Monday Motivation: Digitised India

Every day brings new amazement! I witness a new chapter of evolution being written in India every day and I find myself admiring every bit of my country!

Last week during the festivities of Navratri I visited the Chaturshinghi temple, just as I do every year. Before we enter the temple, we purchase flowers, garlands, incense and offerings for the Gods right outside the temple. There used to be a queue to purchase these items and there would also be a lot of delay due to physical exchange of money. I would hand out a currency note and the shopkeeper would not have the exact amount of change and the same would be the case for so many others which would result in an even longer wait time. However, as compared to yesteryear this year was a cake walk! The magic happened due to digitisation! I was flummoxed to see no winding queues and the procedure to pay was a simple QR code that needed to be scanned and we could pay in the blink of an eye. The devotees, including I could concentrate on the reason for our visit – the Goddess.

A similar incident had been narrated by the Hon’ble Finance minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman last month when she visited Symbiosis. She said that in Andhra Pradesh there is a custom when during Sankranti a bull visits the local households and the owner of the bull  receives food and clothing and ‘Dakshina’ – some money from the household that he visits. She said that last year she received a video from a village where the tradition underwent evolution. Last year as usual the bull visited a household and the owner of the bull played the nadasvaram. The lady of the household brought clothing and placed it on the bull’s back. Then she brought food grains and placed it in the bag placed on the bull’s shoulder. However, when she tried to pay Dakshina- some money as a token of respect to the bull’s owner, he refused. Instead he pointed to a QR Code pasted between the bull’s horns without even stopping to play the nadasvaram! The lady of the household wasn’t surprised either. She called her son, who just nodded his head, brought his mobile phone out and having scanned the code paid the due amount! Such has been the percolation of digitisation in India.

My mother Mrs. Sanjeevani Mujumdar too has taken this mission up in the earnest. She coaches and helps the parents of NRIs by updating them on the usage of Zoom and Google Meet, through weekly classes conducted at the Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Museum that she has nurtured. During Covid times when their children who were abroad could not come to visit them, the parents could interact with them through such mediums.

Symbiosis International University has also promoted digitization through mobile Digital Vans that go to the villages in and around the University campus and educate people about the benefits of digital transactions. The citizens are given both mobile and financial literacy.

India has become one of the biggest participants in digital transactions in the world and though one may argue that it is because of our large population, I would say that without sensitisation this would not have been possible. In a country of billions, it wasn’t easy. The Prime Minister himself has been a great proponent of digitisation to bring in transparency in transactions.  Citizens of India have also accepted that progress can happen only through digital transformation and therefore one can see digitisation at every nook and corner of our country. Whether it is fruit seller, an auto rickshaw driver or the huge shops selling electronic items, all have accepted the power of digitisation, making it the future!