Founding Fuel, a learning platform for entrepreneurs, held an online session with Nilekani on how 2021 could alter India’s and the world’s digital transformation journey.
“As people get to digital payments, credit histories, digital transactions they will be ready for credit. Therefore, the move of the digital economy from a prepaid to postpaid is going to drive a huge cycle of consumption as well as growth,” said Nilekani.
Nilekani said the western countries build the Internet private sector on advertising revenue, leading to the creation of Google and Facebook. However, India does not have a large advertising model with only about $2-3 billion being spent on digital ads a year, he said.
“Because we have this transaction economy and the ability to do high volume, zero cost, payment transactions using auto-debit, embedded lending, our future will be driven by a transaction led boom,” he added. “Credit will go from given to a few people who abscond onto London, it will go to millions of small consumers and be democratised. That is the wave that is now going to start.”
Nilekani said right now is a “decisive moment” in the digitalisation of India, and all the investment in technology infrastructure and policy the country has done is now poised for takeoff.
“Digital transformation of the world could be driven in some sense by India,” Nilekani said. “India could be a great place for future software-as-a-service (SAAS) companies. India could be a digital transformation agent for the world and at this point, a much more trusted company where people will play by the rules.”
He said faster vaccination in the country backed by technology can get the economy back on track.
“I have been proposing we build an architecture like Aadhaar which can do ten million vaccinations a day so we can get over this slump very fast. These are ideas that are being discussed and the government is open and receptive,” he said.