India’s IT minister sees a big future in Internet of Things (IoT), and is expanding the country’s internet infrastructure to capitalize on it.

An article by India’s dna covered IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad’s remarks at a recent IoT conference organized by the country’s National Association of Software and Services Companies.

“As per Gartner, IoT will produce economic benefits of nearly $2 trillion by 2020 and Cisco estimates it will be $14 trillion,” said Prasad, extolling the massive IoT potential could bring to India. “Forbes says that we will have 25 billion IoT connections by 2020. Cisco estimates 50 billion, and the revenue is going to be very, very exciting.”

“Economically, IoT products are going to be very win-win,” said Prasad. He continued by saying that his ministry was open to suggestions that could improve IoT-related skills training and increase human resources research in this burgeoning industry.

Prasad said his government is prioritizing efforts that will allow India to capitalize on emerging IoT opportunities. Specifically, he highlighted efforts to build out the country’s internet infrastructure that will allow both business and government to fully exploit IoT possibilities.

In the past two and a half years, India has expanded its internet network from 358 km of optical fibre to 123,000 km. The minister said his government is targeting an expansion of its network to 500 million internet connections across India by 2017.

“God willing we are going to achieve that number this year itself,” he said.

Infrastructure expansion needs to go local

Prasad said another focus is connecting more local governments to the expanding internet infrastructure. Getting more communities online could boost India’s ability to foster IoT-related activity, such as smart city initiatives.

“We had 80,000 common service centers,” said Prasad, citing the number of local governments digitally connected local governments two years ago. “Now we have scaled up to 200,000. We are going to scale it up to 250,000 (local governments).”

Prasad also said his ministry is also active in digitizing the country’s post office network.

“We have 50,000 post offices in the country. More than 25,000 already have come under core banking solution and we are going to give hand-held devices to 130,000 rural postmen for doing internet banking, insurance services and all,” said Prasad.