Digital India – First Anniversary Notes

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Launch of Digital India

The Government had launched Digital India on 1st July 2015 with much fanfare. I had written about it in my post last year covering noteworthy events making July the longest month of the year. Some of the initiatives mentioned in the post have grown by leaps and bounds.

For instance, I wrote about MOOCs last year. We have made considerable progress in our technology enabled learning endeavors since then. This year we were the only firm in Asia to be recognized in a report by Financial Times for innovation in the use of technology for our Digital Learning initiatives.

Digital India – A Time for Review

One year has flew past and in true Facebook  Memories style, it is a time to review the progress of one year of Digital India. It may be time for some to celebrate. It may be a time for some others to criticize. Some others may spot an opportunity and a few may just want to introspect and crystal gaze.

Learning from Brexit

However, it appears that we are in for another shocker. We were caught unaware last month by Brexit (Rexit, Mexit et al). It is even more surprising that questions such as “What is the EU” were topping on Google Trends after the Brexit results were declared.

Google Trends helped us discover not just trends, but also insights into human psychology and the nature of democracy.

This led to an irresistible temptation to uncover the trends on  the grand first anniversary of the launch of Digital India.

Google Trends – Digital India Anniversary

I quickly started discovering Google Trends for India on 1st July 2016. Belgium and Wales pre-quarter final in Euro 2016 topped the list, quite on expected lines. After all, mankind needs a religion and cricket has (somewhat) lost its divine spot. Wimbledon news followed next, as if to prove my hypotheses on cricket losing its religion. The list continued uncovering new insights about what the society (at least the digital Indian society) cares searching about.

One part of me felt quite enriched with discovery of International Co-operative Day and National Doctor’s Day. I started wondering when I would come across Chartered Accountants Day, also celebrated on 1st July. I had almost given up hope as I scrolled past 100 top trends and finally spotted it at #101.

But, hang on for a minute. We were trying to figure out what people are saying on the anniversary of Digital India! There is not even a trace of Digital India in the Top 100 Google trends on its first anniversary. I felt like giving up at this stage, until some part of me remembered the virtues of Persistence. It is one of the 4 P’s of Career Management that I have always believed in.

So, I continued until ….no not until I found Digital India, but until Google Trends gave up on me after displaying 244 top trends in India.

Digital India ‘Un’niversary

So, what do we learn from the first anniversary of  Digital India?

First things first. It was not an anniversary but an ‘Un’niversary.

Second, we are interested in ‘Right Here Right Now’ and not in getting to the depth of issues. Our ecosystem loves commentaries from experts as and when events are unfolding. However, we tend to have a short memory and forget issues very quickly. We love to pass advance judgement (and to hear such judgement being passed) based on speculation. What about a review based on facts? That clearly is not just news unworthy but also not worth the search!

Learn from History and from Google Trends

As they say, we should learn from history and not repeat our mistakes. How about learning something from this episode? Here are my two cents:

We tend to get excited about things happening today. However, we also need to track projects to completion and analyse critical issues threadbare. Our approach is analogous to someone celebrating admission into a college in Delhi University with 98% marks and not caring about the University results after a year. You can also write off introspection since little thought is given to shaping a different future or learning from past mistakes.

We need a different order and a different platform to liberate us from this affliction. The Brits searching for facts after the Brexit verdict is not an isolated incident. It is a sad but true reflection of the times that we live in.

We have been endowed with massive intellectual capacities. In this age of information explosion, computing power is increasing exponentially and petabytes, exabytes and domegemegrottebyte challenge our vocabulary among other things. However, we need to leverage information and computational prowess and not allow our minds to become numbed.

Carpe Diem – The Time is Now

Maybe, the challenge at a country level seems to be a far stretch for the ordinary citizen. In that case, instead of debating about the nine pillars of Digital India, we can look at the nine pillars of the Digital Enterprise – Carpe Diem.

Carpe Diem,  since the Time is now,  in more senses than one. If this is not the time for reviewing the nine pillars of Digital India, maybe it is the time for building the nine pillars of the Digital Enterprise. At the very least, it should be time for introspection. What will it take for us to assert the superiority of the human mind in the mind-numbing information age?

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