India @75: Waves of digital transformation


By Sunil Bharti Mittal

Over the past 75 years, independent India has repeatedly shown the world a model of political, economic and democratic success. This results in the development of the country’s place on the world map as a desirable state for foreign trade, investment and strategic alliances.

India’s foreign economic policy has followed a trajectory of pursuing unbiased core national interests. Thus, it managed to shed its post-colonial identity to be known today among the fastest growing major free market economies. With record FDI year after year, India’s exports continue to rise, making it a major player in multilateral and bilateral trade negotiations. India’s recent FTAs ​​with the United Arab Emirates and Australia, as well as those looming on the horizon with the EU, UK and Canada, display equal opportunity conditionality. market access as an integral part of the agreements, guaranteeing the best possible results vis-à-vis the national interest in the bilateral negotiations.

In addition to negotiating trade, India is actively working to make global supply chains more resilient, recognizing the country’s opportunity to seize the opening created by the sudden move away from a manufacturing destination. long established. In these engagements, not only has India established itself as a fully fledged geopolitical trading economy, but it has also embraced fresher and newer models of globalization that involve a sharp calibration towards nation states that are partners of confidence.

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India’s success as a political economy is amply evidenced in the birth and growth of the India brand. This was the driving force behind a record FDI inflow of $83.5 billion in the past fiscal year. With gradual and consistent reforms in the ease of doing business, simplification of compliances over the years, India has cemented its position as a 21st century investment destination.

A key driver of brand India consolidation has been a policy that merges reform while capitalizing on our inherent strengths: our demographic dividend. All over the world, India is known for its world-class service sector, especially when it comes to skilled manpower. This helped channel the budding innovation we see in India today. Not only is India the investment hub of the world, but it is also home to over 100 unicorns.

Undoubtedly, India’s growth over the next 25 years will be determined by the continuation of the digital revolution we are witnessing today. Rapid digitalization is now entrenched in brand India: from financial inclusion to mobility and communication, India is making tremendous strides in both innovation and last mile inclusion . The modern Indian economy is characterized by a market brimming with technological solutions to meet the needs of the ordinary citizen. This rapid evolution is the cornerstone of the telecommunications industry, made possible by incisive reforms over decades.

In the 1990s, the liberalization of the market imposed itself on us as a formidable recourse which led to the opening up of the economy, encouraging private investment in certain sectors. Since then, Indian governments have remained committed to adopting liberal policies across all sectors, including the telecommunications sector – the most recent in 2021 having provided much-needed relief to reinvigorate competition. Fast and equitable connectivity has been recognized as a necessity for India to capitalize on its digital promise. Bridging the rural-urban technology divide will help governance, utilities, retail and a host of other digital services in sectors such as healthcare, finance and entertainment reach the very last mile.

India stands at an exciting crossroads of tremendous opportunity, coupled with an appetite for steady and balanced reform. From innovation to technology adoption, the country has shown itself ready for futuristic trends in the way average Indians go about their daily lives. The competitive market as well as the rate of adoption of new services across industries has forced industries to diversify their offerings and foray into the digital space. India’s demand-driven economy has proven to have a palette of innovation consumption.

The realization of the Prime Minister’s ambition for a trillion-dollar digital economy is an inspiration to all Indians today. In cultivating new business models of entrepreneurship, India is also focusing heavily on building fair technology transfers globally. Earlier this year, India and the EU set up a Trade and Technology Council to focus on emerging technology areas such as 5G, AI and data sharing mechanisms. On the sidelines of the Quad Summit this year, India and the United States launched an initiative on critical and emerging technologies to encourage university-industry-government collaborations along similar lines.

As we enter the 76th year of our independence, the India brand is growing increasingly globally and domestically. While we remain optimistic, we as a nation need to focus on what more can be done to fuel the economy. Despite the amazing potential of India’s digital presence, India still has a large population that remains offline. At the same time, India is also home to the second highest number of internet users in the world, making the paradox both an opportunity and a liability.

The Indian industry is working with the intention of ironing out these ambiguities to ensure the democratization of connectivity across the expanses of the country. The values ​​enshrined in our independence translate into a rich demographic dividend and vibrant open markets, to ultimately ensure the betterment of the lives of over a billion Indians.

The author is the founder and president of Bharti Enterprises

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