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?Digitisation will boost GDP growth? - Ravi Shankar Prasad

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MUMBAI: Taking a leaf out of Prime Minister Narendra Modi?s Digital India initiative, Union Minister of Communication and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad today stressed on how the country?s growth is interlinked to this programme.

?The government is dedicated to creating a digital ecosystem that will enable internet to touch the lives of all Indians,? Prasad, who was speaking at the 9th India Digital Summit of IAMAI, said.

He further pointed out how it was imperative to create hubs in rural India that will help the growth of e-commerce, which remains unexplored so far. ?Unless connectivity reaches every village of India, the dynamics of growth will remain unchanged,? he said.

Speaking on access, Prasad said, ?It took 30 years to cover 10 lakh kilometres of optic fibre laying, and in just next three years, seven lakh kilometres will be added, making rural connectivity a reality.?

Releasing the IAMAI &The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) report India@Digital.Bharat, Prasad said, ?For the internet economy to touch $200 billion by 2020 that will contribute five per cent of GDP, we need to move at a fast pace towards computer literacy. The other key areas which will help the internet economy to grow is mobile internet. The government is committed to digitisation and we look at extensive public-private partnerships (PPP) to the have successful implementation.?

The India@Digital.Bharat report establishes that India is headed towards an internet economy worth $200 billion by 2020, that will contribute five per cent of the GDP growing at 23 per cent compared to 13 per cent overall.

As the following chart shows, Internet in India by 2018 will be more mature and mobile will be more predominant.

The number of internet users in rural areas will touch 210 million by 2018, aiding India?s internet user base to cross 500 million by 2018.

Speaking at the launch of the report, BCG senior partner and director Alpesh Shah said, ?India will have more than half a billion internet users in the next three years ? this growth has the potential to fundamentally change the way in which consumers save, learn, play, move and work. However, the extent of shift will depend a lot on how the government and the industry come together to unlock the true potential of the internet.?

IAMAI chairman and Google India managing director Rajan Anandan, stressed on the growth of internet in India and successful roll-out of the government?s Digital India programme. ?India is the third country in the world to have over five Internet companies valued at over $1 billion. India is the fastest growing Internet country but we need to move from narrow band to broadband at the earliest,? Anandan said.

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