Creating opportunity from crisis, India, during the COVID-19 period has really enhanced and improved upon its digital technology. Services, including remote learning, digital finance and online shopping, have really taken off during the pandemic. In the latest, tech pioneer Bill Gates has come out to praise India’s policies for financial innovation and inclusion.
Taking a cue from India, Bill Gates said that his foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which is known for its philanthropy, is working with various countries across the world to roll out open-source technologies. These technologies are modelled on India’s effective financial implementation.
Bill Gates said, “If people are going to study one country right now, other than China, I’d say they should look at India.” He further continued, “Things are really exploding there and innovation around that system is phenomenal.”
India has built innovative platforms for money transfers and reliable identification. Gates said those policies have drastically reduced the cost and friction of money distribution to the poor in the country, especially during the pandemic.
These ambitious platforms include the world’s largest biometric database, Aadhaar, and a system for sending money between banks using a smartphone app. Since India has a booming smartphone market and one of the lowest rates of internet data in the world, the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) system has really taken off. Enabling payments to be sent across all services in a convenient and streamlined manner, India mandates that companies use its UPI platform. No user fee is required in the system, making it cost-friendly.
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is now helping countries roll out similar systems based on open-source technologies.
The tech pioneer further stated, “India is a great example.” Realising the role of the pandemic in enhancements in India’s digital economy model, Bill Gates said, “Digital things overall, remote learning, telemedicine, digital finance, were greatly advanced. So even though the pandemic has been terrible, it has pushed some of these innovations including how quickly we make vaccines.”
Speaking on the vaccine availability, Bill Gates said that his foundation is working with global manufacturers, including the Serum Institute in India, to make sure there are sufficient dosage numbers at reasonable prices, available to the people in an equitable manner.
The Modi Government, through the Aatmanirbhar Bharat reforms, has propelled the country to grow while fulfilling the needs of the poor. India’s move towards financial inclusiveness is an important policy move, which is now being replicated in countries across the world.