BJP’s Digital Gambit



By bringing the IT industry leaders on a single stage, BJP’s top brass Nitin Gadkari held a face-to-face interaction with CEOs of top digital companies last month. The agenda was to interact on policy matters and bring forth the key issues of policy making that wouldact as catalysts for growth in the states of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, and Karnataka.

Although e-governance is not the party’s primary agenda but the notion of technology in governance has lately gained fluency. Following its experience in Gujarat, the party is expecting more out of the phenomenon of online governance. Present at the event were Naina Lal Kidwai, senior VP, FICCI and MD HSBC, Som Mittal, president Nasscom, Ajay Singha, ED, AMCHAM, Jaijit Bhattacharya, president, C-DEP and director HP, and Pradeep Gupta, chairman and managing director, CyberMedia, along with other CEOs and MDs.

At the event, Gadkari urged the CEOs to draft a proposal that can be recommended in the BJP ruling states. Showing his willingness to make a roadmap on e-governance, he told that all BJP chief ministers will meet the CEOs of digital companies and they can give them their suggestions. “I have a strong political will to implement your proposals,” he told the CEOs. He assured the industry that BJP would curb corruption using electronic governance.

The event covered a gamut of issues on digital economy including digital infrastructure and broadband, cloud computing adoption, managing large amounts of government data and leveraging IT, electronics manufacturing, taxation, and digital media standardization and counterfeits.

While different views were aired to suggest a roadmap for e-governance, the panelists also gave their recommendations in other key areas.

‘We need an Integrated IT policy for India’

Inviting the industry’s views and with an aim to take them forward, Gadkari called industry representatives, entrepreneurs, and private organizations to study the government processes and challenges in detail, and accordingly propose solutions that are customized to India’s requirement.

Proposing a 5-member committee, he invited industry representatives assuring that if the suggestions made are fair, impartial, and not pushing a single company’s agenda, they can be taken up further by the party leadership. Also coming out blatant, he said, “We’re open to suggestions as well as criticism.” A lot of topics can be addressed by raising the right questions in the Parliament. Companies need to provide classified sets of feedback for central/state governments and specific departments, he added.

“The proposed solution needs to be a win-win for the stakeholders. Please investigate the original law, and the opposition it received, leading to being scrapped and propose the alternative. It would be investigated,” he suggested.

As far as the topic of social media is concerned, he declared, “We do wish to allow freedom of speech, but that should not be used to destroy someone’s life.” Having said that he did not suggest to fully disallow the need for some policy over social media, he added. “We need to propose an integrated policy solution which takes care of concerns at both ends, instead of pushing for complete freedom without any restrictions.”

He also asked corporate members of C-DEP and CKS to send him a report on ‘Policy Prerequisites for the Growth of the Digital Economy in India’. “I will ensure that necessary actions are taken from my end once I get the report,” he said.

He went on to say that if the cases/recommendations are found worthwhile, the follow up conversations with respective committees or state governments can be organized.

Som Mittal, Nasscom

The industry is worth $100 bn and employs nearly 10 mn people. In order to make government employees ready for e-governance, they should be acquainted with PCs at all levels. As far as policies are concerned, we need to have consistency and continuity for a predictable/stable business environment,” Sibal said.


For exports promotion, we need special programs. The industry serves global customers for their mission critical applications and can’t afford to have downtime, owing to bandhs hurting 24×7 operations. Such issues lead to loss of business for India, he added

P Balaji, Sony Mobile


Speaking on behalf of the mobile industry, Balaji said that the proposed VAT of 12% would increase grey market operations resulting in loss of revenue which will straightaway affects the interest in further investing into the business.

Hardware companies are increasingly looking at setting up an additional manufacturing facility besides China. And India’s presently not emerging as the best possible option because of lack of consistent policy framework to encourage manufacturing sector.

Commenting on counterfeit products, he said that it could be hazardous to the users. The fake products cause loss of revenue to the original manufacturers as well their supply chain. Ultimately, leading to loss of jobs with the original manufacturer.

He also stressed the need of stricter regulations, as he said, “Stronger policy on fake and stricter implementation are really important for the industry to sustain.”

Jaijit Bhattacharya, C-DEP


Digital economy is about 20% of the Indian economy but is still below potential. The current procurement practices of the government put many restrictions on the kind of solutions that can be proposed by rules like ‘the solution should’ve been sold to at least 5 other companies.’ Such rules make it impossible for companies to propose innovative solutions.

Kaku Nakhate, Bank of America


International organizations are shying away from investing in India, or considering withdrawing their investments due to weak policy framework and lack of clarity in policies. It’s becoming difficult for Indian companies to attract and retain investments competing with their counterparts in other geographies.

Pradeep Gupta, Cybermedia


We need to have a clear policy on social media so that there is no random misuse of laws.

Debjani Ghosh, Intel


The industry really needs help with nationally scaling up initiatives that have been successful at the state level. The political will and priorities are different across different states. Hence it is challenging to convince the governments to replicate successful initiatives

Vikram Shah, Netapp India


Karnataka has implemented many technology solutions, but all applications currently use a standalone IT infrastructure. Cloud usage leads to convergence and scaling and consolidation of infrastructure, and its services could be exported also.

Basic concept of cloud allows all applications to share the same central infrastructure instead of having silo infrastructure for each app.

Naina Lal Kidwai
HSBC India


The state of the economy is a rallying call for us to align and work together, and it’s not the time to point fingers. The state of the economy is apt for some great initiatives to germinate. The services sector which is growing at the rate of 19% is far below the potential as it can grow at 30%. India is losing to countries like Philippines. She also suggested that entrepreneurs need the right environment to grow, prosper, and create jobs.

Sanjeev Kapoor, Infosys


For start-ups, a single window service would make it easier to do business in India. A new company need dozens of approvals from the central and state governments. If the data could be centralized, the approval process for the start-ups could become easy.

Currently there’s no rule about the data of Indian users residing in the geography of India. It’s important from security perspective. With multiple ministries having multiple ideas on privacy, it is important to consolidate them and make a consistent stance.

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