In 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the Digital India initiative to bring India online. While the aim of this initiative is broad, we believe that there are four areas where American companies may find great business opportunities.
SMART CITIES: The government announced the 100 smart cities by 2022. The purpose of these smart cities is to improve physical, economic, and institutional infrastructure and make them more citizen friendly. Some of the key elements envisioned by the Government’s Smart Cities Initiative include:
- Adequate water supply
- Assured electricity supply
- Sanitation, including solid waste management,
- Efficient urban mobility and public transport
- Affordable housing, especially for the poor
- Robust IT connectivity and digitalization
- Good governance, especially e-Governance and citizen participation
- Sustainable environment
- Safety and security of citizens, particularly women, children and the elderly
- Health and education
Individual states and cities within India can decide how they want to tackle these particular elements.
WEB/MOBILE PRESENCE: Nearly 80% of Indian households own a mobile device, but only about one third of Indian businesses have an online presence. Given the rate at which mobile devices are continuing to penetrate the Indian market, there is a great opportunity for web developers to continue bringing Indian businesses online to reach more customers within their geographic regions and beyond.
FINTECH: November 2016 marked a significant pivot point for FinTech in India when the Indian government instituted demonetization rendering nearly all the countries currency notes invalid. While the effort was aimed at stamping out “black money” in India, the initiative created a huge opportunity for e-payment systems as Indians rapidly moved towards digital transactions.
Currently, the Indian government is heavily supporting FinTech in India through the following programs according to PWC. Through government supported programs including
- India Stack which provides entrepreneurs with a technology framework (APIs);
- Jan Dhan Yojana which aims to bring India’s population into the formal banking sector; and
- Aadhar which is one of the largest biometric identification programs to facilitate banking the government is making headway in closing the digital divide in the financial sector. Through these and other programs, startups and established firms are making inroads in India.
DIGITAL LITERACY: As the rate of digital transformation continues to grow, the need for Digital Literacy especially amongst the socio-economically disadvantaged is significant. Educational institutions and training programs are needed to continue bridging the digital divide.
Business interested in expanding their footprint in India in any of these areas can contact the Chamber to learn how to penetrate the Indian market.