We must do our best to present our ideas
Bill Gates wrote a book titled, ‘Business At The Speed Of Thought’ in the late 90s. When the IT boom came, we all thought it would transform society in unimaginable ways. A lot of new technologies have come in, like the Internet, fast & easy storage & retrieval of local & global information, virtual meetings, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, big data analytics, and more.
The business has transformed substantially, but not so much governance, much less judiciary (which I wrote about in an article titled, “If The Transformation Happening In Google Were To Happen In Judiciary” ).
The biggest change technology can bring about in governance, of the country, states, and local self-governments is making democracy“of the people, for the people, and by the people” a reality.
Abraham Lincoln’s coinage of this idea of democracy at Gettysburg was a mere wish, impractical to implement then. But today, we have technology tools to make this a reality.
Sure enough, most governments don’t decide what schemes to implement based on what the electorate wants or needs, but they do base it on what will help them make money.
We, as an electorate, can only decide who should rule us for the next 5 years and can reverse our decisions only after 5 more years. We don’t have great options but we have to make do with the limited almost equally bad options.
Be that as it may, we can keep complaining about the way things are, or, we can try to change the nation a little. We can flood the media and social media with suggestions on what we think, and what we expect from the rulers, giving suggestions on how the governments can improve the economy, business, industry, living standards, quality, and ease of living of the people.
To be fair to the Modi government, it has come up with at least a set of right priorities which most of the previous governments failed to do, like the last mile connectivity of electricity, drinking water, gas connections, affordable housing, JAM (incl bank accounts and electronic payment systems), One Nation One Ration, free Covid vaccination with digitized online certificates, free rations during Covid times, setting right the pseudo-secularism of the entire opposition class by which they were winning elections after elections, and the list is long.
No wonder, people now keep voting for BJP ignoring its failures (which are not as bad as the failures of the previous governments). And the opposition is clueless about how to stop this juggernaut.
It cannot be denied that almost always every government lives in a world of its own; often, even ministers and top bureaucrats in governments feel that way. Modi’s government is not very different.
Yet, as a thriving democracy, every government should find ways to listen to its people’s views. A million views are better than one. Of course, even with the best of intentions, sifting through the million views and selecting the right ones to implement is a challenge for any government.
I have written 100 articles in PGurus so far and forwarded some of them to the ministers and bureaucrats, government advisors, opinion leaders, et al, through Twitter and other media.
From my experience, I have found that a small percentage of my suggestions have been implemented. I don’t claim that they have been implemented based on my articles, though I don’t rule out that possibility. It’s possible that someone in the government has thought of the same or similar ideas.
But I think as citizens, we should keep voicing our ideas, suggestions, etc, to the governments. Who knows, some decision-makers in the Central and state governments may read them, like them, and implement them in their own ways.
At the very least, we would have brought some ideas and suggestions for public debate.
Let me mention a few of my suggestions which have been implemented, by the government. The Important Disclaimer is, that my ideas may or may not have been implemented based on my suggestions.
- Demonetization was announced on November 8, 2016. I had suggested, through an article written by my daughter (Vidhya Ganesan, then an Associate Partner at McKinsey & Co, Singapore) and me jointly on November 21, 2016, that it was a golden opportunity to bring in new and innovative electronic payment services, using a mobile phone, directly and in association with the private e-Wallet and other such service providers and promote them big time among small business and trade, as people were desperately looking for ways to send and receive money. We also suggested the government offer these services free of charge.
We all know how well and swiftly these ideas were implemented successfully and how this has become one of the biggest accomplishments of the Indian government today. We suggested these ideas when this subject was not even on the table, and we were all wondering how to get our money out of banks.
- Soon thereafter, the government brought in the UPI interface, AEPS, etc, but they were not promoted. We wrote in our article dated December 5, 2016, that the government should widely promote these services, train even uneducated people in their use, and incentivize them to use these services with cash and other rewards. The government did all of these shortly thereafter.
- I had, though my article dated January 28, 2017, suggested automated, anonymous, nameless, and faceless scrutiny and the response of the Income Tax Returns submissions, without allowing for Inspector Raj. The government has implemented this very successfully and this is now a luxury we enjoy now, unthinkable at that time.
- When GST was implemented, most of the states made vehicles transporting goods stop at check posts at state borders, and show e-permits, as this was an opportunity for politicians and bureaucrats to make money on the side. I wrote an article about it in PGurus on February 2017, and soon thereafter, this was resolved.
- When Covid struck, the world was divided into two camps, one advocating total lockdown, and the other not to clamp down. I wrote a 2-part article titled, “Covid Lockdown Exit Strategy Suggestions….”,, in PGurus dated April 9 & 10, broadly suggesting that we should not follow both the extremes, but follow a middle path, a graded policy at the state, district and even street level, clamping down and relaxing selectively, based on local situations, in order to strike a fine balance between lives and livelihoods.
We followed almost a similar policy. Many commented that this was neither here nor there. But the broad view today about India’s handling of Covid is positive, despite its diversity and the states being ruled by the multiplicity of political parties.
There are a lot more of my substantive suggestions that have not been implemented; I don’t even know if they are even considered. I’ll summarize these unimplemented suggestions in another article. I hope at least some of them may be implemented in the days to come.
Without meaning to take any credit for any of these ideas that were implemented, I am saying that lots of people have lots of ideas but don’t care to publish them through media and social media. Let us do our best to present all our ideas. The governments will, over time, hopefully, figure out ways to tap into our ideas and make our nation better and stronger, as the political parties need our votes.
1. Text in Blue points to additional data on the topic.
2. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.
 If the transformation happening in Google were to happen in judiciary… – Jul 21, 2022, PGurus.com
 e-Wallets to tackle cash shortage Post-Demonetization – Nov 21, 2016, PGurus.com
 Secure, Open Digital Payment Systems To Tackle Cash Shortage – Dec 05, 2016, PGurus.com
 Covid-19 Lockdown Exit Strategy: Suggestions to State & Central Governments: Part -1 – Apr 09, 2020, PGurus.com
 Covid-19 Lockdown Exit Strategy: Suggestions to State & Central Governments: Part -2 – Apr 10, 2020, PGurus.com
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