Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) chairman Mukesh Ambani on Tuesday said that India is on its way to become one of the three richest countries in the world.
Speaking at the 24th MobiCom conference here, Ambani said, “When the first conference of MobiCom was held in the mid-90s, I was busy in the world of energy and atoms. Not in bits and bytes. It was an altogether different world then… the all-pervasive impact of mobile technologies was, at best, science-fiction. India’s GDP in the early 90s was around USD 350 billion. We had just come out of a severe financial crisis in 1991. Very few in the world thought that our country’s prospects were bright. Today, our GDP is nearing USD 3 trillion, and India is well on its way to become one of the three richest countries in the world.”
Ambani, who was recently named as the richest Indian for the 11th consecutive time, said the country’s digital transformation is unmatched and unprecedented after it took leadership position from being 155th in wireless broadband technology adoption in just two years.
“I am delighted that MobiCom chose to host its conference in India. I can say with confidence that if there is one place in the world where the transformative power of digitisation is breaking new ground every day, it is India. India’s digital transformation is unmatched and unprecedented. In just 24 months, India has taken a leadership position from being 155th in wireless broadband technology adoption – and the impact of this unprecedented growth can be seen across all digital domains,” Ambani added.
The RIL Chairman further said that mobile computing as a catalyst is driving massive data consumption – and this has given young Indians a fertile ground for disruptive ideas.
“Cloud computing and networking technologies have used broadband as a foundational enabler – leading to Indian entrepreneurs starting to make a global impact. In the next two decades, I can confidently say that India shall be leading the world and shall contribute to the next wave of global economic growth,” he said.
The industrialist further opined that India languished on the fringes during the first two industrial revolutions which were powered by coal and steam and electricity and oil, respectively, adding that the country has only started playing catch-up in the computer-driven third industrial revolution.
“Let me tell you why I am so optimistic about India’s potential…Not just optimistic, I am actually convinced. Earlier, the world had witnessed three industrial revolutions. The first one was powered by coal and steam, the second was fuelled by electricity and oil, and the third used electronics and information technology. During the first two revolutions, India languished on the fringes. It started playing catch-up in the computer-driven third industrial revolution,” Ambani said.
“The fourth industrial revolution is now upon us. It is marked by a fusion of technologies straddling the physical, digital and biological worlds. I can say with full confidence that India has a chance of not just participating in the fourth industrial revolution, but also leading it. This is possible because the India of today is remarkably different from the India of yesterday. India’s vast tech-savvy young population is its key strength. Just imagine the kind of connected intelligence India can create if the power of billion-plus minds is combined! Our nation is more vibrant and ambitious than ever before on the back of its youthful energy and enterprise,” he added.
Ambani also said that India is a democracy which is being run on the model of equitable and inclusive growth with a society-wide culture of empathy. He added that India is now openly embracing the digital technologies of tomorrow.
“With a world-class digital infrastructure in place, each one of the 1.3 billion people of India can now productively participate in the fourth industrial revolution. We can solve the biggest unsolved problems facing humanity right here in India. India is a rich and fertile ground for entrepreneurship,” Ambani said.
He further said that India is a rich and fertile ground for entrepreneurship and has emerged as the fastest growing start-up base worldwide.
“It has already succeeded in creating a healthy ecosystem to nurture entrepreneurs, especially young entrepreneurs. Most significantly, India has emerged as the fastest growing start-up base worldwide. Today, the nation is home to the third largest number of technology driven start-ups in the world.”
Explaining how India can rise to its full potential and to its destined eminence, Ambani said that the country needs to prepare itself for a period of information and digital abundance, adapt itself to the scorching pace of innovation, quickly transform the idea into a breakthrough innovation, shift from a system of time-bound education to a mode of continuous learning and ensure that new and disruptive technologies create more employment opportunities than they take away.
“We have to groom our children to be digitally-savvy right from school. Schools should train students in ‘the four C-s’ – critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity. These are the skills required to build the foundation for a sustained leadership in the digital age for India. Within a single generation, we can empower and enrich our vast and young human resources to give India a competitive edge in the world. We now have the opportunity to digitally reinvent all sectors of our economy – be it financial services, commerce, manufacturing, agriculture, education, and healthcare. India can leapfrog the competition and lead the world in each of these sectors,” he explained.
Ambani stated that there is a pressing need and a golden opportunity to create a digital green revolution. He added that India has an unprecedented opportunity to create wealth and new knowledge-rich livelihood opportunities in rural areas by encouraging adoption of technologies for water conservation, soil management, precision farming and waste reduction to enhance agricultural productivity.
“I am sure that if we combine digital technology tools with the innate knowledge and wisdom of Indian farmers, we can usher in an evergreen revolution. The second big digital opportunity is in education. India’s youth is our biggest asset. But we need good quality education for all to make them a productive asset,” he added.
Ambani informed that 58,000 colleges, over 700 universities and 19 lakh schools in India would be digitally connected, with Reliance Jio playing a leadership role.
“We need digital tools and innovations to break geographical, social, language and economic barriers. 58,000 colleges, over 700 universities and 19 lakh schools in India will be digitally connected, with Jio playing a leadership role. Any student, even in a remote village, can have access to the best teachers and the latest knowledge in the world,” he said.
“AI-based smart assistants can bring personalised learning adapted to the needs of each student. And which can in fact overcome the gaps and constraints of classroom education —– like any age, any time and any subject learning in any language. Thirdly, healthcare is a basic human right of every Indian,” the RIL chairman added.
Ambani further stated that his company’s purpose is to ensure affordable and quality healthcare to all, which is both a national necessity and a national responsibility.
“For the first time in history, this has become possible because of digital technologies – accessible even in remote locations. Today, constraints of budget, physical infrastructure and trained personnel make it difficult to deliver quality healthcare to India’s large and growing population. India can overcome these constraints by adopting digital tools and innovations,” he said.
“As in education, the best doctors and best diagnostic facilities can become accessible to all citizens anywhere in the country. India can design a path-breaking and affordable healthcare system that will be a model for the rest of the world. Similar disruptive and scale opportunities exist in India in virtually every domain. I can safely predict that, from now on, every new generation of Indians will live a better, longer and more-fulfilling life – than the previous generation,” Ambani added.
Talking about Reliance Jio, his telecom venture, Ambani said that it is on a mission of making digital life a reality for 1.3 billion Indians.
“Reliance is a proud participant in India’s rise. And privileged to serve this new India. I have been fortunate to participate in building global-scale Reliance businesses in energy, information and digital services. Jio, our youngest and fastest growing venture, has been conceived not as a business, but as a digital movement. It is on a mission of making Digital Life a reality for 1.3 billion Indians. While India has pole-vaulted into global leadership in the mobile broadband space…we still lag behind in fixed-line broadband,” he added.
Ambani said that India is ranked quite low at 134th position in the global ranking for fixed broadband and, therefore, Jio is determined to move India to among the top three in fixed-line broadband.
“India is ranked quite low at 134th in the global ranking for fixed broadband. Jio is determined to move India to among the top 3 in fixed-line broadband, too. Our state-of-the-art digital infrastructure provides mobile and broadband connectivity across the country, with the largest fiber footprint. We will now extend this fiber connectivity to homes, merchants, small and medium enterprises and large enterprises simultaneously across 1500 cities to offer the most advanced fiber-based broadband connectivity solutions,” he added.