"I am a great believer that actually, if India has to grow at rapid rates of 9 to 10 percent per annum, year after year, there are only two ways, one of which is using technology to leapfrog," said Amitabh Kant, the G20 Sherpa and former CEO of NITI Aayog, during the Digital India Vision 7.0 event on Wednesday.
He said the passion, energy and vibrancy in the technology sectors is really the key to driving India's growth at 9 to 10 percent over a three-decade period. "Without that, it will be very difficult for India to grow," he added.
Talking about technology, Kant said that the Aspirational District Programme has been one of the key schemes of this government and has led to good governance. The programme was based across 115 'aspirational' districts based on 49 indicators, where their performance was being ranked on real-time data. The indicators included health, education, nutrition, among others.
"We ranked the districts on the basis of data, we created competition and that led to really good governance on ground. This good governance based on data really transformed governance," he said.
Not just the government, but more and more people have also been depending on technology to handle their money. Kant said that India would be the first country to be done with the debit, credit cards and ATMs.
"When I used to say this, people used to really laugh at me, but that is the reality. I mean, if you look at the payment across UPI, 6 billion monthly transactions valued over 10 lakh crore, with close to 260 million users and a merchant base of 50 million users and already merchants in 10 countries accept UPI payments and over 30 countries have expressed interest in adopting UPI," he said.
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And UPI, which started as just a payment mechanism has now led to something much bigger.
Kant believes that the India stack with its API such as Aadhaar authentication, eKYC, eSign is a very, very powerful tool and will really drive the whole movement.
"The platform approach taken by the government on conceptualising UPI and when it started, it was just a payment mechanism. But look at what has happened actually. There are now a whole range of new startups. I mean, if you look at - out of 106, 107-odd startups, a number of them actually started doing cashless paperless lending, look at Lendingkart, look at FineLab, all of them were doing cashless paperless lending, unbelievable, unheard of," he said.
The role of G20 on building financial, digital infrastructure
Kant said that G20 has a key and critical role in several areas, building a new financial architecture, building a digital architecture, looking at how climate adaptation and mitigation has to be financed, which many of the developed countries despite their commitment in COP21 have not lived up to. He said these are the key issues that would be discussed, debated and taken forward.
G20 is an international grouping that brings the European Union as well as 19 of the world's major economies together. India will hold the Presidency of the G20 from December 1, 2022, to November 30, 2023, culminating with the G20 Summit in India in 2023.