India is undergoing an entrepreneurial transformation with startup programmes gaining in popularity, and the government leading from the front.
Skype (2003), Spotify (2006), and Candy Crush (2016) changed the world in their own way. These apps were just a few of the numerous technology products that came out of Sweden, more precisely from Stockholm. What transformed Sweden from a country not known for technology to one of the top three tech regions in the world? Was it the fact that Sweden is known for its social safety net and wealth equality? Was it the confidence, security, safety, and support from an innovation-led government with a strong belief in futurism? Arguably, Sweden has seen the highest impact of technationalism where innovation for better health and living of every citizen is ingrained in the country’s DNA. The country leads the world in investment in science and technology. An enviable 4.27 per cent of its GDP is committed to research and development, which is well above the European Union average.
India’s technationalism: services driven
Technology services in India have grown from zero to a global industry comprising two major components: IT services and Business Process Outsourcing. The sector has increased its contribution to India's GDP from 1.2 percent in 1998 to 7.5 percent in 2012.
According to NASSCOM, the sector aggregated revenues of US$160 billion in 2017, with export revenue standing at US$99 billion and domestic revenue at US$48 billion, growing by over 13 percent. The US accounts for more than 60 per cent of Indian IT exports.
When it comes to financial technology products, the only global fintech product has been Finacle, the core banking product developed by Infosys and launched in 2000 after developing and rebranding its Bancs2000 software. Finacle has managed to make inroads globally but, till 2014, India did not have another global tech product other than a few like BYJU’s and Zomato.
Targeting the 40 percent centennial population, BYJU’s was among the first tech products that paved the way for change in Indian education when it was launched in 2008. A paradigm shift from textbook learning to interactive visual learning, BYJU is one of the few Indian consumer startups that has extended its reach beyond India and gone global, particularly with the 2017 acquisition of TutorVista.
Zomato, a restaurant guide and food on-demand service, established itself against American rivals like Yelp and Foursquare with the acquisition of Urbanspoon for an all-cash $50 million deal to enter the US, Canada, and Australia.
The paradigm shift in India’s technationalism
India’s digital technology nationalism story is actually just five years old. But in these last five years, the industry has seen a complete 360-degree shift with Jio, a global technology telecom offering catering to over 330 million users. Tata CLiQ, a first-of-its-kind phygital marketplace combines online shopping with the offline store experience, to serve over one million customers. These have come out of traditional Indian conglomerates who have been leading the growth of Indian industry over the years! We have also seen the ecommerce space and the e-wallet industry forging their growth paths with the likes of Indian platforms Flipkart and PayTM catering to over 1 billion Indians. At the same time, the likes of ZOHO, MSD and CLEVERTAP are taking over the online digital marketing technology product space and spreading their wings across the globe.
India is undergoing an entrepreneurial transformation with startup programmes like Startup India and Connect India making inroads into the psyche of India’s millennial community. Today global and national investors are backing their unicorns.
But the greatest impact will come from the government walking the talk and leading from the front. UPI, IMPS, BHIM, Aadhaar, and GST are set to transform the lives of 1.4 billion Indians and while stabilisation may take time, these initiatives - along with the open stack programmes being worked on by the government - promise to lead the country into a tech revolution.
The tech DNA of the country is being driven by the government, making one realise that true tech nationalism is making inroads into the Indian psyche.
A new horizon
India’s GDP is growing and with technology driving the country, it is only a matter of time that health, standard of life, safety, and security will show improvement. Against the earlier estimate of 269 million people living below the poverty line, according to government data, India now has 172 million, although the World Bank has revised the line upwards.
The march has commenced and soon this young country with 1.4 billion people will evolve into a global technology leader by sheer transformation in attitude and global thinking. Here’s to the next decade of India’s technology nationalism!
Sauvik Banerjjee is CTO of Tata CLiQ, and Vice President of Digital Initiatives and Advisory to Group COs at Tata Industries.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)
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