has access incessant Internet access, banking is a breeze. Every minute I am not waiting to withdraw cash, I am spending that time on something else. Is it the case with every Indian? No. Can we make it so far every Indian? Absolutely.