Meenakshi Batra CEO, CAF India

Meenakshi Batra
CEO, CAF India

Mobile phone is one of the defining technologies of the 21st century. It is emerging as a key driver in India by contributing significantly to our GDP growth. In fact, the potential it possesses in achieving socio-economic growth is unprecedented. The access to mobile services and low-cost smartphones has created a substantial opportunity for people in the country. Apart from reducing barriers in communication, mobile technology can further prove to be an effective means to empower and address developmental challenges.

India’s mobile subscription base crossed the 1.2 billion mark in January 2017 and by 2022 it is expected to exceed 1.4 billion. The growth provides a prospect to leverage mobile platform in order to address developmental needs and create a large scale social impact across the country. Many mobiles apps have been developed with this objective. The apps have played an instrumental role in making an impact by providing innovative solutions in various streams of governance: education, health, agriculture, disability, livelihoods and safety for many in the country.

Mobile phone led e-governance is rapidly transforming lives for both urban and rural populations. It has enabled citizens located in remote rural areas to access government services. ‘Digital India’ is one of the key initiatives of the government. Aimed at introducing accountability and transparency, it is promptly changing the landscape of governance. Historical issues related to healthcare and education has been resolved at the click of a button.

In our country, where a large part of the population still doesn’t have access to financial services, mobile phones have enabled financial inclusion for millions through digital transactions. Today, mobile phones play a vital role in community development, and enabling communities to get connected to the government schemes. Mobile technology-led solutions can give information to farmers on market prices, weather reports and other important information that impacts crops. mHealth has revolutionised the healthcare sector, it has enabled remotely located communities to get healthcare access and advice from a medical practitioner.

The scope of mobile technology and its solutions are practically endless. It has transformed the way we work – be it large, for-profit corporations or a not-for profit entity. In practice, mobile phones and their usage will fill the gap left open by poor or non-existent infrastructure enabling technology-led innovations to be adopted more quickly. It is humbling to see the solutions that mobile technology can offer for social good and create a sustainable impact on millions of people in India.

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