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Why India has become key driver as world embraces digital infrastructure

India's digital thrust to increase further

As the world now aggressively looks to expand digital ecosystem with a thrust on new emerging economies, India’s role is expected to get amplified. A host of companies, either looking to make a foray into India or those keen on expanding their existing operations, are set to tap the country’s emerging new economy sectors including the rapidly growing digital infrastructure.

“We will seek greater cooperation from India in the digital sphere as more and more (Japanese) companies are switching from the so-called traditional sectors such as automobiles and electronics. The new age sectors will be the growth drivers and India will play a key role in this shift,” a senior executive of the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) told India Narrative.

New economy industries and future growth drivers such as fintech, artificial intelligence, communications and even biofuel segments along with electric vehicles, are typically labour intensive. The importance of digital framework and competitiveness has particularly become pronounced in the post Covid phase.

A few months ago, a working paper of the International Monetary Fund said that India’s development of a “world-class digital public infrastructure” will be a model for other nations undergoing digital transformation.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has already said that India is ready to share its experience with the world. “We offered our CoWIN (Covid Vaccine Intelligence Work) platform for global good during the Covid pandemic. We have now created an online global public digital goods repository – the India Stack. This is to ensure that no one is left behind,” Modi said earlier at a G20 meeting in Bengaluru.

According to EY, digitalization is a big technological change which is underway and how countries adopt these technologies will lay the groundwork for the coming decades as it will increase economic efficiency and competitiveness while creating new businesses and products, and addressing challenges relating to increasing financial inclusion, improving governance and reducing disparities.

India has witnessed a surge in its digital economy.

The country’s Internet penetration increased fourfold in the past decade, rising from 12.6 per cent nationwide in 2012 to 48.7 per cent penetration in 2022. In absolute numbers there are 692 million internet users in India, second only to China. But for India, the number is rising exponentially.

India’s Unified Payments Interface (UPI) transactions crossed the 10 billion mark in August.

“This is exceptional news! It is a testament to the people of India embracing digital progress and a tribute to their skills. May this trend continue in the times to come,” Modi said on X (formerly Twitter).

While the UPI transactions touched 10.58 billion in August, the amount dealt during the month was Rs 15.76 lakh crore. There has been a 61 per cent year on year growth on transaction count, while in terms of transaction amount, there has been a 47 per cent year on year growth between August 2022 and August 2023.

At the just-concluded 18th G20 summit, India showcased its growing influence in digital infrastructure with a thrust on key digital frameworks– Aadhaar, DigiLocker, UPI among others.

Also read: UPI transactions cross mammoth 10 billion mark, PM Modi applauds