India has the potential to rapidly transform itself from a developing nation to world economic, social and cultural leadership by “leapfrogging” traditional technologies and embracing the Digital India mission. SKILLS2017 conference sessions will explore and debate the way forward in four strategic areas: financial inclusion; agriculture; education and health care.
To begin, however, the conference will discuss three critical questions related to digital infrastructure for rural empowerment: the provisioning of high speed and high capacity broadband; mobile and related wireless technologies; and data governance and security issues. Currently, India is far from a leader in these areas, ranking 131 in the ICT Development Index in 2015. India is 105th in the world and lowest in the Asia Pacific region in average Internet speed. And, over 55,000 villages have no mobile connectivity.
This opening session will set the stage for later conference discussions with the opportunities and challenges of provisioning last mile infrastructure and localized services and applications in rural areas and developing nations.
FINANCIAL INCLUSION OR ILLUSION: CRITICAL CHALLENGES
The appearance of financial inclusion in rural India, with transformative regulatory and technological changes, is well documented. India set a Guinness World Record for the achievement of the newest bank accounts, with over 200 million bank accounts opened as part of the Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana [PMJSY].
However, according to numerous reports, financial literacy, a necessary condition of financial inclusion, has become a major impediment to inclusiveness, resulting in high bank account dormancy: 28 percent of the total; and at lower income levels, only an average of 10 digital transactions, compared to 163 in Brazil, 420 in South Korea and 429 in Sweden in 2015.
Clearly, much-concerted effort needs to be undertaken to turn financial illusion to financial inclusion.
This session will explore solutions for transcending the financial literacy to achieving true financial inclusion by leveraging the technology innovations and outcomes implicit in the Digital India Mission. The session will provide an overview of the emerging opportunities in financial services with rising internet penetration; increasing mobile access; government making credit more available to the country’s chronically underserved sectors; and demonetization that lead to a higher usage of payment applications such as m-wallets, online transactions, and net banking.