Home >Industry >Infotech >R. Chandrashekhar | IT can help Narendra Modi govt fulfil promises

With the party at the helm of a stable government being led by the most tech-savvy politician of recent times, Narendra Modi, the nation’s expectations on transformation are high. It requires imaginative and purposeful use of technology to accomplish the task.

Given the globally-renowned strength of the Indian information technology (IT) industry, one may be tempted to assume that the Modi government can be expected to achieve the promises made in the manifesto of his Bharatiya Janata Party. But a quick check on the ground realities shows it’s not going to be easy to implement the initiatives.

Despite generating revenue of $120 billion (around 7.2 trillion) and having a 50% global market share, it’s only the top 200 companies that contribute to approximately 80% of the revenue generated by the Indian IT industry. This means that the contribution from small- and medium-sized enterprises and start-ups is not substantial.

The Indian IT industry employs 3 million people directly and provides indirect employment to over 9 million. India has fast become a hub for companies that are extending their offerings towards domestic and global markets by deploying newer technologies like cloud computing and mobility. With such accomplishments, the IT industry is well poised to partner with the government in achieving the goals set out in the manifesto.

We at Nasscom, representing the Indian IT industry, suggest an actionable agenda that focuses on encouraging entrepreneurship, bringing innovation, streamlining operations and simplifying regulation to facilitate easy establishment and smooth operations of companies.

To encourage entrepreneurship and the growth of start-up companies in India, a government-initiated national technology entrepreneurship mission would be a great impetus. Policies that incentivize and encourage the start-ups for innovation could be brought under this umbrella mission for entrepreneurship.

To have a globally competitive IT sector in India, it is essential that skill availability is ensured to bridge the demand and supply gap. It is also important to build new markets and expand to tier-II/III (smaller) locations. Also, the diplomatic policy framework should be in place to proactively counter rising protectionist sentiments in developed markets and threats from competing countries.

A low rank of 134 in World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business in 2014 doesn’t help India’s case either for entrepreneurs and foreign firms to set up businesses here. Unpredictable policy decisions and inconsistent implementations in recent years have further fuelled the “India risk" factor. Moreover, many policies fail to take into account the nature of the IT industry, characterized by rapid changes, large number of start-ups, significant failure rates of companies, special funding needs linked to value of ideas, technology rather than assets and lack of tangible assets.

It is necessary to set up a business and taxation regulatory compliance that evaluates the business environment and removes process duplication and complex documentation for smooth operations of the companies/investors planning to set up businesses in India.

PM Modi’s focus on promoting e-governance to introduce transparency and fight corruption can play a key role in increased IT adoption. But current procurement procedures in the government are the biggest roadblock in rapid roll-out of such initiatives.

The rapid adoption of Internet and mobile phones has also created an opportunity to foster entrepreneurship in the country. Two key enablers for the rapid migration to a secure digital economy are identification and inclusive payment systems. Even the proofs-of-concept for mobile commerce have already been tested and offered by many services providers.

In the future, mobile payments are going to become more ubiquitous, and more cash economy will migrate to the digital mode. Therefore, policies are needed that cater to that kind of digital world. With a large mobile market, India can become the incubator for innovative services and products that could drive mobile commerce, e-health and e-education services.

We saw how technology can transform the way elections are fought and conducted; with ease, instant nationwide reach, low cost, minimum manual intervention and total transparency. There is no reason why healthcare, education, financial services, manufacturing, etc., cannot be similarly transformed.

The author is president of software lobby Nasscom.

Subscribe to Mint Newsletters
* Enter a valid email
* Thank you for subscribing to our newsletter.

Never miss a story! Stay connected and informed with Mint. Download our App Now!!

Edit Profile
My ReadsRedeem a Gift CardLogout