Islamabad: Sharing his excitement, Uzair Younus, a Pakistani foreign policy expert, stated that his firsthand experience of India's expanding digital footprint during a recent visit to the country changed his perception of India and made him feel like he was visiting a state from the future.
Looking at the well-maintained old Dargah in his ancestral village, which is maintained by local Hindus and visited primarily by Non-Muslims, he said that Pakistanis are being fed the “lies of hate for the sake of politics”. Uzair Younus, the director of the Pakistan Initiative at the Atlantic Council's South Asia Center, made the remark in a self-produced podcast on the ‘The Pakistan Experience'- a well-viewed YouTube channel. In the podcast, he discussed his recent trip to India, as well as digital advancements, communal harmony and overall development, among other things.
According to Uzair Younus, director of the Pakistan Initiative at the Atlantic Council's South Asia Center, the people of India are energised. “The Indians are bursting with vitality. They exude positive vibes and an attitude that ‘this is our moment. If not now, then when? “In the video, Younus stated.
According to him, Indians have this attitude because of the country's investment in infrastructure as well as efforts to digitise the economy besides focussing on even the smallest things. He also mentioned how impressed he was when he saw a cobbler in Mumbai offers his customers a QR code scanner to enable digital payment. “A QR Code scanner was also available from the owner of a Paan shop. Cash was not required at all,” he stated.
He said he was amazed to see people eat Kachoris at restaurants and then leave. Though he was initially perplexed as to why they were leaving without paying for their meals, he later learned that they had done so digitally. “I was perplexed as to why the shopkeeper let his customers leave without paying for their meals. Then I noticed a Paytm QR code, and customers were simply scanning the code to make payments,” he continued.
The foreign policy expert recalled asking a friend how the shopkeeper kept track of payments received. “According to my friend, Fintech companies have begun selling smart speakers that are linked to the merchant's wallet. When a payment is received, the smart speakers will make an announcement while the merchant is busy attending to his customers,” he stated.
In response, the show's host joked that Younis must have visited a future state. The foreign policy expert nodded in agreement. He went on to say that cash is still used in India, and that cash circulation accounts for 13% of the country's GDP.
“In Pakistan, it is 20%,” he explained. “Pakistan doesn't even have a 5G network, let alone what Jio did there (in India),” said the show's host. According to the Pakistani foreign policy expert, everyone in India has zero balance accounts, UPI, and mobile phone access.
He stated, “Our generation had digitised IDs and passports, but we did not go further. We were late. We did it for the sake of doing it.” “Because the Indian government provides the necessary infrastructure, there is no cost to sending money via UPI. The Indian government requires that every citizen with an Aadhar card have access to a zero-balance, zero-cost bank account “Younus took note.
People in remote Indian villages have Aadhar cards and zero-balance bank accounts, he said, which was novel to him. “This is what the Modi government in India has done. He was chastised and accused of wasting government funds at the time. People claimed that opening bank accounts JanDhan with zero balances and receiving bank subsidies would result in nothing. However, it has changed people's lives “He stated.
“Government subsidies increased the popularity of digital wallets, encouraged the delivery of services via digital means, reduced corruption, and enabled more digital payments. Because you can now not only open a bank account on an e-wallet but get insurance and credit too,” he narrated.
“My paternal grandfather's village, Ghed Bagasra near Rajkot, has only 3000 people but has access to 4G LTE and they showed pride in having a good school,” he explained.
“My father requested that I go to a dargah where my ancestors are buried. Even the flower shop next to the dargah gave his customers a QR code “He went on to say.
He also shared his pleasant experiences of his visit to the Taj Mahal and what he saw on his travelling on expressways to Agra. He concluded on the cordial and positive behaviour of locals wherever he visited including the Rajkot Municipal office to ascertain the birth records of his ancestors.”