The manifesto of the BJP, which leads the National Democratic Alliance that lost power to the current UPA government 10 years ago, has a lot to offer to the digital industry, but remains remarkably silent on a few key issues such as Aadhaar, CMS, and fixing IT Laws. Importantly, the BJP has taken a strong stand against FDI in multi brand retail, which means that there probably isn’t a single political party in the country which supports a nationwide implementation of FDI in multi-brand retail. There is no mention of e-commerce, but not allowing FDI in e-commerce would most likely be a part of not allowing FDI in multi-brand retail.

The manifesto is occasionally vague on implementation plans, but it covers a vast range of issues, from digitization, participatory governance using technology, and we’re particularly hopeful about the initiatives around Digital Health and Education, overhauling laws and mandating digitization of government processes. Some things, especially around e-governance and NOFN, relate to work that is already being done or has been initiated by the UPA government that has been in power for 10 years.

MediaNama’s broad take on this manifesto is that, apart from e-commerce, it is significantly positive from a digital industry perspective. However, we are vary of how implementation might be done in case the NDA comes to power, since specifics are missing:

WiFi & Broadband
– Wi-Fi facilities will be made available in public places and commercial centres.
– Set up a National Optical-Fibre Network up to the village level
- Set up High-speed digital highways to unite the nation. (Ed: what does this even mean?)

Telecom

– Telecom revolution has touched length and breadth of the country but there is significant scope and necessity to improve the quality of voice and data to fully leverage the potential. (Ed: The focus on QoS is interesting, but, really, is this all the BJP can think of, when it comes to telecom?)

Education
- Make all institutions and schools e-enabled in a phased manner. Digital learning and training to be used extensively.
- Make technology enabled products affordable for students.
– Address the employability issue by initiating a multi-skills development programme in mission mode. Focus will be on job creation and entrepreneurship, in both rural and urban areas.
– The digital divide shall not be allowed to create further divisions in the learning situations of children.
– Establish a national E-Library to empower school teachers and students.
- Would set up Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) and virtual classrooms to make it convenient for working class people and housewives to further their knowledge and qualifications.
– Launch a national programme for digital empowerment through computer literacy of the people, especially the youth.
– BJP aims to make every household digitally literate with a goal to make India the Global Knowledge hub, with IT being a major driver and engine of growth.
- Devise schemes, programs and opportunities to encourage the youth to take scientific research and innovation as a career.

Healthcare
- Pursue a mission mode project under the ‘National Rural Internet and Technology Mission’ for use of telemedicine and mobile healthcare for rural healthcare delivery
– Utilize the ubiquitous platform of mobile phones for healthcare delivery and set up the ‘National eHealth Authority’ to leverage telemedicine and mobile healthcare for expanding reach and coverage and to define the standards and legal framework for technology driven care.

FDI
– Barring the multi-brand retail sector, FDI will be allowed in sectors wherever needed for job and asset creation, infrastructure and acquisition of niche technology and specialized expertise. BJP is committed to protecting the interest of small and medium retailers, SMEs and those employed by them. The FIPBs (Foreign Investment Promotion Board) functioning shall be made more efficient and investor friendly.

SME Sector

– Take all necessary steps to protect the interest of retailers, small traders and small vendors and equip them with the latest techniques and methods to modernize them and make them competitive.
– Commit to ensure that the retailers and SMEs don’t have to spend time and money for seeking multiple licenses to start the business. There will a system in place to avoid harassment of small traders.
– Set up trade facilitation to ensure easier customs clearances and visas for business travel.
- Initiate a Government – Industry Dialogue, a channel for regular interface with the industry.
– International linkages for exports, availability of credit through a dedicated SME bank, supply chain efficiencies, adoption of IT, support in R&D and innovation, and a policy support for enhancing the mandate to purchase from SME for large scale projects. Overall goal is to enhance the competitiveness of the SME sector leading to a larger contribution to our economic growth and employment generation.

E-governance: Mandating Digitization of Government Work

– Mandate digitization of all government work to reduce corruption and delays.
– Provide technology enabled e-Governance, to minimize the discretion in the citizen-government interface.
– Digitization of Government records as a top priority so that they are easily accessible. “Availability of information is the key to empowerment of the stakeholders. This also reduces the scope for discretion and manipulation.”
– “Initiate a National e-Governance Plan to cover every Government office from the centre to the panchayats. The ‘E-Gram, Vishwa Gram’ scheme in Gujarat to be implemented nationwide.”

Incubation and Entrepreneurship

– BJP will initiate nation-wide ‘district level incubation and accelerator programme’ for encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship.

Indic Languages
- promote e-Bhasha – National Mission for the promotion of IT in Indian Languages.

Realtime Agricultural data:
– “Leveraging technology to disseminate Real time data, especially to farmers – on production, prices, imports, stocks and overall availability.”

Taxation
– Bring on board all State governments in adopting GST, addressing all their concerns
– We shall work with the State governments to usher in the GST in an appropriate timeframe (Ed: No date mentioned). For implementing the same, a robust IT network system will be put in place.
– Provide tax incentives for investments in research and development, geared towards indigenization of technology and innovation

Regulation & Laws

– The credibility of the regulatory bodies shall be restored. The procedures to make appointments to senior positions shall be made transparent and merit and ability shall be the sole criterion.
– Government will be redefined by elimination of whatever is obsolete in laws, regulations, administrative structures, practices and would be purposive.
– Undertake a comprehensive review of the legal system to simplify complex legislations – converge overlapping legislation, as well as remove contradictory and redundant laws.
– Establish an institutional mechanism to periodically review and give suggestions for refining our laws.
– Our attempt will be to move towards a single-window system of clearances both at the centre and also at the State level through a Hub-spoke model.

Identity Cards
– Issue identity cards to the unorganized sector labourers, and arrangements will be made to provide them good quality health and education services. Also, their skills will be upgraded through appropriate training programs. (Ed: no mention of Aadhaar or NPR).

Open Source Software
- Promote ‘open source’ and ‘open standard’ software.

Location Based Services
– Use technology for scientific, strategic and long term town planning – including GIS based mapping.

Participative Governance
– Engage with people through social media: Leverage technology for e-Governance and engage pro-actively with the people through social media for participative governance and effective public grievance redressal mechanism.
– Open up Government to draw expertise from the industry, academia and society into the services.

Legal & IPR
– Initiate the computerization and networking of courts all over the country.
– Create courts specially equipped to deal with IPR cases.
– Set up a comprehensive National e-Library, empowering Lawyers.
– Evolve a national network of specialized universities having expertise in complementary domains like Forensics, Arbitration, IPR, International Law, etc.
– Simplify legal procedure and language.
– Make legal information open and freely accessible. Run legal awareness programmes and introduce in school curriculum – making the common man aware of his rights and duties.

Intelligence
– Overhaul our intelligence set up, with special focus on coordination and integration of human and technological intel – comprehensively gearing it towards collecting real time, specific and actionable inputs. (Ed: no mention of CMS)
– Train and technologically enable the police to track, pursue, as well as prevent Cyber Crime. (Ed: Great move, given how clueless Cybercrime cells appear to be)

Specially Abled
– Use technology to deliver low cost quality education to specially-abled students ‘in-home’ – through E-learning.
- Identify each and every special needs person across the country – establishing a web based disability registration system to issue universal ID for all applicable government benefits (healthcare, transportation, jobs, education etc).

Digitization of archives and museology

– Deploy IT to protect India’s priceless cultural and artistic heritage, which includes digitization of all archives and museology.

Employment

– IT Jobs in Rural Areas: Generate IT-based jobs in rural and semi-urban areas.

Banking
- Use mobile and e-Banking to ensure financial inclusion. (ED: Old news?).

Power
- Use technology to reduce transmission and distribution losses.

Manufacturing
– Set up Investment and industrial regions as Global Hubs of Manufacturing.
– Set up a task force to review and revive MSME (Micro and Small Medium scale Enterprises) sector, proving it with better access to formal credit and technology for modernization.
– Make India a hub for cost-competitive labour-intensive mass manufacturing.
– Take steps for Interest rate rationalization and a clear tax policy to remove uncertainty and remove red-tapism in approvals.
– Invest in logistics infrastructure, ensure power supply.
– Undertake labour reforms and take other steps to create a conducive environment for investors.
– Increase the public spending on R&D and incentivize R&D investments to increase competitiveness of the manufacturing sector.
– Encourage Indian companies to go global and will support Indian companies in this endeavour.

Defence & Security

– Reform the National Security Council to make it the hub of all sector-related assessments. It will be accountable for real-time intelligence dissemination.
– Digital and cyber security will be a thrust area.
– Completely revamp the intelligence gathering system by modernizing the intelligence department.
– Provide state governments with all assistance to modernize their respective police forces and equip them with the latest technology. This will be taken up on a mission mode approach.
– Modernize the police force, equipping them with the latest technology.
– Using information technology for women’s safety.
– Initiate the process of digitization of defence land in cantonment and in other place

Other
- Focus to bring SC/ST, OBCs and other weaker sections of the society within the ambit of IT-enabled development. (Ed: Not clear what they plan to do here)
– Make research careers more appealing by providing work environment and professional opportunities in fundamental scientific research.
- Build regional centres for scientific research in the field of nanotechnology, material sciences, thorium technology and brain research.
- Create an ecosystem for multi-country and inter-disciplinary collaborative research, and establish an Intellectual Property Rights Regime which maximizes the incentive for generation and protection of intellectual property for all type of inventors.
- Set up autonomous technology transfer organizations as associate organizations of universities and national laboratories to achieve synergy between industry and scientific research.
– Industry will be encouraged to adopt or support educational and research institutions to help direct science and technology endeavours for industrial goals.
– Promotion of innovation by creating a comprehensive national system of innovation.
– Set up an institute of Big data and Analytics for studying the impact of big data across sectors for predictive science.

Natural & National Resources
– Implement auction of precious resources through efficient mechanisms including e-auction.
– Resource mapping, exploration and management will be undertaken through the use of technology.