When you sit down to write an edit on the very day election results in the world’s largest democracy are announced, it is hard not to be touched by the surge in people’s mood.
But that’s just about how much I’m going to give it leeway for. Like Kejriwal would have said (or should have said): Miles to go before we sweep.
While we have seen and heard a lot of I-told-you-so’s, cries of wolf and not-fairs in the past few days (ever since the upswing for Modi/BJP appeared on the horizon), there is so much work to do that any victory parade is not only premature but uncalled for.
It is hight time the conversation moved to setting things right: the sooner, the better. And time it moved from the prolonged kerfuffles on caste, religion and laddoos to a well-reasoned discourse on nation-building, mess-clearing and forward-moving.
The key pillars of such a conversation, in my opinion, are legislative, industrial, technological and environmental—which, if taken cohesively together, will lead to a rise in India’s stature and improvement in its human development index.
In the tech aspect, which is our concern here, there have been several lost opportunities in the past 10-15 years. To give but one hint, we celebrated the year of broadband several years back, but are we a broadband nation yet?
Sure, we have done really well in software exports and the BPO sector, but as a consumer and “owner” of technology, we are way, way behind others.
Thankfully, things are at a stage where they can take off big time—and if the new decision makers in government would just give them a nudge, it would help.
And yet there is no IT manufacturing to boast of. Much of the apps and content used here are either developed elsewhere or their IP is owned by firms abroad. Most of the young IT graduates entering or working in the industry are “code mules” rather than cutting-edge programmers, creative types or risk-takers.
To put it straight, even if tritely, the ICT scenario in India is not developing holistically.
For some initial years of its growth and recognition on the world stage, it might have been all right for India to follow a lopsided or opportunistic model. But for India to stake the claim as a true IT power, the ICT story needs to be accelerated as a whole. What the government must do is press the pedal and shift the gear.
Files to go before we tweet.