[Editor’s note: This article is last in a 4-part series of IAMAI 8th India Digital Meet 2014 Roundup]
In the first and second roundup, we saw the highlights of Entrepreneur Stage and discussion around Social Data or Market Research. The third roundup was about interesting fireside chats around Marketing and content.
After these fire chats were over, Narendra Modi, Chief Minister of Gujarat joined us via Skype. The intelligent insights and ideas he shared astonished me. I have never ever seen any politician deliver such long term innovative and practical solutions using the digital medium and technology. Hats off to him!
Some of the highlights of his talk:
– He admitted that there exists challenges and issues which cripple the Indian growth story, but, the new Digital Media and Technology can together, solve it. We all need innovations, creations, and ideas to make it real big.
– He asked us, why it is that countries smaller than India are able to manufacture such stunning electronic products, and why we lag behind? He shared his vision that within 10 years, India should be able to produce and manufacture world class electronic products, which can generate huge amount of jobs, which will propel economic growth story. If China can do it, so we can as well.
– Citing examples of Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad, he said that each and every city and town of India can be converted into a IT hub. He mentioned that North Eastern states, which have experienced less development opportunities compared to rest of the country, can be converted into an IT hub, with usage of better infrastructure and connectivity. This can sprout a new wave of development across the region.
– He told us that in Gujarat, the diamond polishing industry was earlier based in Surat, but now, majority of the work has been outsourced to smaller villages and towns nearby. This outsourcing of jobs has enabled the youth of these villages to remain in their homes, and support the progress of the villages as well. The point he was trying to put across was that, if jobs can be outsourced to far-off rural areas, then urbanization and concentration of masses in single big cities wont happen. A brilliant and awesome idea, I must say. If the population is evenly distributed and even the villages are developed and providing the same amenities which big cities provide, then the whole country would be benefited. In a way, expalined a roadmap of economic recovery, via outsourcing and optimal usage of technology.
– He directly asked, why India is not producing companies like Google, Microsoft, Yahoo? He reminded everyone that India has passion, innovation, dedication and creativity to create world class entrepreneurs. But still, we are lagging behind. Why? In a way, it was a direct challenge to the Entrepreneurs of India. And what better platform can it be other than IAMAI event!
– He said that by providing services to other companies and enterprises, India can never become a world power. If we want to beat the world, then we need to create our own products, and become the outsourcer of services, rather than a provider.
– Next came the governance issue, and he shared that technology is the catalyst here, which can provide us the best solutions. He openly declared that e-governance is a standard which he wants to implement as soon as possible, all across the country. Proudly, he informed us that e-procurement facility is implemented all across Gujarat, which has even been awarded by UN. His government in Gujarat has implemented ERP Systems, public offices, all over the state. Citizens can directly lodge a complain using his mobile, which would be automatically updated in the ERP and the concerned official would be intimated. In some cases, the farmer puts across his complain in the morning, and by evening he gets a message that the issues has been resolved. Such is the power of usage of technology in governance.
– Just like marketing heads of billion dollar companies had informed earlier, Narendra Modi also shared that the most pressing problem right now is the real time access of information – capturing the data, as it happens. I was astonished! He told that if we are able to gather actual data, as it happens, then we can easily control the high prices of different commodities. A very valid and practical solution, which can be implemented very easily.
– Again giving live examples of vibrant Gujarat, he informed us that a farmer in a remote village can quickly report a disease in his crops to the Agriculture department, where scientists can geo-target the affected area and send immediate fertilizers to stop its spread. In a way, he was talking about agriculture related growth here, using technology. And this is actually happening in his state. He told us that there is no limit of innovation and benefits using technology in the field of agriculture.
– Highlighting the importance of technology, he said that way back, humans used to settle near rivers and seas. Civilizations flourished because of water. Then came the era when highways became really important and masses settles where there was a highway. But now, the time has come when civilizations would flourish where there is optical fiber! The use and dependency on information and data has become so big, the country needs better infrastructure and better connectivity. He poked everyone by saying that atleast the country’s national capital should be wifi city! He announced that Ahmedabad would be a wifi city very soon.
– He told us that digital medium is an excellent platform of meeting minds. When ideas and passion are shared, then it becomes collectively huge. Another example of Gujarat: When the Sabarmati River Front was inaugurated in Ahmedabad, he asked everyone who is visiting there to click images of the place, and upload on Facebook. And it worked. He told us that by using simple technology and some motivation, Gujarat government was able to receive thousands and thousands of images for free. A perfect example of crowd-sourcing!
– He shared his vision that he wants a Digital India; A scenario wherein 1.2 billion people can all be connected with high speed digital highway, such that we all become one huge force. Knowledge is strength; and when this knowledge is collectively processed and used by every citizen of India, then it can beat any country in the world. He wants that technology should empower each and every citizen of India, and by that note, he concluded his speech.
The whole hall erupted in a big applause, which lasted for atleast 5 minutes.
Next came VSS Mani, founder of Just Dial who captured the stage for the next 30 minutes, and shared his story of founding a billion dollar Indian company, starting from a garage. The story of his entrepreneurial journey was engrossing and engaging to say the least. Such was his power of presentation and the detailing, that I couldn’t take any notes. Maybe the would-be-entrepreneur inside me was completely in awe with his charisma and magic. To think of it, in the initial phase, he didn’t had enough money to even buy a phoneline in Mumbai! He struggled a lot, no doubt in that, but what made him stick to his dreams was a strong belief that the work he is doing is amazing and will help everyone.
And he won.
He shared his ideas related with smartphones and the informed everyone that his next goal is to capture the service and ecommerce market using mobile apps. Some of the visionary applications shared by him are tremendous in value proposition; he aims to create an entire market place, where buyers and sellers can interact and procure goods within 3 clicks. The presentation and the ideas shared by VSS Mani will remain with me for a long time.
At last, came the awards ceremony but before that, IAMAI had arranged one astonishing event, conducted by DrumJam.in. Everyone were seated in a cirlce, and were given drums to play! The energy and the enthusiasm generated by this drum playing orchestra was something very heavenly. All tiredness went away in a single instance as all participants played their heart out, and created a crowd-sourced music ambiance which enthralled everyone. It was an incredible music extravaganza, where the artists were us.
The event concluded with cocktails and networking with one another. During this phase, I interacted with several eminent personalities, including Google India MD Rajan Anandan.
About the Author
Mohul is a Senior Online Marketer from Noida, India. You can follow him on Facebook to know his views on Online Marketing, Entrepreneurship & Life!