In India, technology now plays a significant role in the growth of not only businesses but society as a whole. Digital technology is now being used in several critical ways, including in the banking and finance sector, education, communication, healthcare – and real estate.
During the pandemic, these technologies came to the forefront. Education went entirely online for a long while, and Indians learned how to use UPI to receive and make payments via UPI. Hospitals launched e-consultations, bringing medical care into Indians’ homes. And, very pertinently, Indian homebuyers made themselves familiar with how to use digital interfaces to find the homes of their choice.
Interestingly, this was not just a metropolitan phenomenon. At our development firm, digital interactions with customers via the website and digital channel partners gave us some exciting readings. From as early as April 2020 – a month after the first wave of Covid-19 started and lockdowns were imposed – property enquiries were coming in from many tier 2 and tier 3 cities of Maharashtra, and even from rural areas.
Fast-tracked Tech Evolution
In a very short time, homebuyers across India learned how to find homes via the Internet, using developer websites, apps, and the major real estate portals. This new-found knowledge about leveraging digital platforms coincided with a massive surge in the desire for homeownership.
The Indian real estate sector and other marketplaces using digital technology took a massive leap forward within less than a year. Under normal (non-pandemic) circumstances, such a rapid evolution would have been impossible. As always, demand drives supply – and the suddenly surging demand for homes made it imperative for buyers and property sellers alike to adopt technology quickly.
More recently, leading developers have even begun enabling property registrations via digital interfaces in their offices. All this has made digital technology accessible to most Indians, including in the previously under-penetrated rural areas. As India’s technological adoption grows, so will its overall economic prosperity.
Technology and GDP have become inextricably interlinked today. Digital infrastructure is literally changing our lives – and the economy.
Promises and Pitfalls
While digital adoption is increasing in India, the fact remains that this is a vast country where no facet of progress can unfold uniformly. The government must do more to help rural Indians understand and use technology to aid their economic prospects. This need goes far beyond making tech-driven homebuying possible – rural India needs access to other vital resources and marketplaces.
As it is, the migration of rural dwellers to urban cities is increasing. Developing countries like India are undergoing a steady metamorphosis from a farming-driven rural economy to the urban model of industrial growth and proliferation of the services sectors. Urbanization is part and parcel of development in more developed countries. India is not far behind.
Not only is India’s urban population increasing, but more and more rural parts of the country are being reclassi?ed as semi-rural and urban areas. Urban India’s boundaries are growing steadily. This means that the traditional differences between rural and urban requirements are also decreasing. Digital India must empower all parts of the country equally to ensure that rural-to-urban migration can be seamless.
Revamping Laws in Digital India
Many of India’s laws are antiquated and were not formulated with something as disruptive as digital technologies in mind. This is becoming more and more apparent. For example, in an age of cybercrime where tech-savvy scamsters exploit the knowledge loopholes of under-informed Indians, the legal system must impose strict punitive actions and preventative measures.
The Indian Penal Code requires various revisions. This is admittedly happening – but at too slow a pace. Likewise, provisions such as digital property registrations will only be uniformly beneficial when they apply to property transactions across the country. Therefore, with the help of digital technology India’s real estate sector is on the new high.
By: Anil Pharande, Chairman – Pharande Spaces & President – CREDAI Pune-Metro.