Digital Villages in India

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events and/ or publicly available information. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Mohit Bhagchandani, MBA 2016-18, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur


As a part of Digital India initiative, the Indian government announced that it would provide free wifi to 1,050 villages in the next six months. The wifi hotspots will be mounted on towers so that maximum people can utilize this benefit. The Government has allocated Rs 420 crore for Digital Village Initiative and it aims to connect 900 million people in our country.

The aim of the government is to use digital technology to provide basic development services to rural areas, according to Indian Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology official, Aruna Sundararajan as reported by CNN Money. There will be a vast number of service providers who will be providing their service for this initiative. In addition to this, common service centers will also be set up for different digital services like online forms filling, paying digitally and much more.

This initiative will also accelerate India’s transition to a digital economy following the demonetization of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes.Currently, Google is providing free wifi at 100 railway stations across the country and over 10 million people are using this service daily. Wifi hotspots may work as an alternative technology for providing the internet to all. If this plan becomes successful, it will be expanded to the rest of the country.

References:

Govt to bring free Wi-Fi in over 1000 villages with new pilot project

 

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India as a cashless society

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events and/ or publicly available information. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Appan Ghosh, MBA 2016-18, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

The “Digital India” campaign is the flagship program of the Government of India. And as a part of this initiative, payments in the country is one of the key focus of the government today. Recently we saw the government taking a step towards a cashless society by demonetization of 500 and 1000 rupee notes. Explaining the step as a strategy towards a cashless economy , PM Narendra Modi on the show “Mann ki baat” emphasized on mobile banking transactions as a means to achieve this objective. Even the finance minister, Arun Jaitley, spoke of the necessity to reduce the “implicit costs of printed currency”.

Over the past 2 months we have seen different options of cashless transactions being promoted to increase awareness and acceptance of the digital payments. Some of them are:

  • Debit / Credit cards
  • Mobile banking apps like Paytm,BHIM, UPI enabled apps from banks, etc
  • Bank prepaid cards
  • Micro-ATMs
  • Internet banking
  • USSD codes for feature phones

The steps are not only taken by government, but initiatives are also taken by the private players in the payments industry. We saw Paytm and other digital wallets waiving off the processing fees from 4% to 0% up to transactions of Rs. 2000, at the same time when banks were waived off the NEFT transaction charges post demonetization.

All these steps are promising, and our own survey has shown many folded increase in cashless transactions in the retail sector. But there are other factors related to acceptance of a cashless society, which also need to be addressed:

  • Infrastructure – which will include free WiFi or internet made available to do the transactions, better network coverage from telecom providers to avoid transaction failures, better
  • Security – RBI can introduce mandated guidelines for the payments facilitators to follow like: PCIDSS, instant lock features of accounts/transactions to avoid security risks upon lost mobiles/cards.
  • Awareness – People needs to be made more aware of the transactions and needs to trust the digital payments, so awareness programs has to be launched across the country with emphasis for rural India

With all these factors addressed, it will certainly become easier for the Government of India to on-board the citizens on the digital-economy platform and accelerate towards a cashless society.

References:

India may face pressure to open up Ecommerce Sector

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events and/ or publicly available information. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Rakshita Hichkad, MBA 2016-18, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

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Ecommerce has made it easier for top American brands to reach Indian customers, and has emerged as one of the fast-growing trade channels available for the cross-border trade of goods and services.

G-20 – the international forum for the governments and central bank governors from 20 major economies has asked various countries, including India for views on enhancing the readiness of countries to engage in digital trade, also how WTO can promote ecommerce and develop a framework to measure cross-border digital trade.

India’s say plays a vital role for the ecommerce to be included in the WTO’s agenda.

Technology enabled innovations such as Digital Payments, Hyper-local Logistics, Analytics driven Customer Engagement and Digital Advertisements has led Indian ecommerce industry to grow at a much faster rate.

Government initiatives such as Digital India, Skill India, Start up India and Make in India are also contributing to the growth of the ecommerce industry.

India needs to aim at empowering Small and Medium Enterprises to make use of the new trade regime on global ecommerce sector

Accepting Ecommerce for international trade will help India in the following ways:

-Minimize geographical isolation that will help Indian exports markets to reduce the costs of finding customers and accessing overseas markets.

-End the digital division that exists between the developed and developing countries

The main challenges for cross border digital trade are lack of international accounting standards and uneven acceptance of ecommerce.

Therefore, Indian Government should commit to be compliant with international standards and aim to strengthen ecommerce, devising investor-friendly guidelines to successfully make, transact and trade in India.

 

Payment banks- The Next step towards digital India

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events and/ or publicly available information. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

VIJENDHAR KADIPIKONDA, MBA 2016-18, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur.


Bharti Airtel one of the eleven companies which were provided the licenses for payment banks has started their nationwide operations last week. Payment banks are the new category of banks conceptualized by the RBI whose main objective is to make financial services available to the rural and low income population who are outside the banking system. The payment banks unlike the existing banks cannot provide loans or credit cards to its customers but can accept savings deposit up to INR 1 lakh and issue debit cards.

The government of India is taking initiatives to digitalize the financial sector and move towards cashless economy. The demonetization of the high valued currency in the last November has promoted online payments and e-payment wallets in the country. Firms like Paytm, Mobikwik has seen a tremendous growth in their businesses in the last couple of months. Payment banks will be the next game changing step towards the digitalization in the current situation. Payment banks and their customers interact mainly through the mobile phones and internet unlike traditional banks. Mobile networks has penetrated to farthest corners of the country and about 25% of the population is using smartphones. Telecom giants Airtel, Aditya Birla group, Vodafone which were granted the license for payment banking with their existing customer base can take the benefits of payment banks and digitalization reach every town and village in the country. In addition the payment banks are offering much higher interest rate for the savings deposits than the traditional banks. Airtel has announced 7.25% interest rate whereas the traditional banks offers 4% rate.

Payment Banking system promises to be a game-changer providing basic banking transactions through mobile phones.

One more step towards Digital India

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events and/ or publicly available information. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Jayita De, MBA 2016-18, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

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One more step towards digitization, one more step towards a developed nation. India’s Honorable Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi launched the Digital India Program in the year 2015 with a mission to connect India with Internet. Prime Minister’s dream of Cashless India is another part of Digital India program. The latest feather which Indian Government has added to this program is the Aadhar Pay app. The unique feature of this app is that all the financial transaction can be done using only fingerprints!!! Yes, that is really unique and it ensures a safe and secure transaction.

Now, many of us may think that what is the point of developing another app where we already have so many app for online transaction. Here Indian Government has played the master stroke and attracts the rural India. Majority of the rural population is poor and illiterate and they do not even have smartphones. This mode of payment ensures that they do not even have to remember their card number or the pin number. One way it ensures the cashless transaction and on the other hand it assures safe and secure transaction in rural India.

Since rural portion of India consists of more than 60% of India’s population, so it can be assumed that Indian Government is finally on the right track, as to become a developed nation every part of India needs to progress.

Reference:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/centre-pushes-for-fingerprint-money-transactions-through-aadhaar-pay/articleshow/56724517.cms

 

 

“Online India” …. One Step forward to Digital India

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Kousik Das, E-MBA 2015-18, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

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I can’t resist expressing my proud feelings being an Indian and also being an IITian. Just now I have found out a google blog below my google doodle. Sundar Pichai has announced a google plan of architecting a high-speed public Wi-Fi in 400 train stations across India during his meeting with PM Narendra Modi at Googleplex as a part of ‘Digital India’. He went back to his college days when he used to travel from Chennai to Kharagpur. The word ‘online’ has been used intelligently to compare the involvement of common Indian between Indian railway track and Internet Use. This initiative will be done in three phases. In pilot phase Google Access & Energy team plans to bring the first station active in coming months. Then as a part of first phase 100 stations will be covered with in 2016 year end. Subsequently, the remaining stations will also be covered under this project.

However even with the coverage at 100 stations through Google fibre, this service will be available to more than 10 million people who pass through every day. It will be the largest public Wi-Fi of India and among the largest in the world in terms of potential users. It will also be the faster connection comparing to the current speed.

The best part of this service is that, it will be free to start, with the long term goal of making it self-sustainable to allow for expansion to more stations and other places, with RailTel and more partners, in the future as said by Sundar Pichai in that blog.

Hope, this type of initiative from company like Google will create more constructive buzz to help Mr Modi for a successful ‘Digital India’.

 

Reference:

http://googleasiapacific.blogspot.in/2015/09/bringing-internet-to-more-indians.html

Digital dinner or FB Townhall: Are these at all helping India to progress ?

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Kousik Das, E-MBA 2015-18, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

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Our prime minister is going to visit Ireland and US from 23rd to 29th September. He will address the UN General Assembly. He will also visit Google headquarters in the Silicon Valley, California and address an Indian-American community reception there on 27th. A PTI report said the registrations for the event, may cross fifty thousands. But the question is : why this visit is creating a lot of buzz ?

We can analyze that, concentrating on three prime factors.

A) Digital India

B) The amazing line-up of CEOs

C) Boost for entrepreneurship

 

A) Digital India

As a part of digital strategy to push his ‘Digital India’ dream to the next step, Modi’s primary agenda is to seek support from the global majors. Main vision for this project is to connect various government departments, services and the country’s people through high speed internet. Information Technology is the backbone of this development agenda. Modi needs silicon valley’s support for this.

However, not everybody is happy either with this visit or with Digital India project. They have raised “concerns about the uncritical fanfare being generated”. They have also criticized the project by highlighting lack of safeguards about privacy of information, and its potential for abuse.

B) The amazing line-up of CEOs

According to a report in The Economic Times on 16th September, Sundar Pichai of Google and Satya Nadella of Microsoft are likely to make presentations at a digital-themed dinner. Facebook CEO Marck Zuckerberg will also share a townhall Q&A session at FB headquarter. Tesla, Cisco CEOs are also interested to meet Modi during his visit.

As Firstpost reported , Zuckerberg said ,”Prime Minister Modi and I will discuss how communities can work together to address social and economic challenges.”

Apart from the CEOs Nobel laureate Michael Levitt has also expressed his interest to meet our prime minister. He has identified Modi as expert of selecting problems .He has also praised Modi of having inquisitive mind and intuition which is the first step of solving a problem.

These kind of exposures of big corporates and Nobel laureates can give birth to innovative ideas to solve many burning problems of our country.

C) Boost for entrepreneurship

His visit is a big boost to the Indian entrepreneurs which are the major contributor to our unemployment problem. This visit is happening when our country is witnessing a big boom in entrepreneurship. According to the report published in the Firstpost, considering a 2014 estimate, India houses about 3,100 startups. This is expected to grow to 11,500 by 2020.

Data from VCCEdge, the financial research platform of VCCircle.com, show that fund flow into startups based in six cities increased 693.53 percent during 2011-2015 (until August) to Rs 665 crore.

Silicon Valley can give a positive jerk to the Indian startup ecosystem which can intern help Modi to fulfill one of his poll promises of employment generation.

Quoting the above report of Firstpost , according to US Ambassador to India, Richard Verma, the visit will provide an opportunity to explore new technology that would help India in development of Smart Cities and other infrastructure facility.

Wishing Modi a happy and fruitful Journey in advance.

 

Reference:

  1. http://www.firstpost.com/business/from-digital-dinner-to-fb-townhall-heres-why-modis-silicon-valley-visit-is-creating-a-buzz-2435742.html

 

  1. http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/with-many-tech-based-presentations-lined-up-for-him-pm-narendra-modi-needs-to-brush-up-on-tech-terms/articleshow/48979865.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst