27th September 2015 saw a dramatic change in India’s digital pathway. After stopping over at New York City, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi headed to the iconic Silicon Valley where he attended dinner with Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft, Sundar Pichai, CEO, Google, Tim Cook, CEO, Apple.
NaMo’s ‘digital’ dinner
“If there was ever a gathering under one roof that could claim to be shaping the world, it is this,” said PM Modi, on this eventful day.
At dinner, Narendra Modi talked about a more accountable and transparent governance, along with data privacy and security.
‘Instagram, Facebook and Twitter are the neighbourhoods of the new world. if Facebook were a country, it would be the third most populous and the most connected.’
With respect to Digital India initiative, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO, Facebook showed his support for the Digital India initiative by changing his Facebook display picture with hues of the tricolour. Hashtag #ISupportDigitalIndia could be seen surfacing the social media platforms favoring India’s internet service initiative.
NaMo, a social media expert himself mentioned how social media is an important tool for democracy and developing India’s tech economy at theTown hall meet with Mark Zuckerberg, CEO, Facebook at the headquarters of one of the largest social network in the world.
The powerful duo were to discuss how ‘communities can work together to solve social and economic challenges’ according to a post put by Facebook’s CEO.
The interactive chat touched upon on India’s economy, women empowerment, strengthening digital infrastructure, social media and its impact on governance, diplomacy, and also the state of business in India.
The chat began with talking about Narendra Modi’s early adoption of social media and its potential impact on governance and foreign policy. As mentioned by NaMo, he joined the world of social media as he was curious of technology. At the time, he wasn’t aware of its widespread nature. When Narendra Modi took office as Prime Minister, social media brought a drastic change in his thought process and clearly broadened his horizons.
‘With social media, you have daily bonding.’ This according to PM Narendra Modi helps address the gap between the government and the people. Social media can let a governance know where it’s going wrong and give them a chance to carry out cause correction.
He emphasized the importance of the availability of real time information via social media. With other mechanisms reflecting a slower turn around, the real time information aspect is a huge source that can be used to its advantage to take corrective measures and influence policy frame work.
As for diplomacy, social media plays the crucial catalyst in bringing out a completely new phase of diplomacy.
Narendra Modi recounts incidents, where he wished the PM of China on WEIBO, ( The Chinese version of Facebook) which then went Viral. A similar incident happened with the Prime Minister of Israel.
Who would have thought diplomacy would look this?
NaMo’s collaboration with Google
Along with town hall meet, Narendra Modi met up with Sundar Pichai to announce a new project to provide high-speed public WiFi in 400 train stations across India. The service will be free to start and will rank as the largest public Wi-Fi project in India.
Before we look hopeful over the digital pathway, drawn by our prime minister, it must be known, that with the foray of Internet.org, the final curtains are being drawn over net neutrality. Free Basics is only a euphemistic way of showing a world of free internet, if one actually read between the lines, it only talks about a more controlled digital environment, where only the established will survive, and the dreamers will bid adieu to their dreams.