Government, startups should partner to solve the pain points of the country, say industry stakeholders at TechSparks 2021

In a panel discussion at TechSparks 2021, industry stakeholders discussed how technology can be leveraged to build a digital, transparent, and inclusive business ecosystem.

The COVID-19 pandemic changed several aspects of our daily lives, including communication, shopping, ordering food, and more. 

However, one of the biggest outcomes of the pandemic was digital transformation. In fact, experts claim and argue the next era will be defined by how we leverage digital solutions and technologies, including artificial intelligence, blockchain, machine learning, automation, etc., now.

In a panel discussion at TechSparks 2021 titled, Leveraging emerging tech solutions and innovations, for a robust digital India, industry stakeholders discussed how technology can be leveraged to build a digital, transparent, and inclusive ecosystem.

The panellists included Manoj Kumar Mishra, Secretary, Department of Information Technology, Government of Odisha; Rama Devi Lanka, Officer of Special Duty, Department of Information Technology, Government of Telangana; Drishan Arora, Senior Software Engineer, Google; and Revati Mujumdar, CEO, Goa Electronics Limited.

Lessons from COVID-19

Manoj highlighted that COVID-19 made everyone realise they will be able to operate more efficiently and effectively if they adopt new-age technologies. 

Over the years, people have realised the work that was done by humans primarily can also be done by machines, Drishan said. 

While India was on the road of digital transformation, the pandemic accelerated the speed of its adoption. 

Emerging technologies and trends

Rama said India has ushered in a wave of Industrial Revolution 4.0., where technology will drive organisations, startups, and small businesses, playing an equal role in contributing to the overall growth of the economy.

“Whether it is MRF Tyres or Google, IT is driving every company in India today,” said Manoj. 

He emphasised the next challenge for the government is to help more people and companies adopt technology or follow a hybrid approach. “It is when some bit of internet or technology can get adopted,” he added. 

Rama highlighted the government will play an important role in ensuring different technologies are delivered to the citizens. She listed some of the initiatives undertaken by the Telangana government to ensure the same. 

For instance, the state government has established various excellence centres for sectors, including e-waste, cloud, artificial intelligence, etc. Telangana is also in the process of establishing a centre for 3D printing.

Revati explained how the Government of Goa wants to leverage technology to uplift its tourism sector.

“Earlier, when tourists visited Goa, we offered them what was available in the state. Now, we are using artificial intelligence to understand what tourists want from the state,” she explained.

Democratising opportunity

Manoj noted that India has seen a democratisation of resources, paving the way for startups and small businesses to take the centre stage. 

“Gone are the days when large IT companies ruled,” he said, adding, “Today, common infrastructure and resources, which are required to scale up, are easily available, and that is why major disruptions are driven by startups.”

According to Rama, a partnership between the government and startups is vital to solving the pressing problems in the country. 

“We identify the gaps in the government and reach out to startups to come up with solutions to solve them,” she said. 

She added the Telangana government has allocated a special fund for startups specialising in emerging technologies.

Concluding the session, Drishan highlighted that the government should focus on partnering with startups to build on their capacity. 

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Edited by Suman Singh