Towards Digital Unnati

Urban agriculturists who produce vertically in small urban spaces. Book-to-App converters that facilitate mobile education. Health related peripheral device managers and mobile healthcare that provide access to healthcare in remote location and provide targeted care. Drone managers to improve logistics and beat poor infrastructure. 3-D print specialists that produce consumer products on demand. These are just a few of the 55, new technology-powered jobs that have been predicted to flood the market in the next 3 years. We are already seeing a growing trend in India as well. The question is- how ready are India’s youth to take up these employment opportunities?

There has been a lot of apprehensive debate around how automation is jeopardising jobs and the negative impact technology has on employment. I believe we are living in interesting times where certain kind of jobs are becoming redundant and certain others powered by technology are on the rise. The only way to beat the job loss trend is to train our youth, which is India’s biggest dividend to embrace technologies of the future.

A recent report by the McKinsey Institute predicts that there is likely to be a US$550–1,000 billion economic impact per year by Digital Technologies between 2012-2025. If India can raise the productivity of its labour force and deliver basic services 50 to 100% more efficiently than in the past decade, half a billion people in India can meet basic needs and maintain a decent standard of living, with access to health care, education, and other vital services.

This isn’t a new trend. Technology has had a major impact on workforce and employment profiles right from the time of the Industrial Revolution where most tasks became automated and types of jobs changed as a result. In 2016, over 18 lakh farmers in 28 districts in Karnataka were selling their produce on theUnified Marketing Platform, an online marketplace where farmers access markets without middlemen. It’s a trend that will reduce certain type of jobs but necessitate the need for new skills. Over 300 locations now have telemedicine facilities powered by connectivity provided by ISRO.

With almost all governance programmes going digital, there will be a strong need for a powerful integration of data and workflows produced by disparate business units on the edge and leverage it for defining newer business models.

There is a critical need now to train our youth to embrace these new technologies and become digitally savvy, so India can leverage a productivity- and efficiency-led transformation, and realise its potential. The challenge is huge and all of us collectively- government, industry, citizen groups, civil society must collaborate and pool in.

Building a robust start-up ecosystem

Code Unnati is one such initiative where we collaborate with industry leaders like L&T and ITC, civil society groups like Pratham and the local government to help our youth embrace digital technologies and productively contribute.

This month, a massive initiative across India called Code Week where over thousands of students across India were invited to participate in creating apps and other technologies that will help in bringing education and employment opportunities in the hands of our youth.

We are encouraged by the support we have received from the government, our partners and customers as well as our employees in this endeavour. I’m certain that we will be able to meet the challenge of training 1mn youth and reinforce SAP’s commitment towards building a Digital India.