The government is working on an ambitious plan to create a set of special indices that will be bench-marked to Indian parameters. The idea is to reflect the true impact of the government’s recent digital thrust through schemes and projects such as Aadhaar and the Unified Payment Interface (UPI) via the Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM).
According to Aruna Sundararajan, secretary in the ministry of electronics and IT, the traditional indices, originally designed for developed economies, are not able to provide a real picture of the country’s digital advancement. The ministry has roped in consultancy McKinsey to help conduct a detailed study and come up with the special indices for India.
The government has also sought inputs from the private sector and hopes to complete the report by August. Union minister for electronics and IT Ravi Shankar Prasad has called a high-level meeting of industry captains on Friday that will be attended by, among others, Rishad Premji of Wipro, Sachin Bansal of Flipkart, and Rajan Anandan of Google, to help chart a road map toward a trillion-dollar digital economy . The digital indices will be a big discussion point at the brainstorming session.
At the end of the exercise, apart from the digital indices and the ro ad map, the outcome will also lead to a set of around 20 lighthouse projects on which the government and industry can collaborate to further increase India’s digital penetration.
Sundararajan said there are many sectors where digital is increasing efficiency or making for revenue gains, such as education and healthcare. There is currently no mechanism to capture this. The indices will mea sure that along with welfare benefits to citizens through projects such as direct benefit transfer of subsidies.
By Baishakhi Dutta