Consider Google’s endorsement of United Payments Interface
(UPI). Google wants the US Federal Reserve to follow a similar structure in which government, banks and tech companies collaborate to deliver financial services.
This book is about accelerating the approach the government has adopted and refining policies around it. “The future, if India is to harness, has to come from a mutually beneficial relationship between its citizens and new applications of technology,” the authors say. They underline the importance of an effort that is underway. Technology has to be deployed in India for creating unique solutions for challenges unique to India. Global companies that have tailored their products and services to India have achieved greater success in the market. Similarly, developmental policies that leverage private participation with technology must have delivered. It is easy to look for solutions in other countries especially at a time when several global organisations are trying to influence India’s thinking. Copying the West or even China would be a mistake. The West doesn’t have the scale and diversity of challenges. And China does not have several layers of democracy that often requires dialogue and engagement. The best solutions are being created locally.
Bridgital Nation is also an effort to introduce a new word in our lexicon. A construct of bridge and digital, the new word is explained in its various dimensions. A “bridgital” process is a “rethink [of] conventional approaches to who does what in a value chain of service delivery” especially for those who don’t have access. Bridgital technology is “digital technology and low cost delivery models that push the limits of how efficiently we can make use of valuable assets such as physical infrastructure and the time of high skill workers.” And Bridgital workers are “digitally literate and technology augmented workers.”
The format used for the book is eminently readable since it intertwines the lives of individuals with how they are impacted by policies and processes. Bridgital Nation narrates the life stories of people such as like Nikhil in Tripura or Jasleen in Bhatinda and interprets the current state of India’s social services.
Nikhil’s story is about the weaknesses in healthcare system, while Jasleen represents the lack of access for women in the workforce. The solution for Jasleen is to create a “care economy” and “smart gender policy” for women and mothers. “Allowing quick and low cost access to global markets for small scale and growing ventures,” using digital platforms is one of the solutions emphasised.
The smart writing puts individuals at the centre. It personalises and humanises policies that help connect policy action to impact on citizens. Slick quotable phrases such as “escalator sectors” and “everywhere entrepreneurship” seemed to be aimed at the social media generation. For the more traditional, there are several charts and graphs that endorse the writers’ arguments.
Bridgital Nation: Solving Technologies People Problem
Author: N Chandrasekaran
& Roopa Purushothaman
Publisher: PenguinPrice: Rs 799