I was born and brought up in a small town in northern Gujarat, Palanpur. When I was a kid, it always wondered me, ‘Why does each snowflake have a unique geometrical structure?’, ‘What does the moon cycle have to do with the tides in the sea?’, ‘How was the first written language invented?’, ‘How does a computer work?’ and much more. This curiosity took me to places. I wondered and wandered around the globe. I got the chance to be part of some of the most prestigious science and technology institutions around the world — IIT Bombay, Gujarat University, MIT, Microsoft, Google, NASA, CMU, UNESCO, JST, and Samsung. I made my mark in the technological world with several inventions. I explored architecture, design, science, history, languages, electronics, robotics, and more. In a way, I followed what Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”
Science and Technology
I strongly believe that science and technology is the pivot of any nation’s development. Technology has played a fundamental role in improvement of the quality of life, real economic growth, wealth creation and transformation in any society. The United Kingdom and France benefited tremendously from the industrial revolution in the 19th century. The United States transformed from an agrarian nation into an industrial superpower in the 20th century. Japan, Taiwan and Korea became industrialized countries by exploiting advances in silicon microelectronics from the early 1960s. Most recently, China has emerged as world leader due to its development of manufacturing technologies. All of these countries invested quite heavily in the development of science and technology, infrastructure, better economic policies and hence the betterment of the people. Their successes were based on carefully designed plans and strategies.
India’s expertise in Mathematics and Software Technologies has shown the world a glimpse of its potential. India has led the wave of information technology of the past decade. Unfortunately, due to the lack of proper support and empowerment from the government, the lack of a coherent vision, and poor execution of policies, we are losing this opportunity to other developing nations in today’s competitive world.
The growth equation
The importance of science and technology in national development cannot be over-emphasized. The impact of such development and its practical applications for India will go manifold. From urban to rural India, from fertile agricultural lands to better infrastructure, from better healthcare for all to sustainable economic growth; from energy independence to a strong future India.
Technology is the primary engine of economic growth and provides the key to unlocking any country’s potential. The benefits of this growth will be visible in every sector and every corner of India. Our nation has vast natural resources, while our human resources are the best in the world. With progressive thinking and better governance, there is no one who can stop us from being the India we dream of. Many entities will play different roles in actualizing this dream of bringing technology to masses in very real sense. The need of the nation is to bring benevolence of technology to the common man of India in a meaningful manner.
Power of India’s Youth
By 2020, our nation will be the world’s youngest country with around 65 per cent of the population in the working age group. With the West, Japan and even China aging, this demographic potential offers India and its economy an unprecedented edge that economists across the globe believe could add a significant GDP growth rate. Every third person in an Indian city today is a youth. The future of tomorrow’s India depends on the power of these youths.
What is stopping us then in being a progressive and leading nation? It is the lack of opportunities, lack of proper infrastructure, unemployment, corruption, bad governance, and looming economic crisis. The power of the Indian youth is tremendous. In order to make the best of this power, and bring India to its full potential, the nation today needs a progressive vision and its execution.
I first time met Narendra Modi in Gandhinagar, in the capitol of Gujarat. He invited me to a special event where I interacted with the cabinet ministers of Gujarat government and presented my research work. Before my talk, I interacted with Narendra Modi in person. We discussed the importance of better education, infrastructure, development of science and technology for the progress of Gujarat. Rather than what Gujarat has already achieved, we focused the discussion on what more we need to do and how can we achieve that. He laid down a complete and clear plan they are undertaking. I have met Government executives of many countries in past — USA, CHINA, JAPAN, SINGAPORE. I haven’t seen the vision, passion and dedication anywhere that I saw in Mr. Modi. What Gujarat has achieved in the last decade is nothing less than impossible. Today the waters of Narmada is reaching as far as lands of Rajasthan. Solar panels are installed along a 1 km pilot project section of the Sanand Branch Canal near Chandrasan village to generate electricity. Not only does it generate 1.6 GW·h of electricity, but it reduces the evaporation by 90 lakh liters of water each year. The urban Gujarat is getting ready with the infrastructure need of the next generation, and every distant villages of Gujarat are being connected with Internet. My talk in cabinet was telecasted live to every collectors’ office of Gujarat. Following day I interacted with almost a million students in the schools of Gujarat via a video conference. I was amazed to see that the schools in every part of Gujarat were connected by the state-of the-art networking facility. The list of achievements that Gujarat has made in the last decade is endless. But, I felt the most proud when I was visiting 2010 World Expo in Shanghai, China. Ahmedabad was the only city in India to have its own pavilion at Urban Best Practices Area in the expo, based on the theme of ‘Better City Better Life’. It also won Silver medal at the event. Around three crore people visited Ahmedabad pavilion in the 2010 World Expo. I was one of the proud visitors.
From Gujarat to India
The foundation of this future India must rest upon better education, better infrastructure, better economic policies, employment and empowerment for all, and the development of science and technology. There is no better example of this than the development that Gujarat has seen under the leadership of Shri Narendra Modi in the last decade. I myself come from Gujarat and can proudly say that ‘What we have done in Gujarat, we need in India today’.
On this eve of change, let us all come together. We are the largest democracy in the world. Together we can make India the greatest democracy in the world. Together, we can build the future India.
31st March 2014