By Gaurav Shukla (Partner with Deloitte India) & George David (Director with Deloitte India)Also Read - Digital Transaction Up 88 Per Cent In Three Years. A Look At Five Initiatives By Government To Boost Digital India

The customers of today have gone through a paradigm shift when it comes to shopping, making payments, visiting a doctor, learning and even working. Some of them embraced the digital path because they found it more convenient and for some, it became necessary due to pandemic as there was no other alternative. While the pandemic really accelerated the adoption of digital by the consumers and it will continue to be fast-paced, the upcoming union budget is expected to further push the digitalization of infrastructure and services consumed by an end-user to fast-track the Digital India initiative. Also Read - PM Modi to Launch Pradhan Mantri Digital Health Mission on Sept 27

Digital adoption has increased our touchpoints with technology, reduced the need for unnecessary business travel and paved the way for remote working. As we start to not just survive, but also thrive in this ‘new normal’, consumers are looking to the government to provide some direction on the way forward. Also Read - PM Narendra Modi to Launch e-RUPI on August 2: Know All About The New Digital Payment Platform

This year’s Union Budget – the first paperless one in the history of independent India – is expected to address the concerns of the Indian consumer with respect to their interaction with technology, especially around privacy and confidentiality.

With the lockdown being imposed and a cashflow crunch, multiple fraudulent loan apps had sprouted, enticing consumers with various credit schemes and collecting their private and personal information.

In addition to the support from the government on pushing digital initiatives, consumers would expect to see tight measures being imposed to safeguard their digital wallets, UPI identity, and personal information. In order to develop confidence on digital payments the upcoming budget sessions must accelerate the passing of data protection act, thereby creating a strong compliance culture for digital payments in India.

In the healthcare sector, there is an expectation in upcoming budget for an increase in the spending on primary healthcare systems to provide better quality care, especially in rural areas. Tele-medicine and online doctor consultations have grown in popularity, owing primarily to the safety that online interaction affords the patient.

While large incentives are waiting to be announced on the National Digital Health Mission, we expect that the need for a strong legislations and resilient security framework in this area will be addressed as well.

The pandemic disrupted the lives of school children, and overnight, thousands of youngsters had to shift from blackboards to digital screens, as education and learning also went digital – an evolution continues Budget is also expected to allocate funds for the programmes that would bring more cyber awareness among school and college-going youth as well as faculty and parents. This will be in continuation from last year budget announcement on setting up national forensic science university in domain of cyber forensics. The future of education seems to be online, and the government will have to support this shift through various tax

incentives, as this will be a huge step towards ensuring quality education for all sections of society.

As the companies try to customize the customer experience, they collect data including personal and behavioral data from sources such as social media sites and other websites. With e-commerce being the preferred mode of purchase, customers expect to see a data and consumer privacy regulation being put in place through this Union budget

As per Deloitte’s 2021 Global Automotive Consumer study, a staggering 81 percent of Indian customers preferred connected cars. The electronic content created in these vehicles are vulnerable to cyber-attacks and the government would try to address this concern in the upcoming budget by bringing up with a regulation on vehicle data protection. As India’s biggest vaccination drive ever is underway, a large portion of the budget is expected to be set aside for cybersecurity, to ensure personal and vaccination-related information is stored appropriately, creating secure, vigilant, and resilient track-and-trace mechanisms. This will hinder the progress of fake phishing attempts through emails and mobile apps and will, to some extent, deter threat actors from gaining access to personal medical records of individuals. This will also help prevent incorrect dosage of vaccines from being administered and ensure that there is no lack of temperature monitoring, which can lead to loss of human life.

With more citizens taking the digital journey – whether it is through use of digital payment platforms, online shopping, virtual doctor consultation or online learning – there is an expectation that the government will take notice and keep aside a portion of the budget for data privacy and security-related concerns, especially as they look to enhance the digital literacy of citizens which is nucleus of the Digital India initiative.

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