India at cusp of becoming premier digital society: Ambani
With mobile networks better or at par with anywhere else in the world, India has an opportunity to become a 'premier digital society', billionaire Mukesh Ambani said on Monday as he saw the country becoming the third world's largest economy within the next decade.
Mumbai: With mobile networks better or at par with anywhere else in the world, India has an opportunity to become a 'premier digital society', billionaire Mukesh Ambani said on Monday as he saw the country becoming the third world's largest economy within the next decade.
Speaking at a fireside chat with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, he said the big change driving this transformation was the deepening of mobile networks which were working at a much faster pace than before. "I can easily say that the mobile networks in India now are better or at par with anywhere else in the world," he said.
"The opportunity that we have for India, really, is the opportunity to become the premier digital society in the world." India, he said, has all the components in place to "grow and march forward".
"I have no doubt in my mind that we will become among the top three economies in the world," he said. "We can argue about whether it will happen in 5 years or 10 years but it's going to happen, and we will be in the top three economies in the world."
When that happens, he wondered: "Will we be the most technologically enabled society? Will we be having all our development enabled by all the tools of technology? Can we really be a pacesetter in terms of using all technology?" India became the world's fifth-largest economy last year, according to IMF.
When ranked by nominal GDP, the country leapfrogged France and the UK and now ranks behind the US, China, Japan, and Germany. India's GDP growth has been among the highest in the world in the past decade – regularly achieving annual growth of between 6-7 per cent.
When Nadella joined Microsoft in 1992, the Indian economy was $300 billion. "Today, India is $3 trillion," said Ambani, Chairman of Reliance Industries. "And fundamentally, this whole progress, in a certain way, has happened on the back of technology."
In the early days, it was Tata Consultancy Services and Infosys which drove technology which kick-started the financial and economic reforms, he said. "It was supercharged in 2014 when Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) gave us the vision of Digital India." What followed was for everyone to see.
"I was privileged to play a very small role in it, in terms of with the launch of Jio," he said adding that prior to the launch of Jio in 2016, average internet access speed was 256 kbps and post Jio is now 21 mbps on mobile data in every single village in India.
"The pre-Jio, price of data in this country was between Rs 300 and 500 per GB. And for the poorest of poor people who use 2G, the prices were as high as Rs 10,000 a GB.
Post Jio, the price is between Rs 12 and Rs 14 a GB," he said adding 380 million customers have migrated to 4G technology on Jio platform in the last three years.