India is expected to become a USD 5 trillion economy in the next eight-nine years with the manufacturing sector alone contributing 20 percent towards that, Union Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu said on Wednesday.

"We are preparing a detailed plan towards achieving that. Experts are busy preparing the roadmap including all the sectors where manufacturing can be promoted. If manufacturing is digitized, it will create a huge opportunity for technology firms," Prabhu said.

Speaking on the first day of the India Digital Summit organized by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) here, the minister said innnovation cannot be confined to geographical borders.

"In order to reach the USD 5 trillion economy, manufacturing will contrinute USD 1 trillion and services will contribute USD 3 trillion," the minister told the gathering.

Prabhu said he was currently working on a strategy for international trade which will contribute USD 2 trillion to the economy, where the contribution can come both from manufacturing and services sectors. 

Earlier in the day, Niti Aayog Chief Executive Amitabh Kant said that every Indian will have a smartphone in the next five years.

There were nearly 400 million smartphone users in the country, he said, adding this was a period of huge technology disruption in the country.

"Today, 85 percent of the devices are still unconnected. Therefore, there is a huge opportunity in the Internet of Things (IoT) space. The opportunity would be in the range of USD 70 billion by 2025," Kant told the gathering.

According to him, Artificial Intelligence (AI) alone will generate opportunity to the tune of USD 32 billion.

"Advanced robotics are already handling 25 percent of the jobs. This will rise to 45 percent in the coming years. 

"India is already ranked globally as the most active Internet user globally on a monthly basis. Digital transaction will touch USD 100 trillion in the next 10 years," he told the gathering.

With 99 percent Aadhaar penetration and bank account opened under Jan Dhan Yojana, he said, the scope was immense for the Fin-Tech industry.

"As far as the start-up community goes, 'Make in India' initiative had brought in a paradigm change in the financial ecosystem. While we have 4,000 start-ups, it will go up to 12,000 by 2020," Kant said, adding that about 600 start-ups were there in the FinTech sector which will become a USD 14 billion opportunity by 2020.

The challenges today for the country were to provide safe drinking water, create infrastructure and build flyovers. All these give unicorns a unique opportunity to invest and explore, Kant said.

Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan said that for IoT to happen, we need to have a robust 4G ecosystem in the country.

"I am hopeful that by the end of this year, we will have a pan-India 4G network availability," Sundararajan told the audience.

She mentioned that the government has constituted a task force for rolling out the 5G network in the country. 

The taskforce will come out with a roadmap soon, she said, adding that the Department of Telecommunications is keen on partnering with key telecom providers in the roll-out stage.

Delivering the inaugural address, Rajan Anandan, Chairman, IAMAI, and Vice President, Google India and South-East Asia, said these are exciting times for the Internet adoption in the country. 

"Availability of very low-cost yet high-speed mobile Internet connection in 2017 has moved a slow-speed nation to a high-speed nation," Anandan noted. – Daily Pioneer


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