From Digital Divide to Digital Dividends

>>Good afternoon, everyone. I hope you had
a good lunch. Thank you for coming
to this session. We will be talking about
the next stage in India’s digital journey. My name is Diksha Madhok , I am the editor of Quartz India. I have with me Chairman Premji and the deputy minister
of Singapore. Honoured to be here
with all of you. Before I begin, I want
to make this panel as interactive
as possible. I will come to you
with questions as soon as I can. I also encourage
the speakers to ask each other
questions. That will make the
discussion more likely. You can also tweet
about this. We are using
the hashtag IES F19. I want to talk about
what is a smart nation. Singapore has this
ambitious smart nation programme. Can you define
what that means and what you are doing
in that initiative?>>This March nation
initiative builds on something we
started many years ago called intelligent
island. The idea is that with technology, we can do things a lot
more intelligently . That was over
20 years ago. Since then,
technology has improved a lot. I believe digital technology will transform industry and society in very significant
ways. The idea of a smart city , as well as its
much nation, is how can we harness the power of technology ? In particular digital
technology . to improve the
lives of our people . In a way that we learn , the way we manage
urban infrastructure . So that we can have smart and sustainable
infrastructure that allows us
to meet the goals of sustainable
development. And looking at how it can help
to improve our utilisation . Especially infrastructure. And how we can improve
the way we manage a city. In most cities, we see traffic gridlock. When we think about
the way in which the internet of things is changing, there
is no reason why we should have this problem. With proper programming, we should be able to have greenways of traffic that maximise
the capacity of our roads . In turn, that reduces pollution, reduces
the use of energy. It is up to our
imagination . But a central goal is for us to improve the lives of our people . Whether it is in
the way they work, the way they
play, the way we learn, the way we
stay in touch with one another.>>Nandan , you were the
first chairman of the body
which oversees (unknown term). We mark 10 years
of that. I saw an interview where
you said there are three things that have
been game changers for India. Can you tell us
the kind of impact these three platforms
have had?>>There are three
distinct phases of the change
happening. One was identity and making sure
that 1.3 million people have an identity . That can be verified
online, in many ways. It can be linked
to a bank account. We have 700 million
people today linked to
bank accounts. That is the basis for direct
benefit transfer. More and more Indian public
entitlements are going directly into bank accounts , which leads to efficiency. This is transactional
efficiency oriented things. If you look at financial
inclusion in India in the last five years after 2014 , they opened 330 million new bank accounts. Using the electronic know your customer
capability , people could open a bank
account in two minutes. It dramatically reduced
time and cost and improved convenience. And the BIAS , the bank of
International settlements, has done an analysis. Under normal conditions, the penetration of bank
accounts would have taken 49 years. It has been done
in eight years. There is a dramatic
compression of time. One part of it is
getting these transactional
things done. The second big thing was
the payment reforms in India. There is a unique payment
architecture which arose — allows many people to
participate. In India, we have a multiparty
payment system thanks to N PCI . It is a non-profit utility set up
by the banks. They have launched a
payment called unified payment interface. Different banks
can plug into it and different
distribution channels. Google pay,
what’s up pay, Amazon pay, Apple pay . all are competing
on that platform. In December 2016 , before the
democratisation, that platform was
doing 100,000 transactions per month. This month, they closed
at 950 million transactions, almost
1 billion. Once everybody
comes online, it will be huge. It is creating a payment
architecture which is very low-cost, competitive, which allows you to innovate. That is the second big
thing that has happened. The third big
thing is that thanks to these
transactions , whether its
bank accounts or digital payments, there are no huge amounts of data. How to be leverage this data for the benefit of
people and businesses? Our thesis for the last few years has been the model of data
getting leveraged by India is very
different from the Western model. In the west, the
internet came up 15 or 20 years ago when ordinary people
were well off . As people started
generating data from their activities on the web, it became obvious where money could be
made out of advertising. That was the big business model
that emerged. In a country with a per
capita income is less than $2000, people are using these devices but that is not much
advertising you can offer to them. On the other hand, if 1 billion people have huge digital footprints , they can take advantage
of that data to get something. Better loans are
better healthcare. You put data
in the hands of individuals and small businesses
to get a big benefit. In the financial
services, India now has something called
the account aggregate architecture. It is a body
that will help individuals
and businesses use their own data . For example, a
small business can get its
bank statement from the bank, its income tax details,
something else. You have all that data electronically
in real-time and send it to a lender. The lender can check
the credit risk and offer a loan. You democratise
access to credit. These three big things . traction efficiency, payment efficiency and
ability to use data by individuals and
businesses for themselves. These are the three
big productivity leaps in the
last decade.>>You say India will
be data rich for it is economically rich.>>Individual Indians. If there is somebody out there using
a smart phone and using digital payments,
running a small business , his digital footprint is as much as
a small business in Manhattan. But the income of
the guy in Manhattan is much more. But this guy
has data parity and not economic parity. If he has so much data, that can be used by him
to improve his life . that is the philosophy.>>What kind of
business models do you think will crop
up because of this?>>Firstly, slow based learning. Historically,
lending has been big guys, large amounts for a long time , big assets. What this does is allow that small guy to get a working
capital loan in its small size for a short time. It is completely
the other end of the lending
spectrum. That will mean millions of small
businesses who do not have access to
credit today will start to
get access. It will be the
first example of data being empowered
for users.>>Are there any companies
doing this?>>There are already seven
or eight people who have approval in principle. There are 30 to
40 start-ups. The big banks
are doing it. It will be very
competitive and innovative.>>It is incredibly
important for digital equity. You want to ensure
that with digital proliferation, it is not
concentrated in the hands of a few. This is immensely
powerful and important.>>Coming to the
IT industry, how do you think that
industry can’t contribute any substantial way to the
next stage of digital revolution in India?>>I think we already are . The IT industry
model has evolved dramatically over
the last 20 years. People believe that the
model at some level is about cost and quality,
but it is about helping customers. The reality is , with how powerful this
device has become , as well as the data
that it throws out , there is tremendous
expectation that we as consumers
have. I want a different
experience from my bank. I do not want to walk
into a branch. I want a different
experience from my retailer. I want seamless online
and off-line. I want a different
experience from manufacturing company,
et cetera. How do large countries move from being
enterprise focused to customer
focused? I, as a consumer,
and amassing — and demanding that. It is a huge opportunity for these
new-age technologies to drive a design
led thinking that is customer
centric. Reimagining the process. Then technologies .
how can you be more cloud-based? How can you drive
more micro services? How can you leverage
intelligence to deliver those
services differently? How do I help the
doctor be a better doctor? How do I help the driver drive more safely? How do I help the
customer service agent deliver their work more impact fully ? There are tremendous
opportunities of these new-age technologies. We are still scratching
the surface in terms of where we are versus where we can go.>>Are there any examples
of public-private partnership in India with
the IT industry and the government that would be
contenders?>>The one that comes to
mind is that scaling program. You have to think
how you skill people. The body that represents
the Indian technology industry is the future
skills platform , launched in February
last year. The objective in
its first phase is how to rescale 2 million people. That is a huge scale. We have 150,000
to 200,000 people engaging today
with that platform. How do you work with
universities to enhance the capacity
of the teacher ? And then privilege — leverage the capabilities of
better students? We are working with
three universities today, probably 100 in
the next year or so. How do you open this
platform up to citizens? Anyone can have access
to new technology. The government working
closely with industry is maturing. This is a great example
of something coming together, in terms of
leveraging capability but also economically.>>Nandan Nilekani , do you have something
to add?>>We had the most advanced reskilling program
anywhere.>>We tried. I really led a group of leaders
at silicon valley. The biggest group was
educational technology. At the end I asked what they liked . They liked the additional technology . Then I looked at them. They did not look
totally happy. I asked them what
they did not like. They said they did not
like the assumptions behind it. I asked what the
assumption was. They said it was that the teacher
could me — be made redundant. I asked what we could do better. It is exactly the
point you raise. How do we use that to augment the
teacher’s capability and also to understand
education more fully? It is about developing the whole person and in
particular the social and emotional learning
of the child, the character and
values of the child, and also they pointed out it
is different when you are using that
for students, and in the primary and secondary
schools and so on , from using primary and secondary education for adults . How they learn
will be different . I agree . there is a lot
of scope for doing this , using technology
more effectively, but at the same time we
must also understand the issue much more broadly. What you mentioned about the educational
technology , augmenting that is exactly
the right path . I will add a footnote . it is not just
in the case of leveraging of additional
skills , it is very obvious , but there are other
aspects of learning that are not so obvious
for which that will not be enough. One is social and
emotional learning . The second key area is
how we encourage people to work together. All of us know that at
work what matters is your relationship with
people, and how do you work with them? The development of
social and emotional skills is not something
you want to delegate to an
application because then we become a zombie dealing with
these applications . You need this
interaction with humans, and humans learn in different ways .>>I very much agree. What I was talking about
was at a mature level . We do a lot of work
in villages in India. As a technology company
we initially through technology at the problem
and that was not the most
impactful way . You may be teaching multigrade or
multi subject at times. The quality and capacity
of the teacher makes all the difference, so social
and emotional balance, hugely important traits was excessively
live and technology does not teach you that. Technology can enhance
the capacity of the teacher but at
primary levels the capacity of the
teacher and engaging with the teacher is very
powerful and that has been our learning over
the many years.>>An important
point was made . the difference between
the way technology stuff is being seen in
Singapore in India and the way it is seen
in silicon valley. Often in silicon valley,
the argument is substitution so you
have the previous CEO saying he would get
rid of the guy in the front of the car, so
getting rid of all the drivers. You have someone
addressing the doctors and saying all of them
will be redundant. We view technology and AI as a way of making
people redundant . There is a backlash. It is about
amplification of human capability, about using technology to amplify people , get their potential
going , so if we can use
technology as an amplification of human
capacity as opposed to a replacement of
human beings, it is a far better way
to do it and that is the difference between the
model we have in this part of the world and
what is happening in the belly companies.>>What we should do is
make sure technology is human centric. — Valley. We should put humans
at the centre of it. Hardly help a person do
better, learn better rather than replacing
the human — how do we . I believe what it allows us to do is be more
citizen centric. What do our citizens need
and how do we as a government survey are
citizens better? In an area of
businesses, what I see in many successful
business models is they are customer centric
and they truly are , and digital technology
allows us to be customer centric in ways which
were not possible before.>>This is interesting
because I meet a lot of industry leaders and they
say the biggest worry is when millennials start
entering the boardroom because they have learned
everything on this and not through face-to-face,
human interaction but I want to go back to
something you said . technology will make
drivers. Make drivers drive more carefully
or teach better. There are studies in
India showing Indians are coming online
at a massive scale that they are mostly
using social media, not using services that can
improve other aspects of their lives. How do we fix that?>>I don’t know
if I agree. The space in which
technology is being used in India and Sony — in so many ways is
fundamentally changing. We have 50,000,005
years ago on wireless devices. A lot of services are
being used, new financial services like were related to, so I am
hopeful that the pace at which this picks up,
it is a question of time and you look at some of
the statistics consul to — consulting industry
share, so I’m not too worried about the pace
at which this adoption happens. You can debate on the
steepness of the slope, so I am very optimistic. What I worry about
is it is equitable . This is the point I try
to make . you do not leave people by — behind in this
revolution of change. One thing we have to
think about strongly is availability of content
in local language, for example. Predominantly everything
available today is in English but real content and how do
you ensure content is available in languages
in which people communicate in
our country? How many few hundred
million people speak English? We still have 1 billion
people who do not. How do we ensure
they do not let — get left behind? We should not create
another divide through this when we
have the chance to addressed it upfront.>>What you think
of Dick Doc ? — T ick To ck — I don’t have
a strong view.>>It is impressive how
their have captured dearly beyond Bangalore. — E — De lhi>>It is an amazing
phenomenon and if you had asked me five years
ago that a Chinese social app would be so
successful, I would have said no way. I think the fact they
have come from nowhere and become this massive
200 million user social media app
is a great achievement , and there are
Indian companies . share chat is a good example and very successful
so there are Indian companies but I think
also the kind of capital . tick-tock is about $35
billion so the money they can put behind this is far more
but there are good Indian start-ups in
social media but your question . the Geo effect that romantically
lowered the cost of data in India completely
change the game because everybody can watch
videos and so on and those that saw the ship
. tick-tock is one of them . could capitalise
on this better. But tick-tock doing all
of this stuff . this thing should be hard to
be leveraged this reach and get them better
education and health care, better loans , better jobs, so I
think from a social perspective and from a government
perspective these are technologies . We see this intermediate aspect
but we should focus on how do we make this
work at scale for 1 billion people
to improve their lives? That is really where
the question is.>>Deputy Prime Minister,
how did you convince people, especially when
we talk about senior citizens who may not have
the digital literacy that millennials have, how
did you go about spreading that in
Singapore and are there any lessons for India?>>India is a much bigger country than Singapore with our country having a smaller population. What applies to us may
not apply to India but let me share
a few points. One is your point about
being equitable. I fully agree with that. One concern is there
should not be a digital divide between
young and old. If we look at our digital
profile, the people in their 60s and 70s today grew up before Singapore
became independent. Singapore was independent
only since 1965, so in those days the education system was
not great so we do have among our world
all the folks less of a transfer of education and technology can be very
intimidating, so one day I was doing an activity
in my constituency where a group of volunteers
came to help and this is a program we do
throughout Singapore , but that day was in my
constituency, and they all downloaded the
app and so on , and when I checked with
the volunteers I found, to my great surprise,
they were all programmers at a major
company, so I asked them why they were doing that and was it not a waste
of their time? Since they are
programmers, that one hour they spent could
have been better used writing a nice programme. They said no, that
was not correct. They said they did not
realise as programmers how difficult it was for someone not familiar with this to go through
three steps to access it. They said the
greatest lesson was they would go back
to think about how they could do it with
one click. I said I was glad they learned something. The point is I think
you need a partnership , a partnership between
the people doing the programming , developing this with
our people and to really understand what is needed by each and every
segment of society. And your point about equitable is very
important because how’d we bring the benefits to people young or old? In this instance , it is something
we hope to do. You mentioned digital
literacy. We have a program to try
to develop, so last year I had a special bonus for
citizens because we had a surplus and I decided
to distribute the surplus to our citizens as part
of the Singapore bonus and we created a system
where, in order to encourage everyone to get
digital, if you do it through the mobile phone,
with your ID, you will get this month earlier than
anyone else, so we had quite a few hundred
thousand people who signed up and many of them
were seniors. That catalysed that. But the aim was not that,
but to get everyone on board. In order to make it
easier for citizens to be able to use it is
we now have a unified QR code in every
shop and in all , even our small stores,
so if you have a whole series of different QR
codes or different payment systems or
different banks, it will make a very hard for your
small businessmen to really have to install.
Here is a small store and imagine having
10 different codes there so we
decided to do one code that is commonly accepted
by the industry and across and all we needed
to do was get one code. There are the ways and
means of what we have to You mentioned digital
literacy. Young people spend so
much time on social media . There is a danger that
we are only in our echo chambers. For many important
issues that affect our society, you need more
people to talk. We cannot just have
a little echo chamber. Teaching our children to learn the truth is very important. If they are on
the internet, there is a lot
of falsehood being spread. I have two articles saying millions of dollars have been made investing in but coin. I have not invested a set in but coin! How does a report
like that , about. I had to make a
police report. I took it up with
Facebook and ask them to take it down. I had articles sent to my residence,
even to me , saying “Click on this “. The article is , “The government has
lost millions of dollars.” Guess what? When you kick on
this, it tells you of a great investment scheme. It didn’t say anything
about the government losing millions of
dollars, it was just a misleading headline. How can you then make millions
of dollars by investing
in this scam. I was quite upset
with that and told them
to investigate. But it raises an
important issue. The person who sent this did not send it
in Singapore. It was sent from a
server located elsewhere . But with the internet , you can spread falsehood in any
part of the world to any other part
of the world. Raising the digital
literacy of our people
is critical , to tell falsehood
from truth.>>Singapore has brought
new fake news laws. Some tech giants and activists have said this
will affect free speech. How do you respond to that?>>On the contrary . I was in Silicon
Valley in June and I spoke to a
number of people. A number of them made
this very important point. We are entitled to
our own opinions , but we are not entitled to our own facts . I thought it
was well said . We are entitled to
our own opinions but not to our
own facts. In many cases, these are simple
verifiable facts will stop the law provides a range of safeguards around this. If you want to improve
the quality of our discussions, we
must base it on facts. With those facts, we
can debate what is the better way of
doing things. Otherwise, our discussions
are wasted.>>It is a very important
point. What people
don’t realise is that part of the
reason for the proliferation
of fake news is because of a specific exemption that the internet platforms called by law. In the United
States in 1996, they pass the
communication act. Section 230 of that said that digital
platforms , internet platforms, do
not have an intermediate liability for
the information that the process. That was done in those
days because they were still young platforms. To encourage the growth of the internet, they
said they would be waived of all liability. It is not true of
other forms of media. If you are a television
station or newspaper publisher, you are liable
for what you publish. But internet platforms
were given waiver from that
liability. That is why we have
this situation. It is now a school
of thought both here and the US that we look at that. It is in some sense a
consequence of giving that freeride.>>In Europe, they have taken a
different approach. They also have was against false information. I would friends and Germany have that. — I believe France and Germany have that.>>Civil society is concerned
about privacy. Do you think it could be done
differently to build trust with society?>>I think everything
is perfectly right. In any society, laws and those kind of things
are based on demand. Something has to happen . The big contribution
is that the privacy discussion was brought
to the fore. It was thought to
the highest level in the Supreme Court
for nine years. It raised fundamental
questions. At one point, the lawyer
of the government said, “Do Indians have
a right to privacy as a fundamental right? Because the constitution. Nissan– does not mention that.” They went back to
the drawing board . That judgement was a very
good judgement that said Indians do
have a right to proceed. However, the state needs to do
something like increase revenues
are handle terrorism or national law and order , then that is
an exception. The other case
was tested against that. The second longest
running case in the history of the Indian
Supreme Court. It ran for days. Finally, they said
it meets the test. That categorically shows … The net byproduct of this was that India now has a clean definition of the fundamental
right to privacy. There has to be a lot for these things. The whole section
got revisited under that fundamental
right. There is now a whole set
of laws and casework. That has been at the
big achievement. The big achievement was that it created a
framework for India’s privacy laws.>>I have one
more question before I go to
the audience. India is a country of small shops. How do we digitise these small businesses ?>>That is a very important
point. In this e-commerce world , there is a tendency to
believe that e-commerce will take over. That is not absolutely
true. Today India is about
a $600 billion retail industry. Let’s say in the next 4
to 5 years, it will be $1 trillion retail
industry. The total of e-commerce
. you add up and is on and everybody — is on Amazon and everybody . more than 80 to 90% of retailer are still the small guy. But how do we get the
small guy to have the same access to technology
and product and supply chain and inventory that the big guys have? Everyone from different
angles is trying. There are many shop ups start-ups doing it. The basic idea is small shops
are here to stay because they have
great value . How do we make them more effective , more technologically
savvy? How do we upgrade them? Now they are paying GST so they are
on the system. They have accounting
systems . We are going
to see a news huge upgrade
of small units . Aggregated together, they
can be a force to take on e-commerce.>>That is well summed up. There is a huge interest
also in stakeholders who provide staff to the stores to ensure
they are upgraded. You have a sense
of information . You can be much more efficient in the way
you supply and work . There is a huge varied interest on this. I heard an interesting story. A lot of companies
today use the store as a
port of delivery to collect. That has become a source of income
for them. Stuff that cannot get to the house comes
to the local store and people pick it up. There are many genius
ways of leveraging it. I am of the view it
is here to stay.>>I was going to add
to the point about I think there is
a lot of efficiency we can give by reviewing
the whole logistics chain and supply system to small shops. We are in the midst of experimenting with distributed logistics centre. Today, you have probably 10 different trucks
going to a stall supplying 10 different
kinds of goods. But it is very
inefficient . It is a waste of energy and resources and scarce manpower. What could be done is
you have a distributed logistics centre where
you go to certain centres and whatever is needed
by that shop is packaged into small cartons will stop . Then one truck can deliver to
many different small shops. Each one of them will
have all the goods they need. If we can do the
logistics chain properly, the information
technology you can use in planning will
increase that savings significantly. That can bring a better life for
the consumers.>>Are delivery companies do about 3 million meals a day of delivery. They will take that up to
10 million miles a day. In the US, similar guys are not only delivering
food, they are delivering groceries. These dedicated
logistics firms are coming will take
different things, then they will optimise
the roots.>>I would love to
see if there are any questions. Do we have a Mike? Please tell us your name and ask your question.>>I’m here in my capacity as part of the global
shippers community. A fascinating discussion
on the future of technology. Someone who as an enthusiast
in this space, what this future looks
like will be determined by the policy governing
this technology. A lot of advancement we
have had in the tech space has big
been because of global datasharing. As a country, we
are moving towards digital protectionism. Do you not think it is better to have
a highly regulated datasharing regime, rather than completely blocking us out of the kind of
advancement this can give us? I would like to have your view on the policy front . As someone who looks global IT services
business. Prime Minister, how
do you see this affecting trade with
India and Singapore ? If we move towards a
data protection regime .>>I do not know if anyone
is saying completely data protection. The real issue is
not data protection. It is how to be
empower people with their data. What we have seen over
the last 20 years is the massive accumulation
of data which benefits companies
or governments but not individuals. How to be make it worth
more to individuals? That is why the Indian architecture of aggregators and so on is to put the data in
the hands of users. That is more important
than where it is stored. The fact you have
flipped it around to make it useful
to people.>>I fully agree that let’s not confuse protection
with localisation will stop there are
two different things. Secondly, if you start
with the right premise. The premise you start
with is that the person who owns the data
is the individual. You can work back in
terms of regulation from there. I don’t believe the
intent of the government is to shut off data. But how do we make sure
it is safe and protected? And finding the
boundaries to work with that. And working with
stakeholders to find the right outcome. I do not carry the
impression that the intent is to shut off
data because everyone recognises there is
huge potential there. do.>>I think there
is a cost to data localisation. You have a far richer set of
data you can analyse. We can do that, it
will bring benefit. How do we make sure at
the end of the day the consumers and not just
the company benefit? And flicking the switch
so consumers can decide. If a consumer
in Singapore or a consumer in India (inaudible) and we should not allow for
that and how do we evolve our system so it
promotes the maximum benefit? There was a point about
data protection and privacy . I think in different
parts of the world there will be different
trade-offs people are prepared to make. In some instances giving up the data will
allow for a different set of trade-offs, but
there is a risk in many places governments decide that they will
decide for everyone and that is the set of policy, and that is a negative .>>Plenty of hands.>>Neil from PricewaterhouseCoopers . You created
this platform for ID as a public good , and we had quite
a discussion around digital learning
and education as one of the
big problems . Has the time come to
create a similar public good platform for digital learning to really and
leash washed India stands for? ? — What>>It is already
happening in many ways. There are more than 450 There are more
than 450 million textbooks that are
enabled and that acts as a bridge . I think . On the higher education
side the government is very keen now on how to enable
continuous learning for its own bureaucrats because I think the
government and the Prime Minister feel intraday’s
world , you need to be current
and learn all the time , so I think you will see
in the next five years both at the primary level
and a higher education level. But going back to what was said, not to
substitute the teachers but to amplify the
teacher’s ability to teach and therefore. I
think that is the whole thinking.>>I write on the fourth
Industrial Revolution for London. When we look at education
and that is a fundamental digital
divide, there is one school of thought that
if you want to study technology in education,
go to a corner . Today you cannot be a
lawyer if you don’t understand data science. You cannot be a good
accountant if you don’t understand artificial
intelligence. Can we create a system in our
education system where technology is not on the
sidelines but simple things are mainstream
from class 0 onwards? I think in some of these
countries are bringing in concepts to ensure the
divide is entered from the beginning of
education itself.>>I think we will take
a few questions together.>>I don’t know if
you can hear me. We spoke a lot about. I am a business leader
at Amazon Web services AWS. We spend a lot of
time talking about the digital
divide between millennials and
senior citizens about bringing
tier 1 and tier 2 (inaudible) but one point I
would like to ask the panel is Internet enables education and education
gets you education publish information and
you become economically rich. Users, when you look
at absent social media , are mostly men. There seems to be a divide between getting access to the Internet and the
device is often taken away from women. I would like to hear if
there are problems like this that have been
solved in other countries but we are
leaving 50% of the population behind and
not accelerating their economic progress by not
giving them in some form or manner access
to the Internet. Can the government do
something by creating physical centres in
cities where men are not allowed to go in. Women can access the
Internet because the device will not
be taken away and I soundboard of this
idea with a couple of people but unless there
is intervention at a government level,
progress will not happen. That was my question
and thought on that.>>There is no question
there is gender disparity. There are reasons
for that. I would go towards
access as opposed to ownership. It is not about everybody
having a device. That would take years but everybody
having easy access to a device when required
in a classroom or in a (inaudible)
environment. We need to do more. We could certainly do
more to make it accessible to women.>>Do you want to take
the question?>>I have a question.>>I want to
say something.>>Whether we teach
coding or not, I don’t know. And there is a school of
thought that everybody in the future will
be bilingual. They need to know the
subject matter which may be urology or whatever
and they do not know technology, so
bilingualism is the future. We need to get the basic
infrastructure to get going. After that spending so
much time to teach tech or not is bigger.>>I agree. At a country level are
issues are so much more grave and basic that
it is a much more mature challenge
you are debating. Not everybody has to be
a technology expert. How can you leveraged technology to build
use cases? I am not necessarily a
big fan of that approach.>>I think the question
is how do you make tech mainstream? Not about teaching
everyone coding. I would say there
is lots we can do. There must be a basic literacy and numeracy
and in Singapore what we do a lot of in our
classes, particularly for mathematics, is to
teach logical reasoning because maths is really a
good cause for teaching logic, and as part of
logic and reasoning, if they want to go into
coding or programming, they can do so, and many students join
robotics clubs and so on. I have seen some
companies that use this very nice robotics
and they get the kids to learn how to
program this so there are different ways to do
that and the other thing we do is, while we focus
a lot on the ICT technology, what is even
more important is to get our kids to learn how to
apply what they learn. Everyone learns in
school about Newton’s law, we learn
about friction, but how do you apply the
concept of Newton’s law or the concept
of friction? So I started a program
in Singapore called applied learning program
where we get the students to apply what
they learn on a voluntary basis so
schools were given $50,000 each and they can
hire educators to do that and I was astounded
when I visited to see what they have done and
I’m very happy the education minister who
succeeded me. I did not want to do it for primary
school because I thought it would
be a burden. The primary school said,
it was unfair. Why was it only given
to secondary schools? We should start. I’m glad my successor has
now. Is going to make it throughout all
schools by 2022, so I think those are the
things we need to do . focus on the
fundamentals, which are very important
for learning.>>We have time for
one more question.>>There was a question
early on about women.>>I have a question with
regard to upscaling of corporate India. While we’re talking about
upscaling the youth and all of that which
is going at a fantastic pace, I feel a lot of people,
a lot of decision-makers in corporate
India, are not embracing digital
fast enough , and as a result , a lot of decision-making
which can be done using digital
technologies or prescribing (inaudible) or for the use and
teachers and students .>>I have a take teacher.>>Is there a
program for up skilling in India for
decision-makers?>>This is a unique
program. Reskilling at scale . it is a good point. We should be thinking
about that. We could also
think about re skilling leaders in terms of the
way they work but among priorities and the scaled
issue, I am not sure that this is something
that NASSCOM will try to prioritise.>>Digital penetration and
pervasiveness is so huge and its disruptive impact
will be found in every industry so if leadership
of these companies do not get on with it, they
actually jeopardise their firms. I think the markets will
take care of this program — problem.>>That is one aspect. Frankly, politically, it is not easy when you
say the market will take care of this problem. While we do not want to
protect firms forever, I think, as
a government, we can do something. One thing we tried to do in Singapore is
we started a program called productive
innovation credit, so go and use all these things,
so after a year or so, it ended. We saw restaurants, for
example, doing digital ordering, so the waiter
or waitress, instead of taking the pen. Pencil
and paper to take orders, they do
it digitally. I was very puzzled. After doing that,
they stop there. I said that if they
could do that, would it not be great if they
could do the infantry management, can’t
management, tax management and
everything else and that you would
be able to achieve real efficiency gains of
using an iPad to take orders? –i nven tory. We are looking at
how you can do it where the digital
upfront import of data can
be used right through , and the other thing
we are experimenting with is traders. Every trader needs to deal
with a bank , an insurance company
to do trade financing (inaudible) they need to declare the customs and
now exchange data , and I am discussing with
several governments how we can do port to port linkage so
the same information allows customs
authorities to check the information quickly and
without all the long and huge amount of paper
that is wasted in the process . very
inefficient . so there are practical
things we can do.>>I am afraid we have
run out of time. I just want all the
panel speakers to in a word or in a
line tell me what excites them the most
about India’s digital future.>>I think the
democratisation that is possible. If we can get 1 billion people to use all of
this that will create an explosion of benefits,
productivity and advancements.>>It can be a huge
equaliser between the haves and have-nots.>>What India can do
not just in India but outside of India
and the world , and I will be happy
to see collaboration between India and all
part of the world, starting with Singapore,
Southeast Asia. Prime Minister Modi and
my prime minister launched this pay system, so
tourists coming to Singapore can buy and transact
with rupees, so I think that is progress and I
hope we can do more and when I come I can use
some version of the payment system easily. If ever there fabulous.>>That some families. Thank you for this
great discussion. (Applause) — Sounds fabulous .


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