A Trillion-Dollar Digital Economy Beckons

08 Mar,2021


By Indrani Sen


Last week, in a virtual event, Assocham released along with The Dialogue, a research report titled ‘Enabling A Trillion Dollar Digital Economy – Interdependent, Interconnected and Digital’. The media coverage of the event highlighted the gist of the speeches given by the various dignitaries which did not do justice to the actual content of the report.


The report by The Dialogue presents an in-depth analysis of the telecom industry of India and the way it has enabled the digital economy. It also reviews the challenges of privacy, security, intermediary liability, competition and financial loss which the industry is facing currently along with the opportunities and the action points for achieving the target of a trillion-dollar digital economy by 2025.


As action points, the report offers solutions like reducing regulatory levies, addressing the AGR issue, reducing GST burden, progressive regulatory policies, an online portal for transparency of approvals along with introduction of new technologies. In an indirect way, the report challenges some of the current rules and regulations related to the telecom industry.


If our government takes the suggestions given in the report seriously and activate the action points suggested by them, then we shall definitely achieve the target of a trillion-dollar digital economy in four years.


The report gives an estimate of the size of the internet users in India, which shows 97% of internet subscribers (752.09 million) are wireless internet subscribers. A comparison of the internet subscribers between June 2016 and September 2020 shows that the wired internet subscribers increased by only 3.6 million while the wireless internet subscribers increased by 422.37 million in four years. Broadband subscribers grew by 564.26 million during the same period from 162.06 million to 726.32 million.



Source: https://thedialogue.co/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Enabling-a-Trillion-Dollar-Economy-The-Dialogue.pdf


In November 2016, Assocham had published along with Deloitte a research report titled “Digital India: Unlocking the Trillion Dollar Opportunity”. There is no reference to that report in the recently published report except the use of the June 2016 data for comparing the internet/ broadband subscribers.


Said Kazim Rizvi, founding director, The Dialogue in the introduction of the report: “I hope that for years to come, this serves us as a guiding document on the regulatory issues to be debated and discussed, in order to enhance the potential of India’s digital economy.” I not only agree with him, but congratulate The Dialogue team for producing a comprehensive guide for solving the problems of our telecom industry which is the backbone of our growing digital economy.


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