Global Economy

Govt developing platforms on education, health: Ashwini Vaishnaw

The government is working towards developing platforms on education and healthcare, language translation, logistics and agriculture to develop an open API ecosystem, IT & telecom minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said on Friday.

Speaking at an industry event, he said that the idea was to create a super app for the private sector to eventually develop apps on this public platform and provide the services to the last person in the society at the bottom of the pyramid at very modest prices.

At a discussion moderated by Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant, Vaishnaw, also the railways minister, explained that given the resounding success of the UPI platform, built by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI),the government believed in a public private partnership which was a win-win for everyone.

Vaishnaw was responding to a question asked by Kant about possible services of the government wherein the concept of super apps can be leveraged.

On the issue of the blueprint for public private collaborations in the digital era of today, Viashnaw said, India had already created 70 unicorns within record time of the Startup India programme which envisaged 100 Indian unicorns by 2025. This he said was possible as, “youngsters came up with ideas, the way government & private sector both coordinated, funding happened and our robust academic institutions played their part.”

Vaishnaw added that India had a very good demographic advantage, good academic institutions and the government was supporting this growth in a “solid, consistent way” and that was feeding into this public private win-win structure.

Kant asked the panel to elaborate examples of using fintech beyond finance, to which Vaishnaw said IRCTC was a prime example. “When it started booking online tickets, it was 20 tickets a day, today it is 1.5 million reservations a day and beyond reservations, a lot more stuff is going on in IRCTC,” Vaishnaw said. Elaborating on usage of fintech beyond finance Vaishnaw said, 60% of these reservations were done through mobile apps.

“There is a platform where you can buy lots of stuff because you are travelling and decide during your journey as to what you need to buy. It is a very interesting ecosystem which IRCTC has built,” Vaishnaw highlighted, saying it brought together digital technology, fintech, the power of railways and leveraged the great numbers in India’s railway ecosystem.


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