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Will India join the digital age?

December 19, 2012

India might be the undisputed software developer of the world, yet China is fast adopting technology for improved long term performance. The Middle Kingdom’s software industry revenues rose 25.8 percent touching US$4311 billion or 1.96 trillion yuan in the first ten months of the year according to a report by China Software Testing Center (CSTC).

Going electronic, China is aiming to computerize her healthcare, education and other goods and services, for better efficiency going forward. While many of her systems are already computerized with a 75 percent satisfaction rate, India lags far behind in getting her population on the grid. According to a report by United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the domestic use of software in India is only 23 percent of total productions compared to almost 90 percent in China. Moreover, Chinese production is almost three times to that of India.

It is then deplorable to imagine that while Indian companies produce some of the most eye popping customised software solutions for applications worldwide, in her own country, Delhi finds it difficult to systematize goods and services to improve efficiency. Investments in software solutions on a large scale by the government have been dismal as was recently witnessed in the Aadhaar card program which aims to give identity cards to every Indian citizen. Pioneered by Infosys helsman Nandan Nilekani, the success of the Aadhaar card which was envisaged to be used to procure everything from credit to corn is limited to Indias large cities. Few in the rural areas have access to regular electricity which is vital to keep computers going. More importantly, besides the manually conducted once in a decade census, New Delhi has a relatively little command or control over her citizens. India needs to wake up to the digital age and build those same world class systems for herself.

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