Law Tech

Law (Taxes and Trade) – The future is tech and trust

Written by Parul Vivek on Digilah (Tech Thought Leadership)

The cross-border trade and tax landscape globally has been undergoing exponential changes. With dynamic geopolitical situation, ever evolving regulations and introduction of new compliance requirements, increasing levels of enforcement is needed to achieve the multiple objectives of legitimate revenue collection, ease of doing business, trade facilitation, while ensuring hassle-free compliances. And technology is playing an enabling role to move from a more control-based tax and trade regime to a trust-based future.

Stewart Brand [i]once said “Once a new technology rolls over you, if you’re not part of the steamroller, you are part of the road”. Hence, government authorities are proactively embracing advanced analytical technologies such as big data, data analytics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning as they see clear benefits with regard to increased transparency, risk management, fraud detection, trade facilitation, mutual co-operation and greater compliance. These trends are expected to increase as countries around the world continue to implement the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)’s Action Plan on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) [ii]and its requirements for more transparency in corporate tax reporting. Further, there is an increased collaboration between various multilateral agencies/ governments across the globe in exchanging of information via IT equipped databases, automated tools, etc.

In India, the technology led regulatory reforms have played a positive role in the field of both direct and indirect taxes, including customs, as well as policy making. Implementation of the landmark Goods and Service Tax (GST) in 2017 is one of the biggest examples of such reform. The direct tax arena has also seen an early adoption of technology. Additionally, introduction of faceless assessments of import and export entries under customs, integration of courier and cargo systems under one national customs portal ICEGATE[iii] and may other such initiatives in the pipeline clearly demonstrate government’s efforts and push towards digitization.

Even post the roll-out of GST, several forward-looking measures such as e-returns, e-registrations, e-way bills, e-invoicing, and QR codes, have been implemented by the government, which mark important milestones in India’s digitalization journey. As an outcome, India has witnessed an all-time high GST revenue collection from October 2020 onwards. In the recently released collection figures, the Finance Ministry revealed that the provisional net indirect tax collections [iv]for financial year FY2020–21 recorded a growth of 12.3%; 108.2% of revised estimates of indirect taxes for FY2020–21 has been achieved. This is a big win and testimony to the fact on how embracing technical tools can help achieve more legal compliance and revenue targets.

Another notable tech-based initiative by India Finance Ministry as part of its strategic commitment to improve global trade has been the conducting of national Time Release Study (TRS) [v]started in Aug 2019 and institutionalized on an annual basis.  It helps to diagnose existing and potential bottlenecks which act as barriers to the free flow of trade and take remedial actions for reducing the cargo release time at various Indian ports (sea ports, air cargo completes, inland container depots, etc.).

There is no doubt that technology and law have a complicated interrelationship. As a matter of fact, advancement in technology is almost always expected to outpace law making as seen recently with introduction of crypto currencies, electric vehicles, digital payment platforms, social media platforms, wherein the regulators worldwide are still struggling to define legal boundaries. But on the other hand, technology is helping in better implementation of law by giving more feedback to legislature. In addition, technology is redefining the legal field. Online research databases have replaced law books, digital contracts have replaced physical copies, and numerous other advancements are helping to simplify complex legal world. New technologies hold significant potential to support policymakers in law making, legal analysis and enforcement.  As Andy Grove [vi]once said Technology will always win. You can delay technology by legal interference, but technology will flow around legal barriers”.

And as government authorities embrace digitalization, it’s never been more important for individuals and companies to understand every detail of their online stories, both personal and professional (including those on Instagram too) 😊.

[i] Stewart Brand is an American writer, best known as editor of the Whole Earth Catalog.

[ii] Base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) refers to tax planning strategies used by multinational enterprises that exploit gaps and mismatches in tax rules to avoid paying taxes

[iii] Indian Customs EDI Gateway

[iv] Source: Published by Ministry of Finance April 2021

[v] The TRS is an internationally recognized tool advocated by World Customs Organization (WCO) to measure the efficiency and effectiveness of international trade flows. Read the latest at

[vi] Andrew Stephen Grove was a Hungarian-American businessman, engineer, and CEO of Intel Corporation.

Digi Tech Fin Tech Med/Health Tech


Written by Rishikesh Patankar, Ph.D. on Digilah (Tech Thought Leadership)

The need for digital literacy in a country as populous and diverse as India is critical. The gap between limited availability of resources as against vast requirement could be addressed by use of technology. Technology can provide effective ways to scale up solutions and bridge the gaps. The technology and connectivity together can make a huge difference to the socio-economic levels of a community, and ultimately, the country, true progress comes from inclusive growth.

The Government of India has launched ‘Digital India’A programme to transform India into digitally empowered society and a knowledge economy. The Digital India programme envisages to ensure that Government services are available to citizens electronically. Under the ‘e-Kranti – Electronic Delivery of Services’, one of the initiatives includes ‘Technology for Education – e-Education’ under which ‘Universal Digital Literacy’ at the National level is envisaged.

I would like to share the experience gained in implementation of a successful Digital Literacy programme across India, led by CSC.


The technology and connectivity could be utilized effectively for delivery of education, healthcare, citizen services, financial services etc. The true potential for these aspects can only be realized if all the citizens are made digitally literate.

The key is to have sustained efforts by harnessing collective energies, strengthening partnerships and leveraging them to pull down the divisive digital wall.

Digital literacy is therefore a key component of the Government’s vision of building an empowered society as envisaged under “Digital India initiative”. Spinoff effects of digital literacy especially in the context of rural India would address a number of socio-economic issues.

  • Rural population can gain immensely from the ‘Digital Literacy’.
  • ‘Digital Literacy’ would bring the benefits of ICT to daily lives of rural population in the major thrust areas of Healthcare, Livelihood generation and Education.

As per Census of India 2011, 68.84 % (883 Mn) of population resides in rural India. The number of rural households is 168 million. 5.2% of these rural households possess a computer.

Computer Literacy (who can operate a computer) by age group in rural India:

14-29 years – 18%

30-45 years – 4%

46-60 years – 1%

In addition, a significant number of these households don’t have computer access and are likely to be digitally illiterate.


The implementation of the PMGDISHA Scheme is being carried out by the CSC e-Governance Services India Ltd. (CSC-SPV) which acts as the Programme Management Unit (PMU). More than 250,000 Training Centres have been empaneled under PMGDISHA to provide enrollment/training to the candidates. The Training Centres are spread across the country and are participating in achieving the goal of making India digitally literate.

In the years 2014 to 2016, two Schemes entitled “National Digital Literacy Mission” (NDLM) and “Digital Saksharta Abhiyan” (DISHA) were implemented with certification of 5.4 million candidates, out of which around 42% candidates were from rural India.

In February, 2017, the Government approved a scheme titled “Pradhan Mantri Gramin Digital Saksharta Abhiyan” (PMGDISHA) for ushering in digital literacy in rural India by covering 60 Million households.

Under this Scheme, as on 08/01/2022:

– 54.5 Mn candidates have been enrolled

– 46.2 Mn candidates have completed the training

– 34.30 Mn have been certified


  • Online Portal, Real-time Online Monitoring Tool for Analytics & Reports ( )
  • Handbook & Multimedia content (in 22 Scheduled languages of India and English)
  • Mon-Sun, between (8 AM to 8 PM) we conduct online Remotely Proctored Examination System
  • Digital Signed Certificates are generated for all passed candidates. Digital Locker has been integrated with the system

We had the support and capability of the below companies in carrying out this humongous task through their CSR initiatives.


3 impact assessment studies of the Scheme were carried out by:

  1. The Council for Social Development (CSD) in 2017-18.
  2. Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) – Delhi in the year 2019.
  3. Indian Institute of Public Administration (IIPA) in FY 2020-21.

The aim of the study was to analyze the ground level situation of the scheme with a larger aspect of continuation of the scheme.

The brief highlights of the impact assessment reports are:

  • PMGDISHA training has had a formidable impact on the use of ICT and other forms of digital media
  • 59% of the respondents stated that after attending the IT literacy training, their digital ability & confidence levels using digital has increased
  • Women participation is very large and their inclusion at the rural level will open the path for the learning of the whole family.
  • However, less participation of very poor and very illiterate was observed

We are very proud the Digital literacy drive continues in the country, aided with the integration, and help of NGOs and others under the leadership of CSCs.

Facilitated by PMGDISHA (Universal Digital Literacy for Rural India through Prime Minister Rural Digital Literacy Mission)

Subscribe to the below link for Digital lessons in many Indian languages: