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Digital revolution vs Social revolution

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September 08, 2017

What is the issue?

  • Claims of having achieved inclusion by operationalizing the JAM trinity appear somewhat exaggerated.
  • JAM achieved equality in the digital space but it failed to empower Indians in which they are severely deprived.

What is JAM?

  • JAM, deriving from Jan Dhan, Aadhaar and Mobile, combines bank accounts for the poor.
  • Eliminating leakage in the transfer of benefits and enabling the poor to have bank accounts are worthy objectives of JAM.
  • Aadhaar is the pivot here, allowing the government to ensure that benefits reach the poor and enabling them to make payments through ordinary mobile phones.
  • JAM ensures seamless transfer of welfare payments and facilitates the making payments in real time.
  • It is believed that the JAM revolution can link all Indians into one common financial, economic, and digital space.

What are the issues with JAM?

  • JAM had worthy objectives, but fall well short of the social revolution.
  • The potential of the JAM trinity for bringing about either of these conditions for economic inclusion is limited.
  • JAM functions in the digital space while much of our life is lived in the brick and mortar world.

What are the areas needs improvement?

  • Economy - The latest GDP growth in the first quarter of the current financial year to be lower than the average for 2016-17.
  • There appears to be a mismatch between the government’s own assessment of its policies and the private sector’s valuation of their worth.
  • Banking -It is critical that a largely nationalised banking sector had done very little to extend banking services to the poor till recently.
  • A financial inclusion has almost been achieved but economic inclusion needs lots of efforts.
  • Ease of doing business - Economic reforms demands the firms to producer services ranging from water supply to waste management.
  • When private entities do provide these producers services they tend to be expensive, deterring their off-take.
  • Infrastructure -recent incidents of child deaths, meagre flood management in metros, and failure of waste management shows the poor governance and needs serious discourse.
  • The possibility of leveraging IT to transform the ecosystem of production for firms and the ecosystem of living for individuals is limited.

How the issues can be addressed?

  • Significant element in ensuring inclusion is to maintain, directly or indirectly, the level of demand in the economy.
  • The potential workers must be endowed with the capabilities to address the demands.
  • The public provision of producer services should be an essential part of public policy, and must be provided by the government.
  • Social revolution will arrive when all Indians are empowered through an equality of capabilities.
  • The society needs universal health and education infrastructure accessible to all.
  • Empowerment in the brick and mortar space would require public infrastructure on a gigantic scale.
  • This would require committing resources to building the requisite social and physical infrastructure and investing time to govern its functioning.


Source: The Hindu

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