We are a No. 5 global economy, No. 2 in population and in military prowess, there are many power lists, but our best is usually No. 4 (behind the US, Russia and China). But when it comes to other important indices, we are way behind. Globally, we are just 63rd in ease of doing business. In the Human Development Index Ranking it’s an abysmal 129. In the Education Index it’s an even worse 135 and in the World Happiness Report, it’s 140. Till we get such indicators right, we can never have the right to call ourselves a developed nation.
But here is where Deep Tech steps in. As mentioned in the previous stories, it is key to governing a population of 1.3 billion. Good governance powered by tech is great for both the individual and business entity. In education, it can help to reach remote areas and bring down costs. Live online colleges can replace expensive offline colleges for the masses. India has a flourishing Tier II/III culture with great talent but most of them are forced to migrate to the cities. Now with the WFH culture, it is possible for small towns to be centres for large organizations. Towns can develop and compete with large cities. Healthcare is another area where Deep Tech (and as mentioned, nanomaterials) can yield rich dividends.
India’s trump card is the smartphone which has been embraced by even rural India and mobile broadband usages are among the highest in the world. For the common Indian citizen, the mobile can act as an I-card, education device, healthcare portal and e-governance solution to everything. On a positive note, in the Global Electricity Index, we have jumped from 99th position in 2014 to 26th position in 2019. We are finally on the brink of achieving 100% electrification, which can be the gateway to all other technologies. The final piece of the puzzle is agriculture. This year the Government of India embarked on agricultural reforms. Coupled with tech, this can go a long way. For example, IoT devices embedded across the agricultural network with the data in the farmer’s hands through his mobile can lead to real transformation. ITC’s successful farming solution e-Choupal was launched way back in 2000, but in 2020 we have the bandwidth to come out with a multitude of such schemes all over India simultaneously.
For India, the 1990s was the Decade of Liberalization. The 2000s was the Decade of IT Services. The 2010s was probably the Decade of China where we were finding our feet on many things. Now the 2020s could well be the Decade of India. But for that, the government, tech industry, Corporate India and SMBs will have to come together and get deep into technology.
Services may have transformed Indian IT, but a healthy khichdi of all the emerging technologies can transform the country itself to make it a Smart India 2.0. In the Post-Covid Era, we could race towards the $5 trillion mark sooner than you think and maybe the $10 trillion mark before 2035. But till we embrace Deep Tech at every level and make it our philosophy, the transformation will not be complete.
By Sunil Rajguru, Editor, CIOL and PCQuest