+ Interventions to Enhance India's Digital Capabilities - CII Blog

Since the last year and a half or so, the world has been facing unprecedented challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, digital transformation that might have taken several years, took place in a span of few months only. While earlier, people criss-crossed across the globe just to attend meetings, digitalization makes it possible now to do the same in the comfort of one’s home. From healthcare to education, to citizen services, agriculture, banking and manufacturing, every sector and industry has been transformed with digital technology at the core. 

Digitization led to a boom in various sectors like financial services, digital payments, e-commerce, logistics and transportation, energy, healthcare and agriculture. Further, digitization of Government services has enabled direct benefit transfers to beneficiaries. 

CII has adopted the vision of USD 1 trillion digital economy as guiding principle to design its interventions in the digital space. Around 50% of the contribution of digital economy will be from IT adoption by various sectors of the economy, such as healthcare, education, energy, manufacturing, future jobs etc. 

Digital Transformation

To promote facilitation of the digital adoption, CII has established a Centre for Digital Transformation, which is working to support large number of non-IT companies, especially MSMEs. The centre is working in the areas of capacity building, assessment and advising companies on their digital transformation journey. While digital transformation is key for a digital economy, today it is an imperative for Indian Industry to be globally competitive. Almost 70% of CII’s membership base is MSMEs and CII has been interacting with them at the grassroot level through our 62 offices across the country to help them in their digital journey. 

Smart Manufacturing Platform

CII also has a Smart Manufacturing Platform that provides Industry 4.0 assessment and advisory to evaluate an enterprise adoption of smart manufacturing. The platform is a marketplace of technologies / applications / products for Industry 4.0 implementation through an e-directory. It provides case studies and connects companies with technology demo centres to have first-hand understanding and experience. Taking this initiative forward, CII is now in the process of establishing Industry 4.0 / smart manufacturing clusters and technology demo centres in various parts of the country. 

Connectivity and Speed of Internet

Universal connectivity and speed of internet are going to determine the pace of growth of the digital economy. One area, which needs further intervention is about strengthening our digital infrastructure especially related to broadband highways and mobile connectivity. For driving this important issue and to address the underlying issues, CII prepared a report titled ‘Broadband Infrastructure Fund for Efficient Digital Infrastructure Rollout’ and one of the key recommendations in the report includes setting-up of a ‘Broadband Infrastructure Fund’ for efficient digital infrastructure roll-out. The proposed fund could be used to finance various digital infrastructure deployment across the country. 

State Governments’ Technology Adoption

State governments plays a crucial role, not only in innovation and adaptation of new waves of digital technologies but also in the assimilation and diffusion of these technologies across the region. Technology plays a crucial role in the development of a nation, thus policies and initiative by each state contributes to the GDP and improves the performance of the country in the aspect of innovation and technology. 

The states are measured under five enabler parameters, and the output through two performance parameters. While human capital, investment, knowledge workers, business environment, safety and legal environment were identified as enabler parameters, knowledge output and knowledge diffusion were chosen as the performance parameters. 

India is one of the largest and fastest-growing markets for digital consumers. As digital capabilities improve and connectivity becomes better, technology will quickly and radically change nearly every sector of India’s economy. Breakthroughs in digital technologies, such as artificial intelligence, robotics, 3D printing and IoT, combined with nano science, biotechnology and advanced material sciences, are spearheading digital transformation. The pandemic has further emphasized the need and urgency to implement these emerging technologies.

The article by Mr Kris Gopalakrishnan, Past President, CII and Chairman, CII Digital Council, Co-founder, Infosys Ltd and Chairman, Axilor Ventures Pvt Ltd, first appeared in the November 2021 issue of CII Communique. Click here to read.