Social and financial equity is crucial to the progress of a nation. Technology is a key enabler in driving this inclusion. Innovation also plays a key role in this journey towards sustainable inclusion and growth.
With the government encouraging the adoption of technology across various sectors, India has witnessed significant technological advancements. The rapid digitisation and adoption of smartphones, even in the most remote corners of the country, provided a greater fillip to this adoption. Technology has improved access to previously unbanked sections of the country. Government schemes like the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana; Aadhar, and UPI have resulted in 90 percent of India’s 1.3 billion population getting an Aadhar identity by 2018 and over 330 million new Jan Dhan bank accounts being opened in four years. According to Global Findex Data, in less than a decade, the number of bank account holders in India has doubled to nearly 80% in 2018 from 40% in 2011.
Despite this growth, India continues to have a large unbanked population, and many resort to informal and often exploitative financial systems.
Chit funds, also known as kitty or chitty, are one such popular source of quick investment among lower-income groups. However, transparency remains a key challenge.
To bring transparency to the registration and operational processes of chit funds in Telangana, fintech startup ChitMonk, with its T-Chit platform, uses private commissioned blockchain technology across the entire life cycle of a registered chit fund to record the sequence of events. The solution uses Amazon Web Services (AWS) for multiple document management activities. “Deploying a blockchain network on cloud is easy to manage and maintain too, given the complications we generally have for an on-premise setup,” ChitMonk Founder Pavan Adhipuram.
eGovernance and Inclusion
The government’s push towards inclusion is being driven by various schemes that focus on economic revival and inclusive growth. These schemes aim to eliminate poverty; bring agricultural reform; and ensure time-bound delivery of government services, e-governance via mobile devices.
These schemes include Mobile; Direct Benefit Transfer and PM’s Bima Yojana. The Punjab Municipal Infrastructure Development Company (PMIDC), which helps citizens avail digitised municipal services, worked with eGovernments Foundation to implement the open source governance platform, DIGIT, on AWS. “This enabled the rollout of 12 Identified applications in less than six months,” said Ajoy Sharma, Secretary, LG & Chief Executive Officer, PMIDC.
In Odisha, the Odisha Livelihoods Mission (OLM) has implemented the National Rural Livelihoods Mission and National Rural Livelihoods Project to reduce rural poverty. The OLM platform developed by Unmiti developed an integrated and holistic platform that enables organisations to launch, coordinate, and track the impact of projects.
A catalyst for inclusion
Having access to digital platforms has helped people in India even in the remotest corners of the country adopt technology easily and bridge the intellectual divide that exists in the country. Nowhere is this more evident than in agriculture, which is still the largest contributor to the country’s GDP. Many of the country’s farmers are smallholders with limited resources, which put them at the mercy of middlemen.
Agritech startups like Whrrl addressed issues around fraud in warehouse management and financing through Blockchain and QR solutions. The solutions built on AWS technologies have helped farmers get easy access to loans and increase their incomes.
Across the world, technology has been the biggest enabler in bringing about transformation. The right disruptive technologies, which have mass reach, can accelerate that transformation and bring benefits for all.
We are celebrating this contribution through the Serving a Digital-first India eBook– a snapshot of how various organisations are enabling innovation and digital empowerment across India through AWS technologies.