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In the age of technological disruption...
Companies are going to move from the former conglomerate model and set up smaller inter-linked businesses. Uber has just 6500 employees globally and 1.5 million cars and drivers. Paytm has 4500 employees but one lakh merchants.

Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru referred to Madras as India’s intellectual capital. Over the last few decades, the stronghold that the city had on ideas and achievements have dwindled. Many from the city such as Sundar Pichai and Indra Nooyfind success elsewhere. The Chennai International Centre, modeled on the India International Centre, aims at providing a platform to re-stimulate idea generation.

    Infosys co-founder and former chairman of UIDAI, Nandan Nilekani, flagged off the inaugural meet of CIC.  In an eclectic speech, he said that technology would cause positive disruption and propel India’s economy towards unprecedented growth. Nilekani named three areas from where the country’s growth will come.

One, domestic consumption not exports. The number of global trade deals is plummeting. The WTO has not signed a single contract in almost a decade. Countries are protecting interests within their boundaries and putting up barriers to outside entry, resulting in reverse-globalisation. The volume of exports in India has been falling. Conversely, domestic consumption levels are on the rise and this, Nilekani says, is where the potential for India’s growth lies.

Two, services, not manufacturing. Over the last few years, the contribution of housing, health and education to the country’s GDP has doubled. Globally, companies are reverting to local production with the benefits of technological advancements like robots, 3D printing and automation outweighing the benefits of outsourcing. India’s manufacturing sector grew at 9.5 per cent in 2014-15 while services grew 15.5 per cent. Service tax collections have grown faster than excise duty collections, with the former almost catching up with total excise revenue, evidencing that this sector is going to see tremendous growth.

Three, small businesses, not large employers. Companies are going to move from the former conglomerate model and set up smaller inter-linked businesses. These businesses will operate on digital platforms and partner with allied service providers thereby forming a chain of platforms. For instance, Uber has just 6500 employees globally and 1.5 million cars and drivers. Paytm has 4500 employees but one lakh merchants. This platform amplification will result in lower costs, higher volumes and better customer service.

 

Huge demand for training, certification...

 

Jobs will be created at the fringes of the platform and not on the inside, and this will create a huge demand for training and certification. The partners at the edges of the platform represent the brand and the company will require them to be adequately skilled.

Due to massive digitalisation of the economy, the Internet is no longer an elite product. While Internet penetration has saturated in global markets, India is at the forefront of the technology boom.

The Aadhar is one of few platforms worldwide which supports a billion people. The moment Aadhar is fully implemented, all transactions will be digital and a person will no longer have to be physically present to open a bank account or sign a document.  

 

Phone - banking will become ubiquitous

 

“Digitalisation has penetrated multiple sectors like e-Commerce, health, transport, food, etc. but the segment that is going to see radical changes is Phone Banking,” said Nilekani. He names three significant upcoming changes;One, Unified Payment Interface, which will enable users to pay from mobile to mobile. Two, Bharat Bill Payment System that will enable you to pay electricity, water, and insurance from your cell phones.  And three, GST Network that will be rolled out once GST is implemented and will process nearly five billion invoices a month.

Nilekani argues that convincing people to make payments technologically will initially be a challenge. The incentive for a small merchant is that his phone will generate a digital trail of his credit history, making it easier for him to get a loan. This will take us closer to a cashless society and help curb retail corruption.

“India will move to data-driven decision making,” says Nilekani. These huge volumes of data will generate algorithms, which will be decoded and interpreted by machines. This will change the way we do business. Digitalisation is going to be to services what the industrial revolution was to manufacturing. It is a game-changer and India must capitalise on it.

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