Talking about how India is at a really bright spot in the digital story, Nilekani explained three developments which are going to have an impact on India’s growth and economic recovery.
Starting with the growth of technology companies in India, he said, “People like Satya Nadella have said that the world spending on technology is going to move from 5% of GDP to 10% of GDP globally in the next decade or so. Which means there’s going to be a huge amount of investment of technology and people into digital transformation. And in India, Indian companies are benefiting from that.”
He also hailed the growing amount of activity in the startup ecosystem in the country, which is also leading to massive job opportunities in the tech industry.
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“There’s a huge amount of activity in the startup ecosystem and it’s estimated that the number of people in the IT services and BPO industry are about 4.5 million, and that is expected to double in the next several years. Imagine, it took us about 14 years to get to about 4.5 million people, but doubling that to 9-10 million will happen in maybe a decade,” he said at ASCENT eConclave.
He added that in the tech industry, every job recruiter creates four or five jobs in ancillary industries, such as transportation, food, and real estate.
Adding to India’s encouraging digital story, he said that India has the best digital public infrastructure in the world. Nilekani, who headed the project of UIDAI, proudly talked about the impact of creating almost 1.3 billion digital identities and the success of UPI.
“The UPI was launched barely five years back in May 2016. By October 2016, it reached about 100,000 transactions. However, in October, it did over 4.3 billion transactions and has a total transaction value of $100 billion. So, this has had a dramatic impact. Today, when I go out, every vegetable seller, every coconut seller, every small shop is taking UPI payments, and that’s really been a revolution,” he said.
The third development he mentioned, which will also impact the recovery, is the account aggregator network. He explained that users will be empowered with their own data and there will be many use cases for that, the first big being lending.
“Borrowers, big businesses or individuals will be able to use their own digital footprint and get access to credit. So, if I’m a small business, I can use the data of my purchases, or my sales or my taxes paid and share the data with the lender securely. And the lender can make an instant decision to give me a loan. Right now, that system is doing a few 1000 transactions, but there’s no reason why in a few years, it won’t do millions of transactions in a day,” he said.
He added that this will completely change the economy because unlike in the old model where a few large companies got credit with this model, every small kirana store or a dispensary, or manufacturing company, will get credit. This, in turn, will drive job creation and economic growth.