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‘Connected Commerce: Creating a Roadmap for a Digitally Inclusive Bharat’

Published: 17th May, 2021

NITI Aayog and Mastercard have released a report, ‘Connected Commerce: Creating a Roadmap for a Digitally Inclusive Bharat’.


NITI Aayog and Mastercard have released a report, ‘Connected Commerce: Creating a Roadmap for a Digitally Inclusive Bharat’.


Key highlights of the report

  • The report identifies the challenges in accelerating digital financial inclusion in India.
  • It provides recommendations for making digital services accessible to its 1.3 billion citizens.
  • NITI Aayog was a knowledge partner in this endeavour.
  • The report highlights key issues and opportunities, with inferences and recommendations on
    • policy and capacity building across agriculture
    • small business (MSMEs)
    • urban mobility
    • cyber security

Issues addressed during the knowledge series were

  • Digital financial inclusion: Acceleration of digital financial inclusion for underserved sections of Indian society.
  • Support to SMEs: Enabling SMEs to ‘get paid, get capital and get digital’ and access customers, and ensure their continued resilience.
  • Cyber resilience: Policy and technological interventions to foster trust and increase cyber resilience.
  • Agriculture Support: Unlocking the promise of digitization in India’s agriculture sector.
  • Digital roadmap: The essential elements of a digital roadmap to make transit accessible for all citizens.

Key recommendations in the report are:

  • Strengthening the payment infrastructure: To promote a level playing field for NBFCs and banks.
  • MSMEs support: Digitizing registration and compliance processes and diversifying credit sources to enable growth opportunities for MSMEs.
  • Building information sharing systems: which include a ‘fraud repository’, and ensuring that online digital commerce platforms carry warnings to alert consumers to the risk of frauds.
  • Enabling agricultural NBFCs: To access low-cost capital and deploy a ‘phygital’ (physical + digital) model for achieving better long-term digital outcomes. Digitizing land records will also provide a major boost to the sector.
  • Ease of mobility: To make city transit seamlessly accessible to all with minimal crowding and queues, leveraging existing smartphones and contactless cards, and aim for an inclusive, interoperable, and fully open system such as that of the London ‘Tube’.

What other steps government has taken for digitalization?


·        PMJDY is a national mission on financial inclusion encompassing an integrated approach to bring about comprehensive financial inclusion of all the households in the country.

·        The plan envisages universal access to banking facilities at least one basic banking account in every household.


  • PMGDISHA is a scheme to make six crore persons in rural areas, across States/UTs, digitally literate, reaching to around 40% of rural households by covering one member from every eligible household by 31st March, 2019.
  • It aims to bridge the digital divide, specifically targetting the rural population including the marginalised sections of society like Scheduled Castes (SC) / Scheduled Tribes (ST), Minorities, Below Poverty Line (BPL), women and differently-abled persons and minorities.


  • The PAHAL (DBTL) aims to reduce diversion and eliminate duplicate or bogus LPG connections. The scheme was earlier launched in 2013 and was modified in 2015.


  • NREGA-soft envisions implementing e-Governance across State, District and three tiers of Panchayati Raj Institutions.
  • It empowers the common man using the information technology as a facilitator.
  • NREGAsoft provides information to citizen in compliance with the right to information Act (RTI Act). 


  • The initiative plans to enable citizens and merchants to undertake real time digital transactions through the DIGIDHAN Bazaar.
  • Through organising DigiDhan Mela’s across the country, it aims to handhold users in downloading, installing and using various digital payment systems for carrying out digital transactions.


  • AEPS is a bank led model which allows online interoperable financial inclusion transaction at PoS (MicroATM) through the Business correspondent of any bank using the Aadhaar authentication.
  • It is a payment service.

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