Mapping Digital Transformation in India During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has nudged Indian decision makers to escalate their focus on harnessing technology in various sectors. Recently, newer technology solutions have helped achieve key results in crucial issues and segments like healthcare, food security, education and supply chain in the entire manufacturing space.

As Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has made a clarion call to the private sector and consumers to promote ‘Atma Nirbhar Bharat’ (Self-Reliant India) campaign with an aim to boost domestic production, technology and innovation have emerged as the fundamental tools to achieve the objective and ensuring smooth functioning of the key economic components.

The Indian federal government has announced several measures to usher in structural reforms in sectors such as agriculture, logistics, education and healthcare, which are expected to renew investor interest and strengthen the government’s “Make in India” initiative. At present, it envisions the private sector to invest in future technology projects that will bring extensive changes to drive economic growth, provide employment opportunities and ignite consumer sentiment.

APCO Worldwide’s India offices have done a deep dive into five key sectors where technology can spur economic transformation, providing key recommendations to global and domestic companies planning to invest in India in the fast-evolving policy and regulatory climate. These sectors are healthcare, agriculture, education, media & entertainment and logistics.

With increased worldwide focus on the healthcare sector, use of technology for the prevention, detection and treatment of diseases is paramount. Technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, smart devices, and blockchain are being utilized heavily in the value chains in the country.

The online tech platforms will also have an important role in rural development. As the government implements major reforms, allowing private sector food chains to procure directly from farmers, the tech leverage by organized retail chains will witness a huge traction.

One of the major outcomes of the COVID-19 outbreak has been the rise of online gaming, entertainment and ed-tech platforms. The scaling up of dynamic sectors presents a huge opportunity for overseas businesses to invest in digitalization of India.

The Indian government has been focusing heavily on self-reliance to ensure that the country gets a home-grown base for a complete digital value chain, including the electronics and computer hardware, which had been a missing link. Along with the pandemic outbreak, India is in the middle of several geo-political developments vis-à-vis China, which has further strengthened the sentiments around local manufacturing and digital transformation.

The country is trying to cope up with the current situation through various policy support measures and realignments in regulatory structure, to keep the economy afloat. As public policy undergoes big changes in the post-COVID-19 world, and governments at state and federal levels plan to bring in more market reforms, we hope our APCO trend analysis would help businesses looking to invest in India understand the opportunities and risk mitigation strategies.

For more information, click here to read and download the full report from APCO Worldwide’s team in India.

India Tech Report

APCO alumna Meghna Jalan co-authored this post.