India can be known to the world for its demographic dividend when its young population is well nurtured. This is one of the youngest countries in the world with more than 1.38 billion population with an average age of 29 years; but a huge population also comes with diversified problems like mismanaged public distribution system, poor healthcare, malnutrition, unemployment, redundant bureaucracy, corruption, low penetration of financial services, non-existent social security, etc. These problems will continue to exist till there is a proper utilization of this demographic dividend. There are a few ways that can do wonders if implemented properly in countries like India. Blockchain Technology is one of them that usher the ethos of digitization, transparency, governance, security and automation. The infant mortality rate, maternity mortality rate and malnutrition are still very high in India and these problems can be solved by utilizing the demographic dividend by acquiring blockchain for food safety, healthcare and supply chain. Of course, blockchain is not only the ultimate solution to end these problems completely, but it can also be a fruitful start towards nurturing a healthy and young India.
The scope of blockchain technology in India is growing with an increasing focus towards digitization. Demonetization is the witness of the paradigm shift of the Indian economy from cash to cashless. With the emergence of blockchain era, enterprises across different sectors of the industry started to experience decentralized ledger. Gartner predicts that the business value of blockchain technology will exceed USD 3 trillion by 2030 and as per the PwC survey in 2018, 600 executives who hailed from 15 various regions were surveyed and about 84% of the respondents have affirmed to be leveraging the blockchain in some way or the other. India is trying to catch up with the rising trend in blockchain adoption. Presently blockchain is one of the fastest-growing skill sets in India with a lucrative salary higher than any conventional developer job. There is a considerable demand for jobs in blockchain technology, particularly in southern cities of India. Bengaluru, the tech city of India leads the job opportunities in the blockchain domain, which accounts for 36% of all job postings.
There is a massive unemployment problem within the Indian economy. Every year approximately 12 million population get ready to join the Indian workforce out of which 1.2 million are engineers and most of these engineers are engaged in MNC giants or other service sectors in India. India can plan to reskill a significant part of this workforce in blockchain technology to make many frictionless products for other Indian sectors like public distribution, the supply chain for agricultural products, bureaucracy, etc. The MNCs and IT sectors can take a crucial role to materialize this goal by providing different blockchain education programs to reskill the youth because they already have the techno-competent human resources. The Skill India initiatives can also support a higher level of penetration through training to develop blockchain-ready talents across the Indian subcontinent.
Even after 74 years of independence and 30 years of liberalization, India endures largely undigitized sectors and for the first time this is an advantage because India can get ahead of other nations by fabricating its digital infrastructure directly on the blockchain technology while other nations are still trying to figure out whether to induce blockchain in their legacy systems or to start it from scratch. So, there is an immense opportunity for India to take the lead in the blockchain revolution with its IT skilled human resources as well as digitize India with the help of blockchain.
There are few initiatives and Proof of Concepts (POCs) that India is experimenting with by adopting blockchain technology. Niti Ayog has conceptualized IndiaChain to study POC in land records, fake drugs, agriculture and healthcare; Indian banks and regulatory bodies are developing a POC on financial lending; a few Indian IT and MNCs are working jointly to transform supply chain financing. Telangana state government is using blockchain technology for securing land records and Kerala government has established India’s first blockchain academy to get Hyperledger membership. Based on the above initiatives, I believe the Indian government should further leverage the Skill India program for providing training to the young workforce on blockchain technology. A few other initiatives where the government of India has taken advantage of the demographic dividend are Swacch Bharat Mission, Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, RuPay debit card, Make in India and Department of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship. India can also utilize the existing infrastructure of National Programming on Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL) in providing training to engineers on blockchain technology. The Indian government can involve blockchain experts to spread blockchain technology by organizing workshops and conferences. Business houses and start-ups should cooperate with the government in implementing efficient regulations of this technology for pioneering their blockchain businesses in India and abroad.
However, the Indian government is antagonistic about cryptocurrencies that are based on blockchain technology but is actively focusing on other blockchain Proof of Concepts (POCs), viz; public distribution system, land and education records, identity management, cross-border finance and supply chain management. Blockchain is a new emerging technology by which various efficient systems can be constructed for both government and private corporations. If this fact is combined with India’s demographic dividend and Indian perspective start-ups, it would generate a lot of business opportunities for them. If we look at the statistics of Asian nations, it is obvious that most of the countries are ageing where India is experiencing an increase in its working population. This shows a huge business opportunity for Indian entrepreneurs who can extend their services to the ageing countries for their natural requirements like homes for the aged, asset management, goods and services for the aged, healthcare, mental care, social infrastructure, insurance, nursing, and many more. If all these business enterprises acquire blockchain from the very beginning they will be well placed and future-ready to browse a vast market share, like today’s sharing economy. So, the Indian educated entrepreneurs can take advantage of the diminishing demographic dividend of other nations through blockchain technology. It can be said that the blockchain technology is going to play a very important role in connecting the haves and the have-nots in the coming days.
(This is a slightly modified version of an article originally published in Everything Experiential. The original article can be found at http://everythingexperiential.businessworld.in/article/Blockchain-Technology-A-Way-To-Leverage-The-Demographic-Dividend-In-India/09-06-2021-392489/.)