GBF 2015 Theme: Make For India
The formidable reputation built for itself by the Indian ICT industry over the last 50 years vis-a-vis the Indian domestic market for ICT is a case of “The cobbler’s children have no shoes”. Although this may seem like an exaggeration, the data on India’s domestic spend on software products and services as a percentage of the total industry revenues, compared to the numbers for China (23% for India versus 90% for China in 2010) bears out the fact that the Indian ICT industry has been largely focused on providing services (and in a few cases, products and solutions) to the outside world, predominantly the West. Although this has arguably contributed hugely to the country’s foreign exchange reserves and GDP, and helped build a vast pool of IT skilled engineers, the need and the opportunities for utilizing ICT for solving our own problems in agriculture, education, energy management, manufacturing, and governance are enormous.
The SIG for ICT at IIT Bombay’s Global Business Forum has therefore decided to adopt “Make FOR India” as the theme for this year.
We expect that the Global Business Forum in Goa will plant the seeds for the ecosystem that is essential for achieving the impact described above. By bringing together startups and large corporates in the ICT industry, academia, investors, and policymakers under one roof, the GBF will set in motion the process of creating this ecosystem with IIT Bombay alumni playing a major enabling as well as active role.
- The thought leadership provided by the keynote speakers and industry veterans will spawn ideas and projects in the focus areas outlined.
- The interactions between start-ups, industry veterans and investors will provide the start-ups powerful support not just financially, but by way of guidance and mentorship.
- The interactions between the researchers and faculty from IIT Bombay’s labs, with industry veterans and investors will help showcase the work happening in the labs and provide it a fillip to bring it into the commercial marketplace.
- The presence of policy makers will help align future policy with the needs of the ecosystem and help achieve the impact described above
The government has launched two major initiatives: Financial Inclusion and Digital India.
1) As part of the Financial Inclusion initiative, 335 million accounts have been opened, and 149 million Rupee debit cards have been issued under the Jan Dhan Yojana. The objective is to plug leakages in the government’s social schemes through direct benefit transfers, and reduce the cash in the economy in order to curb black money. We have therefore chosen “Cashless India” as the first sub-theme for the ICT SIG.
2) The objective of the Digital India initiative is to harness digital technologies to improve the quality and delivery of education and healthcare, and address problems of infrastructure, energy, and water resource management. Reliable and affordable access to broadband internet is a key requirement to make Digital India a success. The ICT SIG has chosen ICT and Broadband in Education as its second sub-theme.
3) We are beginning to see the Internet Protocol (IP) being used to connect everything to everything else, using sensors, electronics and software, into applications such as healthcare, transportation, and for managing sophisticated chemical plants. It is estimated that by 2020 over 27 billion devices will be connected to each other, and the market for applications based on the “Internet of Things” in India will be over $15 billion. The ICT SIG team has chosen the Internet of Things (IOT) as the third sub-theme.