Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his maiden Independence Day speech on August 15, 2014 envisaged a ₹1 lakh crore project to transform the country into a digitally empowered and connected knowledge economy. The digital India programme is an umbrella initiative with the unique vision of transforming India into a digitally empowered society free from red-tapism, corruption, nepotism etc. For this digital transformation to be completed it is imperative that the government and the corporate work in tandem in creating a sustainable model for e governance for which digital education is essential. And US chipmaker Intel, a world leader in innovative computing has come forward to support this cause so as to enable Indians to harness the benefits of this digital revolution. Intel India will also work with Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL) to build capacity by imparting digital literacy training to key resource persons in the first 1000 panchayats under the National Optic Fibre Network roll-out in India.
One of the major problems the Indian society faces today is the deep rooted corruption in public life. The entire government machinery is a citadel of corrupt practices and the common man feels suffocated as he fails to protect his legitimate rights without bribing. Corruption has become a way of life in India today. One of the major objectives of E governance and digital India is to minimize (if not eradicate) corruption in public life. But will it really translate into reality? I doubt. Let me delineate what I mean by taking a real life example.
I applied for my passport online and deposited the documents in Regional Passport Office, Bhubaneswar. I was in a small town in Western Odisha at that time where my Police verification was supposed to be done. The Inspector Incharge of the Police Station happened to know me personally and he called me over phone to the PS to sign the necessary verification papers. I reached his office and did the needful. When I came out of the PS one constable called me, “Sir, Your papers will be sent today itself, but…..”. “But what?” I asked. I could sense his gestures but pretended not to understand anything. Finally he spelled out, “Something for our chai, pani……”. I looked at the IIC who fought sigh of me. I handed over two hundred rupee notes to the constable and he was happy.
Two years later my son applied for his passport in Delhi, again online. The Police came to his place of residence to verify and got his signature on the relevant papers. Then they demanded ₹500/- as verification fees which my son gave fearing that they might not send his verification report in time. Considering the prevalent situation in our present day society his fear was not baseless.
Now on both the above occasions the digital e governance was at work. Still the bribing (read tipping) could not be avoided. Neither my son nor I had any intension to bribe the police. But we were compelled to tip them. Can this sort of corruption be eradicated from the society by any amount of digitization? I am afraid it can’t be. Unless public servants and corporate houses learn the value of ethics and morality corruption cannot be done away with. Our political leaders who are supposed to be peoples’ representatives are the most corrupted lot and corruption trickles down from the top. If our Rulers do not stop embezzling public money no amount of digitization can ever be successful in this country.
The need of the hour is to educate our politicians with the right dose of moral and ethical values. Can Intel with some technological innovation help us in attaining this objective for creating a corruption free India?
For more details on Intel’s initiative in digital India vision follow the link below: