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Less-cash to digital economy the goal, but remonetisation behaviour uncertain, feels Jaitley

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NEW DELHI: Huawei Telecommunications India CEO Jay Chen has said that demonetisation and the resultant shift to digital economy will help India bridge the digital gap and transform the country into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy.

Addressing a ‘Digital Economic Forum 2016’ organised by Times Network in association with Huawei India, Chen said “Today India is at the centre of the world’s attention thanks to the vision and leadership of the present Government. Key national initiatives have given an impetus to the Indian economy. Digital India specifically, is the engine of all the key initiatives. We believe the recent drive by the Government towards digital payments is the heart of a digital economy. The recent high value currency demonetisation is a lifetime opportunity for India to leapfrog into a digital economy.”

Other speakers included Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, and Power and Coal Minister Piyush Goyal and those present included Vodafone India External Regulatory Affairs Director P Balaji, Mobikwik founder andf CEO Bipin Preet Singh, Shopclues founder Sanjay Sethi and State Bank of India MD Praveen Kumar. The forum included a panel discussion on ‘Digi-Monetisation: Sparking a less cash economy in India’ that involved participation from key industry experts.

Jaitley said, "Management of the economy does not depend on the kind of slogans people create. India is an economy that has been suffering with a high cost of capital. The ultimate goal is to digitise the economy. A less-cash economy is supplemented with a digital economy. There is no settled behaviour as to how people will behave when remonetisation sets in. Digitising the economy gives us a great opportunity. Over the next few years, the incremental impact of Digi- monetisation will also be felt in the economy. Lastly, we should make political funding transparent."

Goyal said "Digital push was an integral part of demonetization exercise. Any move as big as demonetisation is bound to have some small issues. Today telecom companies have confirmed that spectrum is no longer an issue. Once the person gets addicted to digital transaction, then the possibility of fraud will also reduce. Currently we are looking for a change in the working and mindset of the country. As we say that, the country's youth have a lot of potential for innovation. Lastly, I would like to congratulate the Times Network for such an initiative like Digital Economy Forum."

Times Network executive editor Navika Kumar moderated Q and A sessions with Jaitley and Goyal.

Times Network MD and CEO M K Anand said, “As a successful media company we have to be aware of the pulse of our audience. In the last 12 years, we have seen a distinct change in the mood of this country. Indians are in a hurry to progress. And they are willing to undergo pain if needed to quickly move forward. We have aptly captured and reflected this mood of the nation in our hallmark tagline NOW or Nothing. This mood of the people is reflected by the most action oriented government that this country has seen in a long while. Demonetisation or remonetisation as we call it is an expression of Now or Nothing. As India’s premium network for influencers, we believe it is within our power and mandate to contribute to this historic endeavor. Amongst a series of initiatives aimed at bringing clarity and accelerating much needed understanding and action in this area, the Digital Economy Forum has been designed to look at Digitisation as a means and an end to Demonetisation and the benefits thereof.”

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