Digital transformation in India
Monday October 17, 2016,
5 min Read
The way societies operate and interact with each other has drastically changed with the advent of the digital revolution. Over the years, the impact of technology has been profound, not just in terms of making our lives easier, but also in terms of our approach to the way we carry out tasks, solve problems and resolve issues.
There is no doubt that our leaders understand the role that technology can play in realising the vision for India’s growth – it is at the core of the Digital India programme and a key driver across all plans devised by the Indian Government over the last two years. The government recognises the transformative power of technology and sees it as an enabler for the change that we all seek- be it in delivering better citizen services, digitising education records, efficient and productive functioning, or using technology to provide a new social security platform.
Cloud is really at the core of the technology revolution that we see around us. Today, cloud computing is making it possible to drive intelligence and insights from the immense magnitude of data available, converting it into predictive and analytical power. This power puts data and cloud computing at the centre of the analysis and action that governments are taking to address different societal issues.
Education, agriculture and healthcare are critical for the progress of our country, and the ability of software to make an impact in these areas will ensure that we are successful in empowering our citizens. We are partnering different state governments as well as private and public institutions to come up with solutions that have the potential to fundamentally handle major challenges in these three sectors.
Keeping kids in school
India has more than 250 million students enrolled in government and private schools. While this is one of the largest school enrolment figures in the world, unfortunately, more than 70 percent of children never complete their education. With the objective of preventing dropouts, we are working with the Government of Andhra Pradesh to help identify students at risk of dropping out and design targeted intervention programmes.
This is done by applying machine learning and advanced visualisation techniques that take into account multiple data points, including a student’s board exam performance, post-exam enrolments, school facilities, and teachers’ abilities and skills. This solution has been taken to 10,000 government schools across Andhra Pradesh and has produced 600,000 predictions. We now have a 360-degree view of students, mapped using close to 100 variables. The interface also allows officers to counsel students accordingly.
Bringing much needed information to farmers
Agriculture is the backbone of the Indian economy. The sector is the largest generator of employment in the country, and accounts for 16 percent of our GDP and over 10 percent of our exports. However, changing weather patterns have resulted in millions of farmers facing an uncertain future due to crop failure. We have partnered with ICRISAT (International Crop Research Station for Semi-Arid Tropics – a United Nations agency) to analyse volumes of data on weather forecasts, local rainfall and soil conditions. This data was analysed to develop a “Sowing Date” application that tells farmers the right sowing date to maximise their yield.
Access to this platform for farmers was simplified by providing information to farmers via SMSes in Telugu. In addition, we also collaborated with ICRISAT for the Government of Andhra Pradesh on another solution - a Personalised Village Advisory Dashboard, developed using Power BI tools - to provide an instant overview across several environmental factors that determine a healthy crop yield. The pilot was conducted at the start of the kharif season in Devenakonda village, located in the Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh.
Assessing the efficacy of medical treatments
In healthcare, we are collaborating with LV Prasad Eye Institute, a not-for-profit eye health institute that offers comprehensive patient care, rehabilitation services and high-impact rural eye health programmes, on a machine learning and data analytics model. Using EyeSmart, an award winning ophthalmic electronic medical record and hospital management system, and Microsoft Azure, LVPEI has registered over 400,000 new patients digitally.
This helps the institute predict the success of Lasik eye surgeries based on past medical records and surgical parameters, providing doctors with actionable insights and enabling them to develop better treatment plans and interventions. The impact of this can be tremendous. In India alone, an estimated 12 million people are blind and 54 million people are visually impaired. 72 percent of these cases are treatable. This unique solution can ensure breakthrough work not just in eye care, but also in other critical areas like diabetes, heart-related illnesses, infectious diseases, and child health as well.
These are just three instances in education, agriculture and healthcare that really open our eyes to what is possible with the cloud. Closely tied to the power of cloud computing is the fact that the benefits of the digital transformation will be all encompassing only when its citizens are digitally empowered. It is, therefore, critical to provide low cost internet access to the masses and bring several million people on the right side of the digital divide.
This is where low-cost and effective technologies such as TV White Space can play an instrumental role. They have the potential to accelerate rural internet, and become the backbone of a Digital India, by providing much needed access to technology and extending opportunities to the underserved. We are also working with the Government of Maharashtra to develop a smart village in Harisal, in collaboration with an ecosystem of partners.
These are but a few glimpses of how technology can transform India and the world. Digital India seeks to transform India into an empowered society. We are a proud and committed partner in driving this transformative change that the country is experiencing. We believe we have the platforms, technologies and solutions to support India’s digital transformation and positively impact the lives of a billion people.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)