After 75 years of nation-building, India is at a crossroads where alienation and isolation are becoming the order of the day. The Idea of a Modern India always promoted social harmony among different social groups. It gave them a national identity above their social identity. This idea of India, with unity in diversity, is being challenged today. Modern India continues to face challenges in its social and economic spheres, with emerging challenges in education, healthcare, infrastructure, deepening inequalities impacting the everyday lives of Indians. Indians continue to live in poverty, and the pandemic has set us back years in development, increasing inequality in our society and pushing millions into poverty.
Technology lies at the heart of India's future development and can impact more than a billion people. Technology should develop by addressing these social problems that are emerging in India. Platforms over the internet are being widely used to further fake news and hate speech, which is affecting harmony of our Nation. At the same time, technology is becoming closed, leading to inequality, which is reflected in the lack of digital literacy and access to digital infrastructures in India. The present models of the algorithmic decision-making process are deliberately opaque and, by default, are without the possibility of any appeal and accountability. Algorithms are at the heart of the digital revolution, and biases in algorithms are furthering inequality. 'Techies For A Better India' envisions a community-led development model to bring people together to build solutions addressing the challenges of India. The Idea of India is a lecture to look at these challenges faced by our Nation and how best to address these social problems as fellow Indians.
Sitaram Yechury is an former Member of Parliament. He is the author of many notable books on India. He completed his M.A., first class, in Economics, from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Delhi.