India’s Digital Revolution Poised to Propel Services

India is poised to revolutionize the service industry, in such a way that borrowing, saving and transferring money could happen as swiftly as sending an email. This technological leap enables India to rely more on services and domestic consumption even as world trade is slumping. A nationwide government initiative encouraging financial inclusion and bank accounts, combined with biometric-based unique identification numbers, has positioned the country for a surge of growth, explains Nandan Nilekani, former chairman of UDAI, which launched the massive digital platform for providing India’s billion-plus people with Aadhaar numbers. Based on iris scans, the numbers already authenticate 100 million transactions per day. A Unified Payment Interface system allowing instant payments with smartphones begins July 31. A society where everyone can depend on the set of universal connections known as the India stack – the ID number, a bank account and mobile phone – promises paperless and presence-less transactions as well as big leaps in innovation and productivity. Nilekani predicts creation of new platform aggregators along the lines of Uber or Amazon that will organize thousands of entrepreneurs and reduce costs in finance, education, health care and all manner of services. – YaleGlobal