Inclusive Digital Growth is quintessential to economic growth and social prosperity. In this important techade, India needs to focus more on empowering weaker sections.

India’s online payment platforms (that is, UPI, RTGS, IMPS) have emerged as a lifeline of the financial system. The RBI has promoted its 24X7X365 availability and interoperability and brought in various other initiatives, which are a boon for the common man in terms of convenience and cost. UPI has 373 banks linked to it, with monthly volumes of over 730 crore transactions and monthly value of about ₹12-lakh crore.

Such a widespread adoption would not have been possible without an agile internet governance mindset of the entities involved, led by the RBI. But along with digital payments growth, concerns are rising over online payment frauds like phishing/spam calls. However, to the credit of the RBI and agencies involved, the extensive measures taken for customer education and awareness have been instrumental in safeguarding customers from online frauds and protecting their rights.

RBI’s initiative

The RBI’s extensive and easy to understand campaign of  RBI Kehta Hai educates the public on safe banking and financial practices. This campaign keeps people at the centre of technological developments and building ‘digital intelligence’ among users.

Banks, platform and app providers, telcos, etc., do their best to create secure, safer and consumer friendly interfaces. Such measures being customer orientated have nurtured trust in the online payment systems in India.

This shows that for a sustainable digital growth, awareness among key decision-makers and coordination is required to implement governance. This multi-stakeholder coordination is increasingly seen in regulations and standardisation. The recently published Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, 2022 in India and the draft Cyber Resilience Act in the EU emphasise the need of governance on different aspects — personal data and IOT, respectively. There is proactive implementation by policymakers in internet governance for providing due protections against privacy and security risks.

New tech

With technologies like 5G, VR, AI etc., internet is ushering in transformation in digitisation and respective applications which will deliver more efficient, more automated and more critical activities through an increasingly complex network of computers and devices, where IOT and personal devices will not only multiply but will be of far varied kinds than at present. This will have minimal human intervention but greater impact on individuals and society. Manufacturing, health and automotive sectors will be the first ones to see such transformation. Digital transformation needs countries and policymakers to work together to deal with cybersecurity and have some standards prescribed. Otherwise it will be vulnerable to cyberattacks, which can lead to serious consequences considering the level of automation.

A trusted internet is most essential for achieving a far broader adoption of technologies, products and services and, therefore, an intelligent and agile internet governance embedded firmly in the mindset of all stakeholders is becoming extremely crucial. India has a challenging road ahead but has enormous multi-stakeholder commitment to make it happen earliest.

The writer is President, Broadband India Forum. Views are personal. Research inputs by Sundeep Kathuria, Principal Consultant, BIF

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