India needs to use technology. Not only the construction, satellite, defense, healthcare, agriculture related or management. Underpinned by security, India needs to use Cloud, Analytics, Mobile and Social computing technologies too.
The coming era will be of wisdom, as late Dr. Stephen R Covey had stated. Translating India’s demographic advantage of young workforce, which will be with us for the next 40 years, requires taking complete advantage of the era of wisdom. This, in turn, requires us to convert information into knowledge, to an unprecedented scale, for an ever-expanding public. This requires us to prepare to acquire information at a massive scale, from widely divergent sources, gather meaningful insight from the information, and finally, put the insight into the hands of the people in the most convenient manner possible.
You have spoken about governance with skill, speed and scale. India with her vast governance layers of center, state, district, subdivision, bloc, panchayat, municipal corporations etc, definitely needs IT for scale and speed. When such governance takes off in a skillful manner, the scalability requirements will be astonishing, in view of the exponentially higher volume of information assets. India needs to invest in cloud-based infrastructure to cope up with vast requirement of up-scaling.
In the coming era, it will no longer be a choice between environment and development. Both must be managed. This requires significant amount of debate, and thus creating further information assets, at multiple levels of government, so the right decision, balancing environment and development, can be made. This again means exponential rise in the use of IT, and investing on Cloud becomes all the more imperative. India must invest on appropriate combination of private, public and hybrid cloud.
Why does China surprise all neighbors with their aggressive designs? Whether in launching incursions in Ladakh, or in declaring ADIZ, China’s neighborhood is always caught off guard. China has many people in their strategic and tactical decision making arms. They ‘talk’, and provide inputs to China’s aggressive strategies. They are in PLA, think-tanks, universities, communist party and in the intelligence communities. Not only does India need to ‘hear’ these vast conversations, but India needs to predict China’s next course of action. India needs to invest in Analytics.
The scourge of terrorism eating India like termite requires to be crushed, and to do that, the Indian state must ‘listen’ into the conversations of the terrorist sleeper cells, their facilitators, their sponsors and their conduits. Only listening will not be useful though, and the Indian state must gather meaningful insight from the large volume of data such ‘listening’ creates. Not only does India need to ‘see’ the numerous money trails, India must also be able to determine which money trails are sustaining the terrorists, and India needs insights. Need one say more about the utility of Analytics?
Similarly, to map aquifers too, India needs Analytics, to know where we are already using ancient water (hence living today already borrowing tomorrow’s water), where aquifers will soon run out, etc.
Mobile computing can transform the level of empowerment for the citizens. Just imagine how much convenience simple mobile applications such as a property tax payment application, will provide, by reducing numerous visits to the municipality offices and thus improving productivity.
You have spoken about boosting tourism in India. Due to higher level of disposable income, more and more tourists now prefer to prepare well in advance, by arming themselves with information, before visiting unfamiliar lands. Prominent tourist destinations such as Switzerland and Singapore have used this fact to create numerous mobile applications that allow tourists to not only book tickets for public transportation via mobile applications, but also access city guides, all using their cellphones. India already has IRCTC mobile application, which is a good start, but giving information about permits, local festivals etc via easily accessible mobile applications will help boost preparedness of tourists and thus boost tourism.
Social computing is much more than social media. Social computing is fast becoming the main ‘assembly line’ – platform for work. 49% of all social media interaction is for locating expertise. 78% of all social media interaction is to share knowledge. Consider how Yog has received a tremendous boost by the practitioners simply using Instagram to upload motivational pictures of exercise, thus making Yog far more accessible to people all over the world. Such ‘crowd-sourcing’ strategies can be used to augment India’s growth too. Just consider an Instagram contest for best photographs of Kanchenjunga. Or, just consider a blogging contest, publicized via Facebook and Twitter, to highlight tremendous aesthetic appeal of Arunachal Pradesh, Spiti valley or Ladakh. Just consider how ‘Incredible India’ branding can be further augmented by such crowd-sourcing.
The one key consideration for using IT for uplifting India must be security. This is especially so when thousands of hacking efforts go on, everyday, either directly by Chinese PLA, or by the organizations such as the Red Hackers Alliance, on behalf of Chinese PLA. We have passed the era when an episodic response to cyber warfare could do. From now on, India must build Information Security strategy to holistically include risk awareness in every decision making and implementation. In other words, we have passed the era of firewalls. We now need to have highly empowered ‘Chief Information Security Officers’, incorporating IT security in the very grain of the organization/institution.
We must work hard, but we can do this. We can uplift millions of Indians from the morass of violence, poverty, caste-conflict, water-stress, environmental degradation and mediocrity. Technology can help.
Jai Hind! Vande Mataram!
Thanks and regards,
an ordinary Indian.