Govt's digital tech usage for Covid-19 response effective: EY survey

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on June 09, 2021

Respondents prefer mobile devices to provide feedback on public services and are comfortable with technology replacing face-to-face human interaction.

As per a new EY Connection Citizen survey, 80 per cent of Indian citizens feel that the government and public services in India have effectively used digital technology to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic.

There is a favourable attitude among Indian respondents towards technology, and they see an essential role for technological innovation in public service delivery. The EY Connected Citizen Survey was conducted by Ipsos MORI, with 1,000 respondents from India between the age of 18 to 50, and globally 12,100 respondents across 12 countries.

In India, respondents increasingly prefer mobile devices to provide feedback on public services. In addition, they are comfortable with technology replacing face-to-face human interaction and are inclined to use an artificial intelligence-powered chatbot to communicate with the government, the report said.

Citizens also want the government to prioritise making certain services available online, including pension planning, resources to help people set up businesses and providing more ways for citizens to have an online say in government decision making.

The pandemic has intensified the need for governments worldwide to offer more services remotely, and in some cases, they have been delivered entirely online.

Data privacy

Compared to other countries, there are fewer concerns about data privacy in India. For example, 63 per cent of Indians feel comfortable sharing their data with the government online to access a service, while 34 per cent don’t feel comfortable sharing the same. Similarly, 57 per cent feel comfortable sharing their personal data with a company to perform a transaction. Furthermore, 48 per cent of respondents feel comfortable in sharing their personal data through social networking services. Globally, 53 per cent of those surveyed think that privacy and security risks around how their data is shared outweigh the benefits.

Gaurav Taneja, Partner and Leader, Government and Public Sector, EY India, said, “Digitization is the new normal and the Indian Government was quick to adopt technologies, especially during the pandemic, to deliver safe, secure and improved digital services to all citizens.”

“Going forward, a more inclusive digitalization approach including unique digital ids, smart portals and mobile apps, integrated digital platforms, etc. on the back of design thinking, customer experience labs and data analytics will help the government design their services to make each touchpoint better, faster and more efficient, and to move towards more proactive and even predictive service delivery to Indian citizens,” added Taneja.

With increased internet usage, there is a shift in consumer behaviour and attitude. As per the report, 55 per cent of India respondents said that they use the internet at least once a day, while 38 per cent of respondents stated that they use the internet for personal use (e.g. website access, email, social networking, etc.).

About 78 per cent of respondents used social networking sites, 75 per cent used the internet for shopping, while 74 per cent used it for streaming TV, music or videos.

Moving forward, 81 per cent of the respondents think that technology will change the way they bank and shop, 80 per cent of the respondents think that it will change the way they work/study, and 79 per cent of the respondents think that it will change the way they entertain themselves.

Indians among those optimistic for the future

Additionally, respondents in India are among the most optimistic compared to citizens in other countries. Eighty-one per cent of respondents said that they were happy with their quality of life prior to the pandemic while 45 per cent were satisfied at the time of the survey.

The India respondents are more likely than average to view - access to good mental health services, access to a good education, opportunities to learn new skills, and good community spirit - as very important to their quality of life. They view financial security (38 per cent), safety (40 per cent), and healthcare (43 per cent) as less important than people in other countries, though these remain top priorities for around four in ten respondents.

Globally, while 72 per cent of respondents feel that technology has improved the way of life, there are significant concerns about its broader impact. Thirty-two per cent of respondents believe that technology will lead to greater social inequality and 34 per cent stating that technology gives more power to those who are already rich and powerful. Globally, 32 per cent of citizens believe technology will make people feel less connected to their communities. Sixty-one per cent said that they would be likely to use government training schemes that improve their digital skills if they were available.

Looking ahead to the future, according to the Indian respondents, healthcare services (49 per cent), availability of good jobs (42 per cent), clean air and green spaces (39 per cent) are amongst the most important to improve in their local area.

Covid impact

While 71 per cent of the respondents think the pandemic will lead to greater use of technology in their daily lives in the future, 69 per cent feel technology innovation will be more than ever before. Sixty-three per cent of respondents believe that the reliance on domestically produced goods will be more compared to the pre-Covid era.

Users also believe that the increased use of online and digital technologies will improve public services (40 per cent). Thirty-nine per cent of the respondents stated that providing online resources for people to learn new skills or look for a new job.

Seven personas

The survey further segmented respondents into seven personas: “Aspirational Technophiles (well-educated digital natives excited by the power of technology), Capable Achievers (pragmatic technophiles who embrace innovation), Diligent Strivers (young self-improvers keen to get on in life), Tech Skeptics (older, lower income earners who struggle to see technology's benefits), Privacy Defenders (cautious sharing their data with government or private companies), Passive Outsiders (detached from the connected world and reluctant to embrace change) and Struggling Providers (low-paid workers who lack digital skills and access). “

India has a high number of Aspirational Technophiles and Diligent Strivers (25 per cent each, reflecting the sample profile) but a smaller number of Passive Outsiders (3 per cent) and Capable Achievers (8 per cent).

These are the seven personas that the government must reach with the services.

Published on June 08, 2021

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