‘Technology liberates us. It is the spirit of democracy’
Ever since the new government took oath last year amidst much pomp and ballyhoo, Prime Minister Narendra Modi who is largely being seen as the man who will bring India out of the primitive – socially and economically and put it on a global map has launched several initiatives like the 100 Smart Cities Project, Housing for All 2022 and Clean India Mission.
One of the most forward looking among his initiatives is also the ‘Digital India Campaign’ which has caught the attention and eyeballs of people the world over, thanks to the recent promises made by Facebook young head honcho Mark Zuckerberg and Google’s new CEO Sundar Pichai to Prime Minister Modi to give an added boost to his ambitious campaign.
While Facebook has extended support in getting internet to the interiors of India and other parts of Asia who have never had access to it, Google has committed to provide free wifi at 100 railway stations across India among other facilities.
With India already being the third largest base for tech startups, ‘Digital India Campaign’ is for obvious reasons being discussed and debated with passionate fervour by industry leaders and information technology giants across the country in forums and seminars.
Mala Singh – Chairman and Director, PEC Solutions Green Design popularly known as green entrepreneur strongly advocates the use of green technology in buildings for a better future considering the havocs of climate change. Drifting attention to ancient Indian culture Ms Singh said, “The concept of ‘reduce, recycle and reuse’ is already imbibed in our ancient culture but the new kind of urbanisation changed everything. We need to bring back our green principles for the right kind of urbanisation and probably even certify citizens green as well!”
Topics have also been raised by experts on the importance of green buildings and how the globally recognised Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design or LEED certified green buildings by the US Green Building Council (USGBC) must be made the norm of today’s world for it’s flawless compliance of design, construction and operation of buildings for the sake of environment and most importantly people’s quality of life.
While LEED certified buildings takes care of water, electricity and waste management with minimum usage of natural resources, Gautami Palanki – building performance specialist, USGBC tells us about the performance meter of green buildings called the LEED dynamic plaque. An innovative plaque which assesses real time the performance of the building in all parameters that are waste, water, energy, transport and quality of life.
Another ground breaking innovation of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the global green building certification body, Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI) is the EDGE software (Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies) which helps developers, engineers, architects and owners determine how to maximise energy efficiency before the construction and design of the building. An easy to use scorecard which calculates operational savings and reduced carbon emissions of the building by various suggested means.
USGBC also makes conscious efforts through technology to make indoor environment comfortable for people by introducing apps like the crowd comfort app which allows people inside the building to let the administration know of their comfort levels with regards to air conditioner, lights etc.
Rajendra Prasad Telegu – Executive Manager and Head (security, government and infrastructure), Hexagon is also of the firm opinion that green buildings specifically LEED certified are a must which optimises solar, wind power and water harvesting which should be made mandatory by the government in order to advance in the path towards green mission.
When it comes to going green, Jaipur World City by Tech Mahindra has gone several notches up in integrating green technology by being the world’s 6th and the largest United Nations recognised C40 compliant project which makes it climate neutral as told by Manish Prashad Sinha -Sr. Consultant DES, Tech Mahindra.
But for masses to be aware of the critical importance of green buildings and technology, their mobile seems to be the answer.
Niraj Prakash – Director, Oracle India asserts “Mobile is the key to India’s digital transformation and e governance”. He defended his statement by making some startling revelations. According to a report presented by him, out of almost 7 billion people on the planet, nearly 6 billion use mobiles while only 4.5 billion have access to toilets and 3.5 billion use a toothbrush!
According to National Association of Softwares and Services Companies (NASSCOM), there are over 300 million internet users in India, another 200 million are expected to come online by 2017. By 2018, around 8 million Indian companies are expected to connect and perform transactions online.
As agreed by most industry and government leaders today, citizen partnership with the government stands as the most critical tool for any form of advancement in a country.
Therefore not lagging behind, the Indian government among many others launched a ‘my gov’ app which lets citizens engage in conversations, decision making and governance by sharing ideas and suggestions.
In fact e commerce businesses are now attempting at penetrating into India’s rural market leveraging on the digital campaign by training entrepreneurs in villages.
Subrata Das – Director Public Services, SAP reveals, “By 2025, 74% of our workforce will be under the age of 25 and they will have no relationship to any administrative file or paperwork, they will all be on what’s app and social media which is the new phenomenon by which you can engage that big percentage of citizens.”
Ritu Verma – Founder & Director, Urban Explorer, an urban planning consultancy firm however feels government must pull up their socks immediately, “There is no e governance in India, only e government. There is a big gap between leadership and public grievance and there has to be a two way communication medium which technology needs to enable.”
Nirmal Nahata – Mayor, Jaipur thoughts are on similar lines, “Our system is still primitive. We need to put pressure on people to pay tax in order to enjoy services”.
McKinsey has reported that the country’s GDP will be boosted by US $550 billion pushing it to US $1 trillion by 2025 if Digital India Campaign proves successful.
In the words of Shazia Ilmi, member, Bhartiya Janta Party, “Technology liberates us. It is the spirit democracy.”
And we say this spirit of technology must encompass all areas including green technology for economic gain but for nature’s future too, the core essential for happy living!