Can we create a digital infrastructure robust enough, large, functioning and sustainable enough that it does not make us feel the absence of physical infrastructure in India? How does India democratize its own platforms such that technology is accessible to everybody at scale and at the cost that India can afford?
These are a couple of questions that were addressed by Arvind Gupta, IdeasWall Incubator who spoke on “Why Data is the new Oil”.
Below is an excerpt from his keynote speech:
“Data is the new oil.” The new generation is producing data like we have never produced before. The amount of video data that got produced in 2016 has already been surpassed in this year already. And the same will happen next year — That’s the amount of data consumption that has been happening.
India is at the forefront of building the world’s leading digital infrastructure. And it’s amazing how and in what speed we have built this infrastructure in India. The digital infrastructure is such that it can be used by anybody on either side of the digital demand. That’s the basic design principle of the infrastructure that India has built. And it ties into the whole theory of “Data is the new oil”. But although India has been the biggest producer of data, India has not monetized it. The top five companies in the world today are no longer the Citibanks or GEs of the world — they are all data and digital companies, the Facebooks, Googles, Amazons, etc. and when we use our data, everybody else makes money off of it but not India.
India has the biggest digital footprint in the world today. We have 1.1 billion people with a mobile connection, 1.12 billion people on our Aadhaar system today that has become the largest digital identity system in the world. And that’s the disruption that India is promoting and India has already developed the base technology for this. In less than a year, India has added 220 million bank accounts (Jana Dhana accounts).
What this Jana Dhana accounts, Aadhaar, and Mobile, also known as a JAM trinity (that no country has replicated in the world), we have massively disrupted the ecosystem.
The second big thing in this is that this works with the Internet and without the Internet connection which sends out a message of inclusion. We have 450 million Internet users in India by a company that added 100 million users in less than 170 days, that too, 90 percent first-time users. The beauty of that is the India stack. It is the basic identity layer interconnected with payments system that India has built. We have a payments system in India that works at virtually 1/10th of the cost of any payment structure in the world. And that’s why we are able to offer low-cost banking. That’s how we have brought down the cost of banking transactions from 2 percent points to 20 basis points. We have digital lockers that people can access through JAM. That’s the universality that we have built into our system. All these things are integrated with each other. India has broken all silos through JAM and India stack, and that is based on innovation as a public good.
This is innovation as public good.
Like Reliance Jio that used JAM and made the onboarding process (customer acquisition process) for its customers seamless and paperless, they have been able to add 7 users per second using the base technology that the government adopted.
We own the platform that India has created, that everybody is watching and using every day. This is the platform that has disrupted everything along with the rise of the smartphone that has bridged the digital divide.
And this trend defines how fast the digital revolution is happening in a particular society.
This is technology for the real people.