Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) Chairman Mukesh Ambani addressed the Republic Summit on the topic of 'Opportunities for a billion people' on Wednesday and comprehensively laid down a roadmap for India that encompassed five major areas that the country needs to embrace for it to rise to its utmost potential, specifically in the digital era.
Here are the elements -
1. Prepare for a period of information and digital abundance
"First we need to prepare ourselves for a period of information and digital abundance. All Indians will have access to massive computing on the cloud and access to all information on the planet. Jio is determined to connect everyone and everything, everywhere, always at the highest quality and at the most affordable price. Instead of a digital divide, India today is digitally connected and 1.3 billion connected minds are going to accelerate this future. Digital platforms make it possible for many consumers to be entrepreneurs at the same time. Imagine a force of 1.3 billion-strong network of consumers and entrepreneurs having access to all knowledge and all computational powers at an extremely affordable price.
Every single aspect of our lives, the way we earn, our living will undergo a massive transformation, not in 100 years or 50 years but just within a few decades. Early adopters will have the opportunity to leap ahead of the competition and create unparalleled societal values," he said.
2. Adapt for the art of collaboration
Mr Ambani said, "We need to adapt ourselves to the pace of innovation and learn to collaborate on a scale. All new technologies are accelerating in speed, rate, and power. You could be an expert in any one but its the combination of the two, three or four of these technologies that are transforming existing ways of working. Which means, collaborations will become both a necessity and requirement for success. You may have a brilliant idea that has the potential to disrupt an industry, we need to transform the idea into breakthrough innovation. In order to do that you have to master the art of collaboration with your peers anywhere in the world. In the digital world, none of us is as smart as all of us put together."
3. Boost digitisation in schools
"Citing the significance of digital education, Mr Ambani said, "We have to shift to a system of a time-bound education to continuous learning. Now it is both possible and necessary to re-orient education for a new kind of productive and creative opportunities. We have to groom our children to be digitally savvy right from school. Schools should train students in the four C's- critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity. These are the skills required to build a foundation for sustained leadership in the digital age for India. Within a single generation, we can empower and enrich our vast and young human resources to give India a competitive edge in the world," Ambani said in his address
4. Digitisation in employment sectors
To boost the workforce, digitisation should be absorbed in various platforms, further elaborating, he said, "It is to ensure that new and disruptive technologies create more employment opportunities than they take away. I have no doubt that they will, but I, however, there is a lot of apprehensions. These very apprehensions could resist or delay the digital transformation of our society and that would be a mistake. Therefore governments, business, and civil society organisations should put together an ecosystem for massively upscaling our work-force. Significantly, most of the upscaling can happen on digital platforms."
5. Digital privacy
He said, "In this new world, data is the new oil and data is the new wealth. India's data should be owned and controlled by the Indian people and not the corporate, especially global corporations. The Supreme Court of India has mandated that data privacy is sacrosanct. Therefore for India to succeed in this data-driven revolution, necessary steps will have to be taken to migrate the control and ownership of Indian data back to data, in other words, Indian wealth back to India. Data colonisation is as bad as previous forms of colonisation. Similarly, data freedom is as precious as the freedom we won in 1947."
"Today we have the opportunity to digitally reinvent all sectors of our economy be it financial services, commerce, manufacturing, arts, and craft, agriculture, education, and healthcare. India can leap from competition and lead the world in each of these sectors," he added.
He then focused on three important sectors - agriculture, education, and healthcare
"First I have chosen agriculture because we cannot ignore the reality of under-development in rural India. Over 60% of Indians live in rural India villages and by 2050 there will be 300 million more Indians to feed. Today our average farm yields are only about 20-30% of the best global yields. We can substantially increase the income of the farmers by encouraging adoption of technologies for water conservation, soil management, precision farming, and waste reduction. There is both a pressing need and a golden opportunity to create a digital green revolution and evergreen revolution. If we combine digital technology tools with the innate knowledge and wisdom of Indian farmers, we can usher in an evergreen revolution".
Citing the significance of digitisation in education sector, he said, "The second big opportunity is in education. India's youth is our biggest asset but we need good quality education for all to make a productive asset. We need digital tools and innovation tools to break geographical, social, language and economic barriers. 58 thousand colleges, over 700 Universities and 19 lakh schools in India will be digitally connected with Jio playing a leadership role in this connectivity. Any student even in the remote village can have access to the best teachers and the latest knowledge in the world. AI-based smart assistance can bring personalised learning, adapted to the needs of each student and this can overcome the gaps and constraints of classroom education like any age, any time and any subject learning in any language."
"Thirdly, healthcare is a basic human right of every Indian. The purpose is to ensure affordable and quality healthcare to all which is both a national necessity and a national responsibility. For the first time in history, this has become possible because of digital technologies accessible even in remote locations. Today constraints of budget and physical infrastructure and trained personnel make it difficult to deliver quality healthcare to India's large and growing population. India can overcome these constraints by adopting digital tools and innovations. As in education, the best doctors and best diagnostic facilities can become accessible to all citizens anywhere in the country. India can design a pathbreaking an affordable healthcare system that will be a model for the rest of the world. Similar disruptive and scale opportunities exist in India in virtually every domain. Let me quote Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, 'India's contribution towards the fourth industrial revolution would leave the world stunned'. These words will be prophetic.
"Across the world, the digital era is dispelling dispair and bringing new hope. I can predict from now on every new generation of Indians will live a better, longer and more fulfilling life than the previous generation. India must embrace this digital, fourth industrial revolution with a new mindset to create a bright and prosperous future for our nation. As a nation we must rise to this occasion, the climb is difficult and the challenges are many and the goal cannot be achieved by any one person, one enterprise or by any single government. All of us will have to work together with a single purpose to realise this. We must have a partnership among all sections of society, to realise this potential in the shortest possible time. Collectively lets commit ourselves today to work together to make surging India a reality and make it irreversible and unstoppable. May God bless us all as we embark on this new exciting era in India's history," he said.