New Delhi: As India marches on towards its goal of self-reliance, the question of self-reliance of India’s digital economies becomes ever more pertinent. Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Founder of Paytm, in conversation with Anant Goenka, Executive Director, Indian Express, described his experience as the founder of one of India’s most promising home-grown enterprises, Paytm. Paytm has been identified as a pioneer in digital payments across the world, and its founder believes that they are a testament to India’s digital capability. In his chat, Mr. Sharma explored the various frontiers for growth in the digital space, discussed the role of government in market proliferation, and analyzed the future of digital economies in India.
Mr. Sharma highlighted the advantage India has in terms of growth by comparing Digital markets to the automobile industry; where gasoline car makers have struggled to make Electric vehicles, but new electric vehicle manufacturers have found great success doing the same. Similarly, there is vast potential in digital technologies to overcome last mile failure which many conventional businesses have struggled with. The problem-solving approach has been key to Paytm’s success, which focused on bridging the infrastructural gaps in the payments sector. Mr. Sharma further explained that bridging these gaps in services does not mean that the digital business is now competing with the conventional business, but rather complementing it. Mr. Sharma exemplified this by saying that he does not consider banks competition.
The founder of Paytm was also firmly in support of India curtailing any data leaving the country, identifying it as a key resource for the proliferation of Indian digital economies. While Mr. Sharma conceded that for permitted use cases data may be taken outside the country, he also stated that the Government should also attempt to encourage all processing in India to ensure that we leverage this resource to maximize our benefit.
Mr. Sharma concluded by dismissing any concerns around the economic fallout from transitioning to an ‘Aatmanirbhar’ digital economy. Mr. Sharma was clear that the few thousand jobs foreign investment generates will be far outweighed by the long term benefits of homegrown digital enterprises. Mr. Sharma restated his commitment to India being a free market, but added clearly that any entity entering India should comply to Indian regulation like the homegrown entities do.
IDS 2021 will have speakers who are leaders in their own fields and from industries such as Logistics, FinTech, AdTech, Digital Health and beyond. The conference will also see industry stalwarts like Sanjeev Bikchandani of Infoedge, Deep Kalra of MakeMyTrip, Vijay Sekhar Sharma of Paytm, Rajan Anandan of Sequioa Capital, Ajit Mohan of Facebook share their insights with the delegates.
The event will comprise of six tracks: Building National Digital Infrastructure; Marketing for the Masses; Innovative digital services beyond the first 100 million paid customers; Digitally Recharging Small and Medium Business; Digital Policies from Global Perspective but Indian Reality; Nurturing Indian Startups.