On 21st March 2013, a Google+ Hangout on Technology in Politics was addressed by Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. Indian Talent plus information technology equals India Tomorrow, said CM Narendra Modi. The political class needs to stop seeing technology as a problem, the Gujarat Chief Minister added.
He said, the Big Tent Activate Discussion will provide new direction to the meanigful use of society for society at large. He anecdoted saying, “Alvin Tofler said, “The Illiterate of the 21st Century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.” This applies to everyone and every field, but more so to politics and the political class.”
“The crux of politics lies in connecting to the people, he said. Politicians readily adopted technology that connected them to the people better. From the simple pen and paper – to microphones and public address systems, from motion pictures – to the era of Television. He further said, “All these tools have been extensively used for political purposes since their introductions. They have greatly influenced politics, and in turn been greatly shaped by it as well. They have become synonymous with politics.”
He believes that today’s web-connected world has brought about another paradigm shift with the Internet. This is not just impacting politics, but is in a sense fundamentally redefining it, he thinks.
According to CM, Earlier technological evolutions helped politicians more. He said, “Information technology has led to empowerment of people as well! This is very important for a large democracy like India.”
CM further added, “Information in the pre-internet era was more one-dimensional. It was limited to politicians bombarding their thoughts and views on citizens. Now it is a two way process.”
CM also quoted the fact that, Citizens are empowered with wide access to information – from multiple channels. He informed that citizens have an avenue to voice their opinion. Citizens have a direct say and embraced technology. In India earlier, a citizen’s connect to politics was limited to once in every five years – from one election to another. Now, one engages with, and is a part of the polity every moment! He shares information, raises questions, comments, and connects with others. He voices his opinion and gives his feedback.
In his speech, he mentioned, “The time has come for the political class to adapt to this change and reinvent itself!”
It needs to embrace the internet’s many powerful facets. The political class needs to stop seeing technology as a problem creator, and start harnessing it in the right spirit.
“When I am unable to reach huge gathering of people who have been waiting for me since hours. I then use a simple mobile to address them. At the other end a mobile instrument is put on the microphone. People are more than happy to hear me through the mobile on public address system.”
He referred to the 2012 Election campaign and the use of 3D Holographic Technology to read out to multiple geographical locations at a time. He said, “I addressed voters at 53 places across the state. This unique concept not only helped me reach out to more geographies and voters, but also helped reduce the cost, time and energy required.”
He mentioned of Former President Clinton who aptly called it the new town square. In this age of internet democracy, citizens are netizens, who transcend the geographical borders of countries and continents.
CM said, “Technology has merged politics with governance. The focus of the public sphere is on accountability, transparency and action. Good governance is the key political agenda now, be it in the developed or developing world. And this is driven by the internet, new communication media and digital convergence.”
He spoke of Advanced technology and its rapidly transforming the government-citizen relationship. Social media in particular, provides a great platform for the government to engage with citizens.
CM referred to the SWAGAT sessions to ensure that people’s voice is heard in Gujarat. The ICT for redressing grievances is personally hosted in his office. The unique aspect of this project is that the grievance of the common man is addressed in real time. He said, “We modify policies and systems based on repeated grievances. Our efforts have been applauded by the UN, receiving the UN Public Service Award in 2010 for ‘Improving Transparency, Accountability and Responsiveness in Public Service’.
He said, “Gujarat is strategically using satellite mapping for better decision making. We have institutionalised this in the form of BISAG – Bhaskaracharya Institute for Space Applications and Geo-Informatics. We use this technology extensively – from our most modern, large scale projects like building Special Investment Regions and smart cities and even to giving rights of forest land to tribals.”
He referred more in his speech on the advance technology use in Gujarat and believe that Technology in itself is neither good nor bad but depend on how it is harnessed.He said, “While ‘Technology in Politics’ plays a crucial role … it would do us great good to stay away from letting ‘Politics into Technology’.”
You can watch the video Speech of Chief Minister Narendra Modi on NDTV site here and find his detailed speech script on CM Narendra Modi’s website.
The Hangout was amidst the leading Indian and International Experts who attended the Big Tent Activate Summit in New Delhi at the Taj Palace Hotel on 21st March 2013 and showed live at the event venue. You can find about the Big Tent Activate Summit 2013 on Kidsfreesouls earlier news piece here or look here for updates on the Event Videos on Google Big Tent.
– Kidsfreesouls News Desk