Digital India Initiative and the facebook fiasco !

PM Modi in San Jose

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has blessed the San Jose (Silicon Valley) Indians by delivering a speech in regards to the Digital India initiative. Here is the transcript of the speech and here is the information you need about the digital India initiative.

I was in India (Tamil Nadu) for a brief period of time some time between late August and early September. The time of the year when the engineering graduates (2011 – 2015) would have been graduated and searching for a job. I know how it is. I have no delusions about the opportunities and the brute force efforts needed to get a job that they all want. Hold that thought! Lets take a detour.

The entirety of this short visit to India saw my father being super insistent about my getting an “Aadhar card” (India’s ssn – Kinda). I have been keeping up with the Nandan Nilekani controversies with regards to the “Unique Identification Authority of India” – the board that was responsible for the project and having known how long it takes for getting things done with a government establishment in India, I protested. We parlayed and I ended up inside the building that was responsible for providing you with “aadhar” and of course yeah, we circumvented the system so I can get some leverage – not a proud moment. What I saw inside was impressive. They got my fingerprints, retinal scan and assigned a number to me. Impressive hardware and impressive set of workers. This is good right? But sadly, this is the only bubble I can hide into. To face away from the terrible reality. Its kind of my version of you guys having your facebook dp turn into some weird colored picture to show support of the “Digital India” initiative.

Let’s cut the bullshit man. This may be a genuine initiative with great intentions from PM Modi and Mark Zuckerberg. I hate being manipulated – despite what level, direct / indirect, system / personal, doesn’t matter. I hate being manipulated. Mr. Zuckerberg and PM Modi are like the top two in the whole world – that was successful in mass hypnosis.  Ex. 1  and Ex.2.  The example 2 about PM Modi is super moderate. I consider his campaign to be extremely MachiavellianGoebbelistic. A little angel I have left in me begged for Modi to employ the machiavellian lessons regarding the separation of church and state. An excerpt from the bookmark I made while reading “The Prince” – Niccolo Machiavelli for reference. I assume you all agree as of to why I want the state (Government of India) to be separated from the church (Hindu Nationalism). You know! Gujarat 2002?? Looking at the beef ban and the meat ban and all this nonsense, the little angel inside me is back in hibernation.
Where am I going with all of this?

Man I am fuckin’ raging. You know I cut off mid-way? Cos I had to read the transcript of PM Modi’s address at San Jose and it makes my blood boil man. Let me break it down for you – the things that has been happening in India and the rest of the world.

– China had an economic meltdown.
– The middle-east crisis.
– Price drop of oil and natural gas.
– Carefully orchestrated resurgence of US economy.

This means two things.
1) India can now become a trusted business partner with the US and the EU if only they can deliver what they are promising.
2) We have to be super careful and realistic. Because that’s what that gunned down China now.

You know what I think is happening?

A promise of the “messiah” – an agent of change, that the deepest insecurity of a general public’s psyche craves for – presents himself and he is a dud. Because of the promise and heightened influx, our economy is now like the train in unstoppable – running with full momentum, towards a certain death. Don’t trust me. I urge you to read these articles. If you have the colored facebook DP, you have to read this my man. Let’s pretend like we care about our country, only with a little bit more of an understanding of what is up.

“I think there is still a lot of optimism among the people of the country and among the industrialists and entrepreneurs that the Modi government will be good for business, for progress, for reducing corruption. They think this government means business on all these fronts… However, after nine months, there is a little bit of impatience creeping in as to why no changes are happening and why this is taking so long having effect on the ground”.

[ I spent the last 30 minutes searching for the rants of an american investor, who turned his attention from China to India because PM Modi has asked him to, and was then pissed off that nothing happened. I give up. Please let me know if you guys find the article. ] 

The point is, We have an increased in flux of investments but how are we gonna deliver the results? Let’s talk some numbers and compare them against what PM Modi promises to deliver. This is where India stands at.  It says, with this GDP (7.5), India’s economy is at 3 trillion USD, based on current prices and our buying power (pardon the bastardization you people of economics) is at 8 trillion dollar. Modi is telling the world that our buying power is targeted at 20 trillion dollar, I am just afraid that we are going to fail miserably. 20 trillion dollar is the milk that brings the boys to the yard –  yard is us in the train from the movie unstoppable – our manufacturing sector’s incompetence (University -> Industry translation) is the block that the train is headed towards to. Some more numbers.

1) USD 150 billion dollars in combined IT – IT services Industry.
2) Combined output of ~ 70.6 billion dollars by the top 10 manufacturing companies.
These two reports tells us that they contribute 220.6 billion dollars to the 3 trillion dollars that we have seen. That’s roughly 13.5 parts. Modi promises these industries to grow by 150 percent. Get it?  550.6 billion dollars. Well if you want to know how the industry looks like.. Go ahead and read this article.

So roughly, Infosys represents 10% of the revenue that we are talking about (2.26 billion USD agains 220.6 billion USD). The number of people employed by infosys is at ~ 180 thousands (worldwide). Vishal Sikka feels that he has a problem statement.

– IT services has hit a wall. Saturated.
– Only way to move forward is to come up with products (like oracle).

This is what the whole post is about. The list I gave you before has a logical disconnect. There are companies that are not Indian, that is on the list. I just included that for the ease of presenting an arguable case and even by such low standards, the results are terrible.

We are now producing 15 lakh engineers an year, for a country that only needs 5 lakh engineers an year, of which 1.5 lakh is actually employable.

That’s not it. When I said the country only has 1.5 lakh of “employable” engineers an year, I didn’t factor in what Vishal Sikka of Infosys just told us. The word “employable” has a paradigm shift now.

Vishal Sikka – “As an IT services firm we are not supposed to innovate; we just do what others tell us to”. The ’employable’ 1.5 lakh is for doing what others tell us to do man. To develop a new product, it requires a whole new set of development process which ends with needing a new definition for employability. People who can innovate. Unfortunately, the machine that turns out a whopping number of 15 lakh engineers an year wasn’t set to produce such a product. We have set for 15 lakh of people who the industry can take based on some standards, teach them a whole new process and then have them perform. The necessity is going to change now. If it changes, then we have 12 – 13 lakh of unemployed engineers an year and if we manage to get by, in case Vishal Sikka is wrong, then we have 10 lakh of unemployed engineers.

– Optimistically, we have 10 lakh of unemployed engineers.
– Realistically, we have 13 lakh of unemployed engineers.

Back to my time in India:
Remember how I was talking about what I expected to see? Regarding to the unemployed engineers of 2011 – 2015 batch? Well guess what. I met engineering graduates from 2008 – 2012 and onwards, who has now given up any sort of attempts at becoming an engineer and resorted to the ways of survivability. TNPSC – Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission seems to be the most famous choice of all. They aren’t even shooting for the Deputy Collector or anything similar to that cadre (group 1). They are preparing for the group (3,4) that is going to be doing the clerical work for the government of Tamil Nadu. I am not sure of what the rest of the graduates, namely, management, arts, science and technical diploma holders are going to do.
Forget that. What happens when all of these jobs are filled with graduates of all sorts? What is going to happen to the rest of the students? We, as a whole country, seem to be pre-occupied with a cheerful notion having a lot of young people. Well eat this. Having a lot of young people, educated and unemployed, is the recipe for destruction.

Connecting reality to the optimism:
This is what my problem with the whole celebration of Modi the messiah is. When you have almost 30 lakh (made up number) graduates that are unemployed, and the foreign investments that wants you to either sell or buy their products but with no enough buying power or selling process, they are gonna take their money back. Drain the market of foreign investments. This drain will not only hit the people that are outside this established order of system but also the ones who got by the system. Namely, your regular engineering graduate with a dream job. This is what I fear of. This is very well may be what that happened in China.

So its great that you change your DP and all that. Just verify the data. Always! I respect the fact that you wanted to make a difference by raising awareness of the “Digital India” initiative by coloring your DP. That’s a start. I hope you will do something more.

I am just gonna sign off with a crude picture I made.. fuck it!
Untitled drawing

Also, the data that I based parts of this article from.


6 thoughts on “Digital India Initiative and the facebook fiasco !

  1. Let me take the liberty to contradict few of your facts:
    Paragraph 3: Adahar card is first step in the collecting information about the indian population as a whole. Most of the indian population is not well documented. In regards to Adahar card initiative, i would thank Nandan on putting the things to motion & creating a system that has been executed perfectly. I guess they have documented most of the population as of date. There are issue with any system when a billion people are involved. Every country has issues with its own documenting system, at least they have executed this project involving a billion people. Think about the numbers !! You might not be able to wrap your mind on it.
    Paragraph 4: I kind of agree to what you say about Modi, but here is the thing, if he needs to run a huge chaotic complex country i think he needs to be cunning. If not he will end being another Manmohan or like Tony focussed about his goals. Lets see what he can do. He didnt become the PM overnight nor is he royal prince of Gandhi’s. He raised up the ladder & lets give him some time to clean the shit up.

    We have to be super careful and realistic. Because that’s what that gunned down China now. -> Do you know how China forecasts its GDP. Do you know how China influences it currency ? India on the other hand is more transparent. China built a castle in air. You ask any trade expert, they would have predicted this happening long back.

    I spent the last 30 minutes searching….. -> Here you are manipulating people. Its like putting an idea into their brain and then later retracting it to claim you had no proof. This is clever but not the best mechanism.

    We have an increased in flux of investments but how are we gonna deliver the results -> I think the guys who are investing are not so dumb to invest if they dont have a promise of their results. Few of the conglomerates know more stuff about the country than PMO would know. I am pretty sure they would have done their research more than me or any common man. You do months of research to buy any house, wouldn’t these guys do more research considering the amount of clout they have.

    Modi is telling the world that our buying power is targeted at 20 trillion dollar -> To his defence he didn’t give a date or a year…He wasnt that foolish atleast.

    2) Combined output of ~ 70.6 billion dollars by the top 10 manufacturing companies. -> This doesn’t include many companies like TATA’s, Reliance and many more….dont even trust this one ….this is bullshit….there are at least a hundred companies with a revenue greater than $5Billion. So this gross underestimation has made your calculations wrong.Here you are trying to be Machiavellian. The core essence of the article were based on these number & they have been heavy underplayed & wrongly potrayed. All this just because you hate him 😛

    – IT services has hit a wall. Saturated. -> This might have saturated, but we are moving into next gen. We are seeing more start-ups than any other earlier day. You know a lot about it.

    When I said the country only has 1.5 lakh of “employable” engineers an year -> I think any one can be trained if he has the basic knowledge. And just FYI, IT alone hires more than 2 lack engineers every year…..

    I will continue later….gtg

  2. Good thoughts. These were on my mind too. Going from $8 to $20-trillion is not a cakewalk and the target date of 2020 or 2022 for getting there is too little time.

      • I think there is enough HR or it can be generated any day with ease – we have a billion people after all. Things like IPL were set up in a year or two. (IPL however is a whole new debate though!)

        Raising capital by touring the world is a good thing but letting things like into the country, to me, is a bad idea. India is seeing the startup wave and would kill the possible Google or Facebook or Amazon that may revolutionize things.

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