Promise to Reality: Powering India’s Digital Talent

Everyone is deliberating digital transformation, be it government, businesses or consumers, and perceptions and definitions vary accordingly. But digital transformation is much more than just embedding new-age technologies. It’s a foundational change and is built from the ground-up.

There are multiple examples that we see across the state governments in India. The Andhra Pradesh government deploys the CORE (CM Office Real-Time Executive) dashboard to track the performance of more than 30 departments. CORE allows everyone from the chief minister to the public to track the performance in real-time. Similarly, Jaipur leads the ‘smart city’ challenge with its digital infrastructure of intelligent kiosks, wireless broadband, security services, traffic management and environmental updates. In Visakhapatnam, the recently established FinTech Valley is a start-up playground for innovators – with enhanced FinTech ecosystems that inspire mutually beneficial cross-border collaborations and relationships.

This is what Digital India looks like today. Since the launch of the Digital India movement, India is rapidly evolving to becoming a global digital partner and innovation hub. As per Nasscom, there are 8100+ companies offering digital solutions, 2000+ digitally focused start-ups, 1250+ Global Contact Centers (GCCs), a 30 percent growth in digital revenues, and more than 400 Artificial Intelligence (AI) start-ups.

Digital: Pivot to Nation Building

India’s vision is to extend the digital reach to every sector of the economy to all corners of the country, and positively impact the lives of all citizens. It is a purposeful goal of integrating a world-class digital environment with data and a global hub of skilled workers. It also has a strong mission of connecting unserved and underserved people to solve pressing but unsolved issues.

The Indian scene cannot be more promising. The digital economy is estimated to generate significant employment in the next few years – especially in Tier II and Tier III cities.

With more than four million direct employees, and ~600,000 digitally skilled people, India is the largest source of digital talent for the world. However, if we are to sustain this advantage, we need to look at it as a continuous exercise of skilling and upgrading capabilities.

Nasscom’s FutureSkills initiative has set a target to upskill two million technology professionals and skill another two million in high-end technologies such as Internet of Things, Robotic Process Automation, big data and analytics.

Personally, my recommendations to enhance our efforts in this direction towards building future-ready talent hinges on the following:

  • Re-design curriculum across schools and universities to start ‘early-on’ digital, social and cyber security modules. Additionally, focus on business and leadership skills
  • Set up a cyber security consortium led by the government, and comprising leading technology companies, global associations of repute and educational bodies
  • Create an integrated digital education platform for students with customizable, local language content
  • Launch the Public Private Partnership (PPP) platform to re-skill IT workers in areas such as AI, big data, analytics and blockchain