We must do our best to present our ideas
Bill Gates wrote a book called “Business at the Speed of Thought‘ in the late 1990s. When the computer boom hit, we all thought it would transform society in ways unimaginable. Many new technologies have arrived, such as the the Internetfast and easy storage and retrieval of local and global information, virtual meetings, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, big data analysis, etc.
The company has changed considerably, but not so much governance, so much less justice (which I wrote about in an article titled “If the transformation happening in Google were to happen in the judiciary”) ).
The the biggest change that technology can bring to national, state and local governance makes democracy “of the people, for the people and by the people” a reality.
abraham lincolnThe invention of this idea of democracy at Gettysburg was just a wish, impossible to implement at the time. But today we have technological tools to make it a reality.
Indeed, most governments do not decide which programs to implement based on what the electorate wants or needs, but they do so based on what will help them earn money.
We as the electorate can only decide who should govern us for the next 5 years and can only reverse our decisions after 5 more years. We don’t have big options, but we have to make do with the limited options almost as bad.
Whatever, we can keep complaining about the way things are, or we can try to change the nation a bit. We can flood the media and social media with suggestions on what we think and what we expect from leaders, giving suggestions on how governments can improve the economy, business, industry, the level of life, the quality and ease of life of people. .
To be fair to the Modi government, it has defined at least a set of good priorities what most previous governments failed to do, such as last mile connectivity of electricity, clean water, gas hookups, affordable housing, JAM (including bank accounts and electronic payment systems), One Nation One Ration, free Covid vaccination with digitized online certificates, free rations in the time of Covid, challenging the pseudo-secularism of the entire opposition class through which they winning election after election, and the list goes on.
No wonder people now continue to vote for the BJP ignoring its failures (which are not as bad as the failures of previous governments). And the opposition does not know 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 senior government officials feel this way. Modi’s government is not much different.
Still, as a thriving democracy, every government should find ways to listen to the opinions of its people. A million views are better than one. Of course, even with the best of intentions, sifting through millions of 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 ministers and bureaucrats, government advisers, opinion leaders, etc., via Twitter and other media.
In my experience, I have found that a small percentage of my suggestions have been implemented. I do not claim that they have been implemented based on my articles, although I do not exclude this possibility. It is possible that someone in government has thought of the same or similar ideas.
But I think that as citizens we should continue to express our ideas, suggestions, etc. to governments. Who knows, some central government and state government decision makers may read, like and implement them in their own way.
At the very least, we would have brought some ideas and suggestions for the public debate.
Allow me to mention some of my suggestions that 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 Associate Partner at McKinsey & Co, Singapore) and me jointly on November 21, 2016, that it was a golden opportunity to bring new and innovative electronic payment services, using a mobile phone, directly and in association with the private electronic purse and other such service providers and are promoting it to small business and commerce as people were desperate for ways to send and receive money. We also suggested that the government provide these services free of charge.
We all know how successfully and quickly these ideas were implemented and how it became one of the greatest achievements of the Indian government today. We came up with these ideas when this topic wasn’t even on the table, and we were all wondering how to get our money out of the banks.
- Soon after, the government introduced UPI, AEPS, etc. interface, but they were not promoted. We wrote in our article of December 5, 2016 that the government should widely promote these servicestrain even uneducated people in their use and encourage them to use these services with cash and other rewards. The government did all of this soon after.
- I had, although my article dated January 28, 2017, suggested an automated, anonymous, nameless and faceless review and response of tax returns, without allowing Inspector Raj. The government has implemented this with great success and it is now a luxury that we now enjoy, unthinkable at the time.
- When GST has been introducedmost states made vehicles carrying goods stop at state border checkpoints and show electronic permits, because it was an opportunity for politicians and bureaucrats to make money on the side. I wrote an article about it in PGurus in February 2017, and shortly after, this has been resolved.
- When Covid hit, the world was split into two camps, with one advocating a total lockdown and the other not suppressing. I wrote a 2-part article titled “Covid lockdown exit strategy suggestions….”,in PGurus dated April 9 and 10, broadly suggesting that we should not follow the two extremes, but follow a middle way, a graduated policy at the state, district and even street level, suppressing and softening in a way selectively, depending on local situations, to finding the right balance between life and livelihood.
We followed an almost similar policy. Many pointed out that it was neither here nor there. But the general view today on India’s handling of Covid is positivedespite its diversity and the States governed by the multiplicity of political parties.
There are many more of my substantive suggestions that have not been implemented; I don’t even know if they are even considered. I will summarize these unimplemented suggestions in another article. I hope that at least some of them can be implemented in the days to come.
Without wanting to take credit for any of these ideas that have been implemented, I say that lots of people have lots of ideas but don’t bother posting them in the media and social media. Let’s do our best to present all our ideas. In time, hopefully, governments will find ways to harness our ideas and make our nation better and stronger, because political parties need our votes..
1. Text in Blue indicates additional data on the subject.
2. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.
 If the transformation underway at Google were to happen in the justice system… – Jul 21, 2022PGurus.com
 E-wallets to tackle cash shortage after demonetization – November 21, 2016PGurus.com
 Secure and open digital payment systems to address liquidity shortages – December 05, 2016PGurus.com
 How to maximize gains from demonetization – January 28, 2017PGurus.com
 Electronic permits: a bottleneck in the implementation of the GST – February 26, 2017PGurus.com
 Covid-19 Containment Exit Strategy: Suggestions to State and Central Governments: Part -1 – April 09, 2020PGurus.com
 Covid-19 Containment Exit Strategy: Suggestions to State and Central Governments: Part -2 – April 10, 2020PGurus.com
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