Digital technologies can unveil a new world of possibilities in social change and upliftment, and this is the intent of the Tata Trusts’ Digital Transformation portfolio.
Digital technologies are an integral part of developmental planning as they help leverage higher levels of efficiency from limited resources and thus deliver greater scale and impact on the ground. Technologies such as data analytics can enable informed planning decisions and help focus developmental efforts where they are most needed. Both national and local-level programmes led by intelligent data could result in improved outcomes, while aiding in measuring, monitoring, and improving all aspects of development, including infrastructure, education, health care, livelihood and human welfare.
The digital world also opens up new improvement prospects for communities from economically weaker sections. Armed with digital skills, people can bridge the knowledge gap, and be empowered — for instance, by gaining information about government welfare schemes, developing market linkages for their products, learning about new livelihood opportunities and improving the quality of life.
India is riding the digital wave. A study conducted by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and Kantar IMRB reveals that the next wave of growth in mobile internet users in India is in fact going to come from rural India. Of the total number of 560 million internet users in the country, 251 million are from rural regions. With increasing literacy levels, changing lifestyles and habits, and almost 522 million mobile phone users, the rural economy is expected to grow at double the pace of its urban counterpart.
In rural India, access to the digital world has been slow, inconsistent and unbalanced. Women, for example, are generally discouraged from owning and operating devices such as mobile phones.
The Tata Trusts work towards addressing these traditional barriers and spreading digital literacy. The need of the hour is to provide these rural communities with the correct perspective of the medium, encourage its productive usage and help enrich their lives.
Digital adoption for governance has been on the rise, yet there is significant untapped potential to utilise technologies for development. For example, central, state and local authorities can revolutionise their decision-making process by basing it on accurate data. There are several challenges however, such as incomplete capture of data, data being disaggregated, disparity in the level of data granularity across jurisdictional boundaries, line departments and regions across the country, the inability to support accountability within similar data sets, and outdated information. These issues affect the quality of the targeted policy and decision-making.
Alignment with UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
The overall work of the Tata Trusts in the areas of data-based governance and digital literacy addresses the following United Nations Sustainable Development Goals:
- SDG 4: Quality education
- SDG 5: Gender equality
- SDG 8: Decent work and economic growth
- SDG 10: Reduced inequality
- SDG 11: Sustainable cities and communities
- SDG 17: Partnerships to achieve the SDG
The Trusts believe that by effectively combining implementation practices with technology, they can positively impact 100million lives by 2021.
The Tata Trusts believe that digital literacy is a key life skill for rural communities, and by imparting it in curated manner, they can accelerate the path of learning for these communities and guide them in their online journey towards topics of relevance
Regions Covered in Digital Transformation