There is a vast opportunity for e-commerce in India which can have a couple of players like Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba if the Government is successful in rollout of its Digital India project, union minister for communications and information technology (IT), Ravi Shankar Prasad said at an ASSOCHAM event in New Delhi.
“As Flipkart is growing so big, as we see the success of Alibaba and as we see the aspirational India evolving with great enthusiasm particularly in rural areas, I see a vast opportunity for e-commerce,” said Prasad while inaugurating 10th national summit on ‘E-governance & Digital India: Minimum Government, Maximum Governance,’ organised by The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM).
“I see almost an explosion of various kind of availability of services through e-commerce, particularly you will have warehouses,” said Prasad. “We can have couple of Alibaba in coming future if we are able to rollout this programme very well,” added the union minister for IT and telecom.
He further informed that the Digital India programme has been conceived recognising India’s great deficit in terms of broadband and the core element of this programme is digital infrastructure as a utility to every citizen, governance and service on demand and digital empowerment of citizens.
“We wish to reach every gram panchayat of India within a defined period upon government costs and the government user network is here to ensure connectivity,” said Prasad.
Highlighting the poor rural telecom penetration of 44 percent, the minister said, “Rural India needs more coverage of 44 percent plus, we need to bridge that gap.”
Talking about the need to push electronic manufacturing in India, he said that manufacturing in India is costlier than importing. “India is importing electronic goods worth $100 billion every year which is likely to cross over to $400 billion by 2020 and the import bill will surpass the fuel import bill.”
The Government had thus first straightened up the duty structure and in the recent budget it has given one of the most powerful incentive to electronic goods manufacturing in the last 40 years, he said.
The minister also informed that he will lay foundation for first electronics cluster in Madhya Pradesh in the first week of next month and the Government has given in-principle approval for setting up electronics clusters in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Maharashtra and is talking to other states in this regard.
On his recent visit to Germany, the minister said that electronic manufacturers in Germany are very excited to come in a big way for mobile phone, sim card, smart card to smart cities to digital India as there’s going to be a explosion of demand.
“Therefore, from e-commerce to electronic manufacturing to digital connectivity is going to be a game changer of the country,” he added.