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Reinventing Indian Politics

September 11th, 2008 · 8 Comments

Reading the front pages of most serious Indian newspapers can be quite depressing. Even as we have stood on the threshold of breaking through on the economic front, the absence of real political leadership holds us back to a frustratingly large extent. There isn’t much we can do at this point of time – or in the next 5-6 years. But beyond that, we can create a very different Indian political leadership.

What will make this possible is the growth of digital devices (mobiles and PCs) and their increasing use by the voting class. Within 5 years, pretty much everyone who can vote will have a mobile. And the mobile is a 2-way interactive device capable of much more than just receiving and making voice calls. Also, literacy levels will be higher so hopefully just the offers of money will not sway voters, and they will be in a position to think before voting. Income levels will also be higher – and so will be people’s aspirations. Mass Media’s reach will be nearing saturation levels. Into this world can someone stride and transform the Indian polity? Just like Obama promises to do for the US.

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8 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Nadeem Akhtar // Sep 11, 2008 at 10:48 am

    I think that the problem goes beyond lack of education and/or poverty. The mindset of an average voter is still rather blinkered, guided by narrows considerations based on religion, caste, region etc. This is true for the educated, middle-class as well. Having said so, I do wish that things change for the better, otherwise all the good things that are happening in India will go down the drain.

  • 2 Ranjan // Sep 11, 2008 at 4:38 pm

    I realize the power of digital devices that you mention. I have a question.

    I blog on personal finance. According to RBI data, as a percentage of financial savings, mutual funds constituted 7.7% of the financial savings of the household sector while insurance accounted for 17.5% and provident funds and pensions funds made up for 8.2% of the total financial savings during 2007-08. The predominant share fo savings was still parked in banks (55%).
    This goes to show how much ground providers of financial products have to cover. Also this distribution is a bit skewed because of lack of financial literacy.
    I would love to see your thoughts on making financial education available to the masses by using ICT.

  • 3 Pranav // Sep 12, 2008 at 9:12 am

    Looking back to Narendra Modi’s thumping majority, what you say is right.Infact the entire powerful regional and national media was hell bent to defeat him and it was sms,emails,mobile telephones and blogs which defeated the might of media.Media has its wested interests .Users of digital devices can convey the right unpolluted opinions very widely and succinctly.

  • 4 Atanu Dey // Sep 12, 2008 at 9:23 pm

    Pranav:

    One point of caution. I think that the availability and use of technology is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for success. Modi may have used technology but without other substantive changes that he brought about in Gujrat, no amount of technology could have helped him at the polling booth.

  • 5 Vishal // Sep 13, 2008 at 8:49 am

    It looks to be seen how digital devices can change India politics. I am not very optimistic about it.

  • 6 Best of 2008: Reinventing Indian Politics // Dec 31, 2008 at 5:00 am

    […] Reinventing Indian Politics: how mobiles will create an opportunity for an Indian Obama in the years to come […]

  • 7 Mahesh // Dec 31, 2008 at 12:01 pm

    A vast majority of mobile and social networking tools users are the young generation who have already gained the right to vote…. I think it is twitters, orkuts and mobiles together will help in carrying out the propaganda for genuine leaders and push back the “goons”.. Also the politically brain dead category (like me who have lost faith and interest in voting and somewhat social disconnected ) will see some faith and lay trust on what gets propagated through this medium rather than depend on word or mouth / traditional campaigns / newspapers to know about the contesting politicians. Of course, I am speaking of/for the urban population of India which is just 35%..

  • 8 Uravashi // Dec 31, 2008 at 4:43 pm

    Hi

    I think this is happening due to lack of education. knowledge of education and new technologies is really most importantfactor.

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