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Over the years, technology has changed our lives. Through the platforms of internet, mobile, social media, computing innovations, technology has changed the way people connect with each other globally as well as within the national spectrum.
So, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) in partnership with the India Office of Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung organized the virtual dialogue on “The Digital Future: Raising the Bandwidth in a Post Covid-19 World”, which brought together stakeholders from government, industry, academia and media sharing their views on the evolving digital world strengthening pillars of innovation and connectivity.
- COVID-19 has accelerated the process of digitalisation. Technology is being inculcated into human habit and a behavioural change with respect to adapting to the New Normal and is also being incorporated into working patterns, social distancing, using proactive measures of social media or technological innovation.
- Digital connectivity plays a huge role in our everyday lives and is not only an economic necessity but also social necessity.
- There is a need to understand the difference between digitisation and digitalisation and to redefine the term digital.
- Digital technology enhances markets, addresses market failure and enhances people to people connect as well as creates new business models.
- Businesses need to better equip themselves in order to keep up with Industry 4.0 and Manufacturing 4.0 and adapt to the changing patterns of way of work, consumption and way of life.
- Companies are working in a remote manner and are moving towards Future of Work which is centred around digital collaborations like remote meetings, record keeping, platforms to connect.
- Organisations have been struggling to recover revenue, rethink organisational structure, rebuild operations and accelerate digital processes. Business continuity planning has been recognised by the world as a tool of actual productivity gains.
- The current pandemic has led to a surge in numbers of women in workforce and has created opportunities for participation of women in remote work.
- It is important to develop digital technology, in a sustainable manner and calibrated efficient usage. In this New Normal, focus is on digitalisation and the development of digital economy by developing e-commerce, telemedicine, e-learning, digital entertainment.
- It is important to have multilateral collaborations for enhancing technological innovations and advancement. It is necessary to have schemes to digitalise those at the bottom of the pyramid.
- In the education sector, e-learning modes need to be further developed. Online classes need to be introduced in both private and government schools wherein 40% of the syllabi could be completed online and classroom teaching could be used for project and practical research related work. Students could be provided with tablets preloaded with educational software and Government initiatives like the ‘Swayam Prabha Programme’ could be enhanced through creation of content in in regional languages.
- The agriculture sector can benefit with the integration of digital agriculture through data creation with regard to land records, weather data, crop history in different regions, and customised Agri-advisories to farmers in their regional language. The agricultural start-ups should be encouraged and the next generation needs to be trained and skilled on the proper utilisation of digital technology.
- The healthcare sector which has been through rough waters in the current pandemic, needs a boost wherein healthcare facilities, telemedicine and online consultations can be made available. The government’s initiative to build a telemedicine switch to ensure the availability of basic healthcare services in both urban and rural areas, can help citizens to connect with healthcare service providers on a digital platform. This would require the right legal framework to maintain electronic health records and ensure security of heath data.
- The digital divide needs to be addressed and bridged especially in rural India through the enhancement of low-cost digital connectivity and devices. Making apps accessible in feature phones to enhance digital connectivity in the rural areas is the need of the hour.
- The constraints in the usage of platforms for digital transactions and digital currencies need to be addressed in the policy sphere. With regard to digital pervasiveness, policies need to be re-designed, data security and cyber security need to have proper regulatory regimes.
The fourth FICCI-KAS Dialogue examined the digital future with a view on connectivity, innovation and transformation in a world affected by this global pandemic. The speakers deliberated on the critical challenges which humanity faces with regard to sustainable digital solutions as well as inclusive digital future for all stakeholders especially with regard to access and affordability across the world.