I recently read a blog on “How COVID- 19 is accelerating digitalization” of Sanjay Doshi on KPMG website.

In this blog, it was written that COVID -19 affects the economy a lot but the digital transformation gained hype. Though the Digital transformation is difficult for both businesses and consumers. Digital offering was majorly by the banking and payments sector, which are pillars of the economy. The pandemic accelerated the adoption of digital transformation in the banking sector as well as in the larger financial ecosystem. NPCI has launched innovative and successful initiatives such as UPI, IMPS, etc. also the electronic toll collection). Low-cost data was also the reason for digital transformation. We can see there is a shift in online shopping from online shopping. Online payments help in easy transactions whether the payment is to the branded showroom or grocery shops, also there is convenience in big transactions of a business. For promoting financial inclusion programs, there is also a pressing need for an integrated approach involving FinTech businesses, banks, payment system operators, regulators, and even telcos. This collaborative approach could be key in bringing more people into the digital banking fold, both banked and unbanked. Better technology is required for digital transformation. Banks should more focus on digital centers for providing better facilities to customers rather than establishing more branches, as everything is going digital. COVID-19 has shifted major activities digital and has changed the system drastically. This transition necessitates not only digitization but also a rethinking of the entire value chain, which includes not only the customer’s experience but also other actors, particularly retailers. A collaborative ecosystem of stakeholders dedicated to digital transformation is destined to be the game-changer, allowing the general public access to banking and payment goods.

As this blog says the importance of the advancement of digital technology also there is a requirement for better coordination between many coordinating authorities whether banks or finance companies or the government. 

But do you think India is ready for this acceleration of Digital technology due to COVID-19?

India is the country with the second-largest population, with a population of 1378.6 million in 2020, according to Statista, and 748 million smartphone users in 2020, according to the same source. We can deduct from these figures that the smartphone penetration rate is 54 percent, implying that only 54 percent of individuals own a smartphone and that the number of people utilizing the internet is 560 million, or 40.62 percent of the entire population. (according to Statista https://www.statista.com/statistics/263766/total-population-of-india/

Following seeing this data, which is for the year 2020, it is clear that this is the data after COVID-19. Significantly still, we can observe that only about 80% of individuals own a smartphone, and the percentages for internet users are even lower.

Can folks who do not yet have access to electricity keep up with those who pay their grocers online now since COVID-19 has accelerated digitalization? Education is a vital aspect of the economy; today’s students are India’s future. A large number of students have been left behind as a result of digitalization. As a result of the inaccessibility of education to many students who do not have a smartphone or access to the internet, they may fall into a group that is not on par with students who have access to education due to smartphone and internet availability. The distinction may not be evident right now, but two groups of students will emerge shortly.

This physical distance pressure may hasten the adoption of digitalization, but those who are unable to walk at this speed may suffer as a result. COVID-19 had a significant impact on the educational system. Because of digitalization, the number of benefitted students in India is quite low.

When a structure is built on a shaky foundation, it will either fail in the future or cause further problems. So, before improving digitalization, the system should focus on building a stable foundation for schools and rural areas, as well as providing internet access to them.

When I first visited a village, it had more than 50 families; however, when I returned, it only had 5 families. Only individuals who do not require internet or network connectivity live in those families. That location has the least amount of connectivity, resulting in urbanization.

This digitalization, I believe, has the potential to halt urbanization. However, a firm foundation should be built in rural areas to make them more connected.

Finally, I’d want to point out that, while India was unprepared for this abrupt digitalization, people are attempting to keep up. Officials should also assist them because it has numerous economic benefits.

-Akansha Jangid

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