India has set a global benchmark in digitisation: Union Finance Minister

WASHINGTON, Oct 14: India today has set a global benchmark in digitisation, particularly in payment, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Thursday, asserting that this has not only helped the country’s fight against COVID-19 and its economic fallout, but also given a sense of confidence that India’s growth story is sustainable in the long term.
“There were times when global benchmarks, global standards were the ones which India had to look up to and say we have to catch up to that level, we will have to learn how to do. There are still a lot of areas where we still have to learn a lot of things and do according to standards set elsewhere,” Sitharaman said in her interaction with students of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).
“But on the digital (side), be it payment, identity, health, education, be it also the way in which your compliance requirements are being taken care of, India has actually set standards. There are countries which recognise that this scale of achievement, this absolute what it proves that it is unfailing over the years over the numbers,… with expansive modesty we actually have set global benchmarks in the way in which digital economy and the systems and platforms can do for us and itself for India is a big confidence booster,” Sitharaman said.
“Our economy is doing well, largely because the confidence in what has happened in the last two years is probably felt by people. And that is why I would think the economy’s revival is on a sustained path,” she said.
“Because of the global recession, demand is going to externally, my exports are going to suffer and because of a strong dollar against my Indian rupee … all this taken on board, there is a sense of confidence in India that we will go through this and we’ll be able to still perform.”
“It’s because of the way in which technology has been used for the public good. People are able to see that a constant approach is made for getting better credit, sustained businesses….,” she said. “These are the building blocks of India’s confidence,” she added.
Responding to a question, Sitharaman said the push for digitisation between 2014 and 2019 helped fight the economic crisis during COVID-19 and thereafter as well.
“The push that was given between 14 and 19 actually has helped us. And helped us in very many unbelievable ways. We were able to provide relief immediately during the long lockdown, even as all of us could remain in Delhi and press a button the money used to go to the account,” she said.
“Similarly, by that time, the public distribution system of the card that is given to the family had also been digitised. So, you knew how many people actually were where to take it and put it,” she said adding that during this period India also brought in one nation, one ration card.
“So having an identity, having a bank card, having a mobile, which is registered with the nominee, you’re able to communicate with all of them so very quickly, and equally at that time because we were able to constantly and from the, let’s say manufacturing module, about nature of the problem they were undergoing, we were able to give targeted credit assistance, and so on,” she said.
“We believe that the target approach was possible because we were technologically well-networked. And because we were technologically well networked, and we had authenticated identities of people already well established, we were able to the targeted relief provision. That helped us in that. We reached out to section when needed,” she said. (PTI)