– Prahlad Sabnani
India getting the chairmanship of the G-20 group seems to be proving like a boon. The member countries of the G-20 group are being surprised to see the incomparable progress that India has made in many fields in recent years. Since India is organizing various meetings of the member countries of the G-20 group in different cities of almost all the states of the country, not only all the states of the country are making special preparations for these meetings but also the delegates coming from different countries. We are also able to see glimpses of India’s economic progress in these cities.
The importance of the G-20 group is very clearly reflected in the information that the member countries of the G-20 group account for 80 percent of the world’s gross domestic product. The total GDP of 193 countries of the world is more than 95 trillion US dollars. In this, the size of the economy of the member countries of the G-20 group is 75 trillion US dollars. The world’s five largest economies (America, China, Japan, Germany and India) together form more than half of the world’s economy. In the year 2022, only 18 countries had a GDP of more than one trillion US dollars. 75 percent of the world’s international foreign trade takes place in the member countries of the G-20 group. Overall, the economy of the member countries of the G-20 group affects the whole world.
Therefore, naturally the purpose of the G-20 group is to deal with the challenges of the global economy and the responsibility of the member countries of the G-20 group is to maintain financial stability at the global level. Member countries of the G-20 group include – Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, South Korea, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, US, European Union , Turkey and Britain.
A special ‘Digital Economy Working Group’ was formed in the year 2017 with a view to focus on the digital economy among the member countries of the G-20 group. Earlier it was known as ‘Digital Economy Task Force’. The first meeting of this working group in India was held on February 13, 2023 in Lucknow. In this meeting, the outline of the journey of digital rejuvenation of India was displayed and topics like cyber security and digital skilling in digital economy and digital public infrastructure in India were discussed in detail. According to information provided by NASSCOM and UNESCO, the global economy is expected to lose US$ 11 trillion by the year 2028 due to the digital skill gap. Therefore, the importance of digital economy at the global level was accepted in this meeting.
The second meeting of the Digital Economy Working Group of the member countries of the G-20 group was held in Hyderabad from April 17 to April 19, 2023. In this meeting, India was considered as the basis of digital economy globally. Due to this, India’s G-20 presidency is seen to give a boost to the global digital economy. The digital revolution in India was presented as an example to the whole world. After getting the presidency of G-20, India is making a lot of efforts to reduce the digital divide in the whole world.
In this meeting, there has been a wide discussion on the use and impact of high speed mobile broadband. The way India has successfully implemented the digital system in the education, health, financial and agriculture sectors, serious discussions have also taken place on how other countries can implement this model. Along with this, consensus has also been reached among the member countries on taking forward the topics like ‘Connecting the Unconnected’, ‘Sustainable Green Digital Infra’. To see the development of 5G and 6G technology in India, a team of member countries of the G-20 group has also visited the IITs of India.
The member countries of the group have been so much affected by the digital revolution in India that many member countries have shown their interest in India’s digital payment system and are trying to implement this technology in their own countries as well. The digital payment system in India is now working very successfully on the UPI platform. UPI has onboarded 376 banks and 730 crore transactions worth Rs 11.9 lakh crore are being done on this platform. India started the ‘Digital India’ initiative in July 2015 and has reached this stage today.
Remember there used to be a time in India when ordinary citizens used to go to shops to buy products. Used to go from one shop to another and from second shop to third shop in search of better option and to buy goods at low price. Before purchasing the products, one had to go to the banks to withdraw the amount, so that the products could be purchased by paying cash. But after the digital revolution in India, now citizens can buy various products within minutes, that too on mobile phones. Imagine that today if a person in the country is saving 6 to 8 hours to buy a commodity, then how much time the population of 140 crores is able to save. Economic development of the country can be taken forward by making meaningful use of this saved time.
Along with this, ‘Digital India’ will also get support and this is also the foundation of future economic journey. Due to the digital economy in India, the bank has entered the pocket of the citizens, because with the facility of internet and mobile, citizens can transfer money from their account to another account 24 hours a day. You can buy the product by getting information about the price and quality of the products on the digital platform. Also, this facility has now become available even in remote rural areas of the country.
In terms of providing banking facilities to citizens, India has come a long way through UPI and today European developed countries are also looking towards India. India has been painstakingly working for a long time to develop digital infrastructure. Optical cable network has been laid till the villages, after the introduction of 5G technology, it is also being taken to the remote rural areas of the country, Broadband facility has been extended to every village, so that the availability of internet is at the village level. Stay up to Efforts have also been made to motivate the villagers to use these facilities. The Reserve Bank of India has actually launched a campaign to make citizens aware of how banking transactions should be done on digital platforms.
Due to the digital economy, the benefits of various schemes being run by the Central Government and the State Governments for the benefit of the poor are being made available to crores of citizens very easily. The money of subsidy etc. being given under the above schemes is also directly deposited in the accounts of the beneficiaries, due to which the leakage of income has been completely eliminated. Successful efforts have also been made to achieve the goals of financial inclusion by linking bank accounts, Aadhaar cards and mobiles opened under Jan Dhan Yojana. Also, maximum government services are being brought on the digital platform so that more facilities can be provided to the citizens.
Mr. Angus Maddison has been a world renowned British economist historian. You have done deep research on the economic history of many countries of the world. In the context of India, they say that from before 1 AD to 1700 AD, India was established as the biggest economic power in the whole world. Now through digital economy, India can once again establish itself as a superpower globally. Strong possibilities of this have started appearing. Due to several economic measures taken in India during the last 9 years, the engine of the Indian economy is now running at a fast pace. Almost all the international financial institutions are also continuously telling that the rate of economic development in India is going to be the highest in the world in the coming years.
Also, during the Corona pandemic, India has presented a successful example of digital economy to the whole world through tele-education, tele-medicine, work from home. Trained manpower is being prepared in India through the Skill India program, which is ready to provide its services to other countries of the world as well. Therefore, India can provide leadership to the whole world in the field of digital economy. If India moves forward, the whole world will move forward. History is also testifying to this.
(The author is an economic analyst and columnist)
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