A Road Map for Digital India

Posted by Shyam Ponappa at Dec 28, 2014 01:25 AM |
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India's current policies for telecommunications don't serve our interests. Here's what must change.

The article by Shyam Ponappa was initially published in the Business Standard on December 3, 2014 and mirrored in Organizing India Blogspot on December 4, 2014.

Comprehensive, Integrated Strategy & Execution

India has been coasting along on a post-feudal-colonial mélange of currents and tides, with the brigandage of opportunistic politics fed by our (the voters’) greed for short-term benefits. The result is grotesque populism and corruption in lieu of the deferred gratification of pleasing cities and countryside with the appurtenances of proper governance: sidewalks and drains, toilets, transport, administration and order, hospitals and schools.

We have to organize and manage ourselves, “engineer” our way ahead, taking active steps to build and develop our solutions, building systems and processes, and not just wait for things to happen. We need a comprehensive and integrated, systemic, silo-busting, problem-solving approach.

This applies across the board in the broadest “spatial planning” sense that integrates housing and land use at all levels with commercial, industrial, cultural, scientific and educational activity, transportation, and all governance and infrastructure: water, sewerage, energy, communications, basic health and education. Infrastructure being the first level of enablement is the essential starting point.

The 2014 Election - National Democratic Alliance II (NDA II)

Until the sweeping change resulting from the general election in 2014. The Modi-led BJP-dominated NDA government swept away the previous Congress government decisively, and seems set on making development the centrepiece of this stint in governing India.

Previously, India’s leaders acknowledged repeatedly that infrastructure is India’s great need. Yet, they took no steps [Addendum: see below for the exception: NTP-2011 in October, 2011] to marshal forces to draw up a credible strategy and execution plan. This is what needed doing. Only good intentions and/or money won’t do, because delivery systems and processes have to be developed, i.e., planned, then built from scratch.

It looks like the NDA II will seriously address the development of enabling infrastructure.  A beginning on a long way ahead.

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