Hindustan Times (East UP)
Pandemic has accentuated the digital divide: Nilekani
BENGALURU: India’s digital divide has been further accentuated by the Covid-19 pandemic, Infosys co-founder and chairman Nandan Nilekani said in a curated dialogue series with Anant Maheshwari, president, Microsoft India held virtually on Tuesday.
“We have to make sure that everybody can participate in the digital ecosystem…We have to design the applications in such a way that people who don’t have access to the devices can still participate,” Nilekani said.
He cited the example of Aadhaar where everybody was included to be a part of the unique identity. Similarly, the digital payments system has been built in such a way that even people with feature phones can benefit from it by using Aadhaar as the authentication mechanism.
Technology is the only way to reach the 1.3 billion people of the country and provide access to quality healthcare, education and financial services, he said.
“While technologies like cloud can help create a scalable infrastructure, data and artificial intelligence can help deliver better learning outcomes, bank loans, and health diagnostics,” he added.
Skilling the people digitally is a step toward bridging the existing digital divide in the country, said Maheshwari.
As part of this, Microsoft Corp. has helped over 30 million people in 249 countries and territories gain access to digital skills, of which close to 3 million are from India, Maheshwari said. This tops its initial goal of 25 million last June. Microsoft is also extending its commitment to help 250,000 companies globally make a skills-based hire in 2021.
We have to design apps in such a way that people who don’t have access to devices can still participate.