Lets Us Solve The Right Problems

By Sanjoy Paul   |   Friday, 13 Dec 2013, 16:06 IST

While technology becomes an integral part of an economy’s growth, innovative IT strategies in growing economies are premised on the presence of developed social and economic infrastructure. A strong purchasing power also becomes extremely vital for a nation's growth. Innovations in IT, especially in major areas like healthcare, education, agriculture, women empowerment and so on are made a mandate in policy making.

Problems at Home

Home is where the heart is. The first step to make a positive change in major sectors that drive the economy is to solve the "problems at home". India is not moving fast enough to solve these problems. These problems come to picture when the rural part of India is taken into consideration. Places which are located just a few miles away from the city have a completely different lifestyle, hygiene, culture and so on.

On the flip side, India has a major chunk of population that survives on a minimum of Rs 35 per day. In order to improve this situation, we should not be too optimistic or pessimistic, but take a realistic approach. As problems continue, lot of opportunities to make the situation alright also comes along. This is a country with all types of culture, sky scrapers and a strong flow of money. The bright side to this situation should be recognized and necessary changes be made.

Media talks about the slow rate of GDP, but India’s growth has been significant in the last few years. The predictions for the coming years are positive and successful changes can be made using innovations in IT and other technological advancements.

Innovation – Importance

Innovations are the result of aforethought research and activities related to development that rise in the course of market competition. Technological development becomes the basis of a long-run economic growth which obviously comes from innovations that breed new products, processes and markets. Without a doubt, innovation will be an important determinant of the global competitiveness of these developing nations. This growing discernment among the policy makers that initiate these innovations are the main drivers of nations’ economic progress and mutual well-being. This would in turn help to meet global differences in areas like health, agriculture and environment.

Agriculture in India – While 70 percent of the Indian population depends on agriculture for their livelihood, the methods used are out dated and traditional. When a comparison is made between countries such as U.S. and India, the usage of heavy machineries like tractors is questioned. Tractors are a necessity and compulsion in U.S., but India follows a traditional method of agriculture. Also, when it comes to the usage of pesticides, there is not much innovation to notice. Innovations need to be made in such a way that when there are changes to the quality of agriculture, the life of the farmer also thereby improves.

Healthcare – Healthcare institutions in rural India need to be developed a lot in terms of technology and scientific approach. Government health centers are understaffed as there is less than one doctor per 10,000 people in rural India. While the majority of people live in rural India, the physicians live in urban centers. Health staff is undertrained and lack the knowledge for diagnosing certain medical conditions and undertaking specialized treatment. In most cases, patients who can afford it are forced to travel to towns and cities, often with their relatives, for diagnosis and treatment, all of which translate into high cost and loss of daily wages. All diagnose and prescription documents are in English, which is not the working language of rural people.

An interesting innovation is the iDoc which is a healthcare initiative that tries to resolve the healthcare issues in rural parts of our country. It is basically a mobile decision support system which identifies the health problem. This solution is currently being used to address maternal and childcare which is a sensitive issue in India. As the maternal and infant mortality rate is extremely high, huge amount of money has been put by external funding agencies to solve these problems.


Severe shortage of doctors and ill equipped Para medical staff becomes one of the most challenging factors to address the problem of quality healthcare. People in the West might think tele-medicine would be a feasible option for India. Though there are about 700 million people in India who use a mobile phone, the concept of tele-medicine would take time to work. Only 30 percent is the money that is used for medical care and the remaining 70 percent is overhead. The reason being, each and every commodity for medical reasons is bought and the daily wage is also forgone.

Traditional methods and practices might not always work. There needs to be an approach that would shift the hard task downstream. While the working of just either of these is a difficult possibility, this is where IT comes into picture to bridge the gap. It also brings up the quality of healthcare. In rural areas, people travel long distances to visit a hospital, even for a general check up. Systems need to be easy, without any complexities involved. Solutions like iDoc can reduce the time, money and the energy invested to resolve a patient's query. As a result, if people are not able to go to the hospitals, hospitals should go to the patients.

Despite the government spending behemothic amounts of money to solve these malnutrition and mal nourishment issues, our country is in the bottom line in the index. There have been many schemes introduced by the government to capacitate the people of India. Each and every citizen of this country should take a different stride towards achieving this success of solving a problem.

Where there is still existence of ancestral methods of doing agriculture, education and so on, IT becomes the need, and innovations and strategies become a vital aspect of a country's economic progress. There would not be any compromise on the quality of skills and knowledge. There would be an answer to any healthcare related issue and response would be made with just a touch of button where no information is misplaced or lost.


About Author

Sanjoy Paul

Managing Director & Country Head -Accenture Technology Labs, India

Accenture Technology Labs is the R & D organization within Accenture has been exploring new and emerging technologies that shape future and invent next wave of Business Solutions. Accenture (NYSE: ACN) headquartered in Dublin, has a market capitalization of $47.78 billion.