“India is the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend, and the great grandmother of tradition. Our most valuable and most instructive materials in the history of man are treasured up in India only”- Mark Twain
How has India changed since independence
India is one of the major economies in today’s modern, dynamic world and is at the forefront of being positively affected by technology. Today, after more than 70 years of independence, there has been a lot of massive improvements made in almost all fields imaginable, and a significant chunk of that can be attributed to the role of technology. Indian GDP (both overall and per capita) has increased significantly, HDI has risen by almost a hefty 50% and life expectancy, and schooling has also improved. All these developments are easily overshadowed by one glaring weakness, one chink in India’s armour- overpopulation which is both a boon and a bane. Boon because more population directly correlates to a higher number of scientists, technologists, doctors and engineers that would be able to work for the country and take it towards the path of prosperity; bane because more population directly correlates to picking out an ever-increasing number of people from poverty.
India wants to become a $ 10 Trillion economy in the near future, and this can only be achieved by leveraging the power of technology which is one of the most significant aspects of any nation in today’s context. Although the penetration of technology throughout the Indian sub-continent has been impressive, to say the least, it needs to be pervasive and ubiquitous in the near future to carry the entire country on its shoulders.
Things that India has already figured out
Internet penetration is now a major criterion in determining the technological quotient of a country. The Internet represents the true democratization of information and people who are capable can quickly turn this information into valuable knowledge without the requirement of outside help (the formal education system of a country). As mobile phone (smartphone) penetration, increases, the number of internet users will increase thereby triggering the technological wave and creating a completely new era of technological superiority.
IT Services make a significant chunk of what Indian technology means to many (even to the outside world), but that change soon. Mainly because previously, Indian IT services were favoured because of their cheapness, but with the increasing use of Automation, Artificial Intelligence, Data Science; all repetitive manual work will be rendered useless, thereby rendering the point of cheap labour rate moot. Indian software firms like Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys, Tech Mahindra are increasingly spending on training employees on these technologies to remain competitive in the global environment. The pie chart shows that large IT companies like the ones mentioned are the most equipped for implementation of these technologies into their existing projects or picking up new projects/clients based on these technologies themselves.
Start-ups are so much more than just a buzz word; they help bring in foreign investment in the form of funding, provide much-needed employment to people, thereby easing some weight off the governments’ shoulders, make people’s lives simpler and easier (through the solutions they provide) and so much more. Almost all start-ups mentioned in the image below provide solutions through technology.
The challenge ahead and the way forward
The goal at hand is simple: Using technology to leverage every industry and sector in the country to become competitive in the global scenario, thereby making India a technological, economic and commercial powerhouse. However, the road ahead is tricky, serpentine and full of obstacles. But if the British Raj has taught us anything, it is to persevere, despite the adversity and India is good at it. The picture taken from a PWC report, highlights the goals of the country in the coming years and to reach that goal, technology has to intervene positively, and that can be done through several ways.
- Government schemes like Start-up India are a much-needed boost to the technological scenario in India. In 2019, a total of more than 1,300 start-ups were added, making the total tech-based start-ups tally to a massive 8,900. However, a major chunk of these start-ups doesn’t even end up seeing the light of the day, and thus governments must ensure that these start-ups are effectively incubated, thereby reducing the failure rate.
- The top engineering colleges in India needs to be looked after, and private players have to be encouraged to improve themselves continuously. The modern technologies need to be implemented in the course curriculum, and there is an utmost need to revise the decades’ old syllabus- students learn about technologies that have disappeared from the face of the earth instead of learning the modern ones that have since replaced them.
- Ease of business of India has seen a tremendous improvement in rankings, but it needs to be continuously worked after and improved. As old laws and policies preventing business get abolished, the ease of opening a company/start-up improves dramatically, thereby contributing to the chance of letting the start-up being profitable in the near future.
As discussed previously, technologies like Analytics and Decision Science must be implemented across industries to leverage its benefits. As these get implemented, there will be an acute shortage of trained employees who are trained in these technologies, and as seen today, there are start-ups training people to be hired by tech start-ups thereby setting up an entire ecosystem at work in the country. The education sector needs to improve in order to drive technological benefits throughout the country, starting from the grassroots to the higher echelons in a complete chain of value creation.