Hoe moet India zijn technologiekloof dichten?

MUMBAI – Het is een opmerkelijke ironie dat India, dat oplossingen biedt voor veel van de meest ingewikkelde informatietechnologieproblemen waar ‘s werelds grootste bedrijven mee te maken hebben, zelf weinig heeft geprofiteerd van de technologische vooruitgang. Gelukkig voor de inwoners van India wil premier Narendra Modi dat veranderen.

De kloof tussen India en zijn opkomende Aziatische tegenvoeter China is aanzienlijk. Waar China ’s werelds grootste online bazaar heeft gecreëerd en een mondiale leider op het gebied van hernieuwbare energie is geworden, is India pas net begonnen het potentieel van e-commerce te exploreren; IT blijft buiten bereik van miljoenen kleine en middelgrote ondernemingen en de meeste burgers hebben nog steeds geen toegang tot de digitale economie.

Om India in de vaart der volkeren op te stoten kondigde de regering van Modi in augustus een nationaal digitaal initiatief aan: 1,13 biljoen roepies (19 miljard dollar) aan investeringen om breedbandcommunicatie naar 250,000 dorpen te brengen, het hele land mobiele toegang te bieden, online overheidsservices uit te breiden en om allerlei basale services online aan te bieden. Het spreekt vanzelf dat dit veel invloed zal hebben op het vervullen de Indiase ambities van een e-overheid.

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