Microsoft founder and chairperson, and once most powerful man on earth Bill Gates applauded PM Narendra Modi's demonetisation strategy during his lecture on Wednesday at NITI (National Institution for Transforming India) Aayog on 'Transforming India'. He predicts that within seven years, India has great potential to become the most digitised economy in the world, not just by numbers, but also by percentage and proportion.
Calling the government's demonetisation measures a "bold move", he opines that this is an important step that will help India move away being a "shadow economy to a more transparent economy".
"The Prime Minister's bold move to demonetise high-denomination notes and replace these with new ones with high-security features is an important step to deflate India's shadow economy," said Gates at the talk.
India's Aadhar Card scheme has also been the subject of his admiration, and he is of the opinion that it is a unique and stellar move to streamline all processes. “Now you have something that is going to underlie all your digital systems, whether it’s banking, tax payments, tracking healthcare records,” he says.
Also impressed by the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojna that aims at bringing India's most marginalised into the ambit of the banking system, Gates said, "India has all the pieces in place for a compelling vision for digital financial inclusion. Aadhar will convert a cumbersome, paper-based account opening process into a 30-second all-digital system."
He is optimistic about artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud wave gaining traction in India, advising that India should capitalise on these new innovations, rather than be weary of rapid change, in order to augment its information technology sector.
He also met with several central ministers to discuss topics like digital inclusion, e-payments, and skill upgradation that he is keenly interested in.