Physical, digital infrastructure synergy to be defining feature of India's future growth story: Economic Survey

NewsDrum Desk
31 Jan 2023
Physical, digital infrastructure synergy to be defining feature of India's future growth story: Economic Survey

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New Delhi: The synergy between physical and digital infrastructure will be a defining feature of India's future growth, the Economic Survey 2022-23 Tuesday said, noting that the "powerful" story scripted by the country's expanding digital public infrastructure has won global acclaim.


As the digital space widens with newer services, the need for appropriate regulations becomes "paramount", the Economic Survey said, asserting 'techno-smart' regulations are the future for digital societies.

The increasing digital adoption during COVID-19 in the areas of healthcare, agriculture, FinTech, education and skilling indicates digital delivery of services in India has a massive potential across economic sectors.

The survey tabled in Parliament on Tuesday highlighted the success stories like Aadhaar and UPI and went on to say that there is much-untapped potential in India's digital public infrastructure space.


In an entire chapter dedicated to 'Physical and Digital Infrastructure: Lifting Potential Growth', the survey captured the scorching pace of digital and communications development in the country, and its great multiplier effect on social and economic growth.

The synergy between physical and digital infrastructure will be one of the defining features of India's future growth story, it emphasised.

India has developed a unique and cogent digital story to tell, the survey said, citing initiatives such as Aadhaar and UPI, as well as other initiatives like Co-WIN, e-RUPI, TReDS and ONDC that are at different stages of implementation.


"The journey is ongoing, and there is much-untapped potential in India's digital public infrastructure space," it said.

The advent of new technologies is throwing up new regulatory challenges.

Technology and innovation are, per se, neither constructive nor destructive, and the use cases present the positive aspects of technology and innovation.


"The government is committed to keeping pace with the digital landscape developments, including those related to legislations and frameworks," the survey observed.

The digital journey started with Aadhaar as a medium for service delivery at the doorstep, while UPI strengthened the digital payment infrastructure.

"With other initiatives like Co-WIN, e-RUPI, TReDS, Account Aggregators, ONDC, etc. at different stages of implementation, India has developed a unique and cogent digital story to tell," it said.


India's rapid strides in creating digital infrastructure and services have won global appreciation and laurels.

"It is not a hyperbole to state that with the thrust on Digital India, the story of digital infrastructure and services in India will always be seen by the world with a certain regard and appreciation," it noted.

India has come a long way from a time when a basic telephone connection was viewed as a luxury, to a stage where most individuals now have a mobile connection.


In a short time, the country has seen a great multiplier effect on social and economic growth through the different uses of digital enablement led by the humble mobile phone and the Aadhaar number -- targeted beneficiary identification for various benefits, provision of healthcare and education services and financial inclusion.

Close to this, came the success story of India's sui-generis payment infrastructure (UPI), which travelled internationally with select adoption and global acclaim. The bouquet of digital public infrastructure products like e-rupi, e-way bill, TReDS for MSMEs etc have ensured real value for money to consumers while reducing the compliance burden for producers.

With the vision of a USD 1 trillion digital economy by 2025, the government is marching towards providing more and more e-governance-based services.


India, the Economic survey said, has been one of the few countries where innovation in technology and digital connectivity has been and continues to be led by the public sector.

The success of UPI, a common platform that serves as the backbone for diverse developments, has prompted the government to task itself with another innovative attempt towards democratising digital commerce through the ONDC, which could potentially transform how businesses and consumers interact at present.

"In the context of unique challenges, which only a country with a billion people can face, India’s infrastructure journey has been global in outlook, but domestic in innovation and implementation," the Economic Survey said.

With the increasing financialisation of the economy and penetration of digital services, growth in physical infrastructure alone could not be the answer for development.

"Though India's digital journey predates the pandemic, it would be rational to say that the testing times of the pandemic have accelerated its acceptance, application and coverage in many ways. The adaptability displayed by the citizens towards technology-driven changes was very encouraging," it said.

The confluence of digitisation and innovation acted as a game changer for India.

The digital infrastructure metrics have seen a meteoric rise. In 2009, only 17 per cent of adults in India had bank accounts, 15 per cent used digital payments, 1 in 25 had a unique ID document, and about 37 per cent had mobile phones. Today, teledensity has reached up to 93 per cent, over a billion people have a digital ID document, more than 80 per cent have bank accounts, and as of 2022, over 600 crore of digital payment transactions are completed per month.