Building revolutions: The technological imperatives
ECONOMY & POLICY

Building revolutions: The technological imperatives

The intrinsically linked four pillars of development (infrastructure, investment, innovation, and inclusion) offer a roadmap to unlock that potential. These pillars are not isolated but rather interdependent elements that form the very foundation of India’s progress, writes Satya Kaliki, C...

The intrinsically linked four pillars of development (infrastructure, investment, innovation, and inclusion) offer a roadmap to unlock that potential. These pillars are not isolated but rather interdependent elements that form the very foundation of India’s progress, writes Satya Kaliki, CTO, Infra.Market.India stands at a unique position, sustained by a youthful demographic and unprecedented technological advancement. This blend creates an environment where strategic attention is directed towards the ‘Four Pillars of Development’ for the Indian economy encompassing infrastructure, innovation, inclusion, and investment, with each playing a pivotal role in shaping the nation’s growth trajectory.The unique demographic dividend of India, coupled with technological advancements, creates an exceptional opportunity for rapid economic development. These pillars lay the foundation for resilience and sustainability. By investing in robust infrastructure, fostering innovation-driven industries, promoting inclusive policies, and attracting domestic and foreign investment, a conducive environment can be created for a prosperous future while contributing to global progress and economic development. Additionally, a huge and diverse talent pool that enables the cross-pollination of ideas and innovations can drive faster development. India has a chance to become a global technology, innovation, inclusion, and investment leader if it plays all its cards right. Ensuring equitable growth for all sections of society, it can provide the robust framework needed to harness this potential and drive India towards becoming a global economic powerhouse.Let us delve deeper into these dimensions, emphasising their significance and the intricate web of connections that bind them, all of which are instrumental in fostering sustainable growth. Infrastructure: The backbone of developmentThe sheer pace of urbanisation in India necessitates a rapid and resilient infrastructure network. The country requires sustainable and effective solutions beyond conventional roads, bridges, and energy networks. For instance, the advent of AI-based predictive maintenance can significantly reduce operational costs and downtime for public transportation and utilities. A strong network can make for a next-level user experience even as it directly benefits the quality of life for residents. We can expect construction sites managed by Internet of Things (IoT) sensors, drones, and automated machinery to be seamlessly connected by ultra-fast 5G networks. This would enable real-time monitoring of projects along with the prediction of supply chain management and remote machinery operation. 5G can also facilitate fast data transfer between sites and central offices, enabling quick design adjustments and response to on-site issues. Building an agile and advanced infrastructure instills confidence in the business environment making it attractive to domestic and foreign investors, which in turn results in increased investments.Investment: Fuelling the futureRobust infrastructure needs substantial investment, and India is already a focal point for domestic and international investors. The government’s recent initiatives - including Make in India, National Single Window System, the National Monetisation Plan, National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP), and Gati Shakti - offer promising avenues for stakeholders.New financing models, including public-private partnerships (PPP) and infrastructure investment trusts (InvITs), can function as instruments for risk diversification. Technology is integral to planning smart cities, leveraging data analytics, the Internet of Things (IoT), and automation to optimize resource utilization, improve urban planning, and enhance the overall quality of life. It can play an intermediary role here, offering platforms for transparent governance, streamlined regulatory compliance, and efficient asset management. This helps create an investor-friendly business environment and bolsters the ease of doing business. Innovation: The driving forceInnovation is the lifeline of any thriving economy. The infrastructure sector is ripe for disruption through technologies like blockchain for transparent land acquisition processes, drones for efficient project monitoring, and virtual reality (VR) for realistic project simulations. Moreover, India’s burgeoning startup ecosystem is fertile ground for innovations directly contributing to economic progress. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, it encouraged the convergence of entrepreneurial spirit, access to capital and market opportunities, while advancing through resilience and adaptability. The paradigm shift in construction practices, and increasing importance on efficiency and quality have fuelled the demand for innovative building materials that streamline construction processes. RMC and advanced materials like uPVC, fly ashes, and 3D tiles, are transforming construction through innovations that boost sustainability and performance. The government’s support through initiatives like Digital India and Startup India further propels this culture of innovation.Inclusion: Technology for equitable growthIn the ever-evolving landscape of construction, inclusion is the fundamental pillar that stands as a cornerstone in the pursuit of holistic development. The synergy between skilling, training, and technology-driven construction methods breaks down barriers and fosters inclusivity. Technology makes it possible for the construction workforce to receive essential training in modern construction technologies through skilling and upskilling. In fact, technological initiatives provide breakthroughs for government projects like Gati Shakti by working around problems like disjointed planning and asynchronous implementation.Additionally, in rural areas, initiatives like durable, eco-friendly road materials and IoT-enabled wastewater treatment plants help bridge the urban-rural divide. Inclusive policies and investments in social infrastructure related to health and education are essential for reducing disparities and ensuring that marginalized communities have access to basic services and opportunities. Innovative building methods enable low-cost, sustainable housing projects that directly benefit underprivileged communities. For instance, the government initiative named, ‘Parvatmala: National Ropeways Development Programme’ that touts itself to be a game-changer focuses on ensuring inclusive development by enhancing connectivity in the most remote regions of India. It also furthers ecological sustainability by using other alternative solutions instead of conventional roads. Building a society where opportunities are equitable, and the dream of a secure, comfortable home is within everyone’s grasp is the real power of technology in construction. The confluence of pillarsIndia’s potential is boundless, and the intrinsically linked four pillars of development (infrastructure, investment, innovation, and inclusion) offer a roadmap to unlock that potential. These pillars are not isolated but rather interdependent elements that form the very foundation of India’s progress. And at the heart lies technology, serving as the catalyst that binds them together. This wholesome approach, driven by technology, ensures a resilient economy that can adapt to the evolving dynamics of the modern world. India’s potential is a tangible reality, waiting to be unearthed through the constructive collaboration of these pillars and the transformative power of technology.About the author:Satya Kaliki is the Chief Technology Officer at Infra.Market, a con-tech solutions company that is rebuilding the future of construction through innovation and technology. He orchestrates the business agenda using innovation and technology and builds digital models and market-driven strategies for the long-term growth of the organisation.

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