Pandemic has increased digital divide: Nandan Nilekani

BENGALURU: Chairman of Infosys Nandan Nilekani He said the pandemic had accentuated a digital divide and technology companies should ensure that the benefits of going digital are also reaped by those who, for example, do not own a smartphone.
“You had the choice of going to school or learning online but now there’s no choice. And if you don’t have a device, you won’t be able to attend classes, ”he said in an interaction with Microsoft India president Anant Maheshwari.
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“So I think these are examples of digital divide and whenever we’re designing population-scale systems, we have to make sure everyone can participate.”
He referred to the Aadhar, providing a unique identity to 1.27 billion people and the digital payments ecosystem in India that is built in such a way that people with feature phones can also use digital payments.
“For those people who also have feature phones they can use UPI on the feature phone. And those who don’t have phones can use Aadhar, go to a business correspondent, open a bank account with Aadhar and e-KYC. And then they can receive money in that account and withdraw the money using their Aadhar and using authentication. So whenever I design these systems, while on the one hand we generally want to do it by reducing the cost of telecommunications and the cost of devices, we also have to design the application in a way that people who don’t have them can access to participating devices as well. ”
Microsoft’s Maheshwari said digital scaling is a step toward bridging the gap in the country.
As part of this, Microsoft has helped over 30 million people in 249 countries and territories access digital skills, of which nearly 3 million are from India.
Microsoft is also expanding its commitment to help 250,000 companies globally hire skills-based hires in 2021.