Change in Facebook DP magically contributes to the Indian economy!

Modi and Mark in DigitalIndia support

Modi and Mark in DigitalIndia support

This post is an outcome of madness after seeing Mark Zuckerberg changing his DP on facebook in support of Digital India and the entire country and abroad following bandwagon.

By showing ‘support’ and changing the profile picture, just how exactly am I contributing to Digital India? Scores of NRI’s are always doing the ‘support’ bit by showing their love during every showcase of Indian culture. But how far is this ‘support’ going? When it comes to the real ‘contribution’ the daily bread it earns, end up supporting their native economy. Mr. Zuckerberg with this gesture unintentionally just added to his country’s too.

During the recent’ ModiInUS’ visit, the extensive coverage that the Indian media gave these PIO’s (person of Indian origin) settled outside since generations is amazing! They literally thrust the mic on them asking, “What do you think about your country India’s development?” And evidently these ardent Indians would want to contribute to this booming growth, with words! If opportunity to sit on this India Growth wave strikes you on the face then why would you not grab the chance? These PIO’s with heavy accents and show of only culture easily give away that ‘most’ rarely travelled to India and rarely know the real India.  We also sure know several Indians who voluntarily left shore to settle abroad in search of lifelong self-sustenance. Their regular banter, “Who really wants to stay in so much mud sling”? Leave alone in contributing to change. Best, escape to a better life. But once in that nation, they will not leave a single show of Indian-ness with the smallest celebration and largest congregation. (read: the Hardik Patel strike by US community that was to happen – Read here). The problem is not with the lakhs of students who go there for better education. The brain drain happens when only a few return back letting the lakhs of money spent by the govt. on them go in haste.

I am not a fanatic Indian who objects this. It’s their life their better choice, who am I to call debate. It just affects to see the media throw so much light on them when they really dont care. They left India long back. We have far more better success stories in India. As much as I admire Modi and his outstanding initiatives, I yet think he stretches too far in support of PIO’s. Nonetheless I am no intellectual in his capacity.

Supporting Digital India is great. But after a successful Townhall meet, I expected Facebook to come up with a much better campaign with a contribution factor. Thats what we all want to do. We dont want an FB to to show us the way to support. Modi already does enough through his social media tactics. Rather contributing just a 1/- would have been innovative as a thought.

Change in dp is just another change of mind, forgotten after counting the number of likes. In marketing terms it was a smart enagement tool for its second largest user base. And to better its brand image of doing supporting social causes.  As for Mark Zuckerberg he is a businessman after all, tapping on the Indian emotional quotient 🙂


Imagining Future India, Realizing Digital India

If a stockbroker in a city can get the latest share prices across the globe in seconds, then imagine a day when farmers, arguably the most underpaid workforce are digitally connected just like in a city to know the best practices for cultivation & market prices forgoing the money minting middlemen. If urban youth in India can take courses from Harvard & MIT to enhance their skills, then imagine a day when most of the children in remote areas can take online courses by the government schools to get mere basic education. If US can have a unique social security number for each citizen that propels better services, then imagine a day where every Indian citizen’s Aadhar card a unique identification number stored on a cloud platform enables efficient and rightful service delivery anytime anywhere. This is Digital India envisioned. This is Dream India revealed.

From high speed internet connectivity for Gram-Panchayats, through governance and services on-demand, to providing collaborative digital platforms for participatory governance! Digital India- the dream project of the Government of India(GoI) has planned it all under nine pillars. Do I wish to repeat them again that can also be found here? Naah, this digital medium called blog just gives me a chance to connect with more like minded audience and share my thoughts on this colossal project set to achieve Education, Information, Healthcare and Broadband for all. Here are a few points that are interest me.

The Aadhar Card (722 million as on December 2014), an initiative for a cradle to grave unique identity number was an amazing initiative by GoI, but it lost steam midway. The government can propel this again to create a centralized online repository on a cloud platform connecting all citizen details such as voters id no., passport no. , address, ration card, educational qualifications, bank accounts among others. This will also help in tracking utility consumption details such as usage of electricity, gas, water, telephone, visa status and medical payments. Mandatory usage of Aadhar cards for purchase/trade/sale of all commodities above a set value will keep a tab on all transactions and eliminate/reduce liquid cash/transaction. It will also enable citizens to avoid repeated submission of personal details to different departments.

Digital banking is on the rise with mobile banking and cashless transactions. The latter can be enhanced by a common e-wallet cum card that can be swiped for all forms of public transport like railways, buses, rickshaws, taxis.

Digital city-wise rate cards for perishable commodities like grains, vegetables or fruits allowing the farmers to get the right price as per the local rate fluctuation in the city eliminating a major cut of the middlemen & increasing transparency.

Poor literacy rate is a key factor causing poverty and reduced employment opportunities. This is caused due to lack of proper school facilities, teaching staff and inadequate classrooms. Digital literacy can surpass distance and help connect classrooms across the nation and to provide online teaching. PM Modi on Teacher’s day demonstrated the power of digital by connecting to various schools across the nation. Also Intel’s ‘Digital Skills for India’ programme with the Indian government is set to create digital literates across 1,000 panchayats, a move that will impact five million citizens by the end of 2015. A day may not be far when schools are connected through broadband and online education platforms like massive open online courses (MOOCs).

The central government has proposed to build 100 Smart Cities by 2025. If this dream turns a reality a blueprint of a proposed smart city should include 24/7 utilities, wi-fi zones, telemedicine, digital security and surveillance, smart parking and traffic management. The main aim should be to provide good infrastructure such as water, sanitation, reliable utility services and health care.

PM Modi invites US President Mr. Obama to grace the Republic Day of India 2015, breaks the news first on his Twitter handle.  Khan Academy of US educates over 10 million students across the world, run via its YouTube tutorial Videos. From world leaders to the common man, Social Networking Sites have a growing mass appeal so enormous that it sure promises to not fade away in the near future. It is helping in a two way communication between Government and citizen. is one such platform that engages citizens to help give feedback and formulate policies.

In next 2 years, if broadband penetration across India increases by 50% from current ~7% and mobile penetration in rural India increases by 30% from current ~45%, the corresponding increase in GDP could be 9% (~$180 billion). Mobile Banking and Broadband connectivity are the two pillars of major transformation in India. As clichéd it may sound the Idea advertisements depicting better education through better connectivity holds true if success fully implemented (p.s. the network by demand itself has seen inroads into many remote areas).

In conclusion, Coal auctions going online has garnered a sum of Rs.1.52 trillion so far,  Make In India campaign has garnered over 2.1 billion global impressions on social media and the most recent Twitter Samvad Indian Govt. initiative about real time content thought messages has received a thumbs up. The Government of India is sure on the way to realizing this dream. Digital India is here to stay, revolutionizing India and impacting lives through various common platforms.

Thanks to Intel for hosting this topic and giving me the chance to research and write on this amazing initiative called #DigitalIndia.