Reacting to the Leading US based South Asian academics urge, Silicon Valley to be cautious in dealing with Modi government, Loksatta Party's National President Surendra Srivastava in a statement cautioned them that one may oppose a political party or dislike a politician, but a country is much bigger than a party or a person. To caution against investing in a democratic country based on an ill-advised visa denial or allegations never proved yet in a Court of Law is not just ludicrous, it belies an academic frame of mind.
Mr. Srivastava said, "It is unfortunate that a group of academics are unable to differentiate between an individual and a head of government. In a democratic setup, one has a right to criticize and protest government policy, programs and make their views known, but it is unfortunate and extreme to call for Silicon Valley companies not to conduct business with Indian government” If the group of academics have reservations about ‘Digital India’ program, they must use every available forum to raise their voice and engage with government in constructive dialog instead of urging world’s most advanced technology companies, to not work with India
He urged people to differentiate between India and her elected leaders, and to stop using personal dislike of an elected executive to deny investment in the future of India's citizens, respect the democratic vote, desist from asking others not to assist in development of a country.
A letter signed by a presumptuous group of US-based academics, apparently opposed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India, has advocated a boycott of India by Silicon Valley. The attempt to instigate a boycott by Silicon Valley, one of the leading sectors of the US and world economy, against cooperation with a vital flagship information technology program of the Government of India effectively constitutes a call for economic war against India itself. If this boycott is to be adopted there are no grounds for not widening it to all economic and other forms of cooperation with India. The justifications for the advocated boycott apply, mutatis mutandis, to all aspects of India’s international economic relations because the reason is the alleged dire threat the democratically elected PM Narendra Modi himself poses. India’s digitization aspirations predate the election of the Modi government and are an ongoing process that Mr. Modi is seeking to expand and deepen. It will transform the lives of ordinary citizens who have to run from pillar to post in their dealings with bureaucratic India and ensure speed, a critical factor, cross-referencing, accuracy and disbursement of welfare to the poorest. The latter is bedevilled by leakages that deny them the intended help, which is now significantly pre-empted by intermediaries. The process of digitization of the government-citizen interface is already in place in most advanced countries, including governments whose intelligence surveillance activities are extensive and not just in relation to their own citizens. Yet, paradoxically, academics based there allege civil liberties in India will be endangered if its own government adopts the rational and efficient measure of digitizing records to improve governance that are standard elsewhere. The vast majority of beneficiaries of digitization will be anonymous and apolitical citizens, who must unavoidably interact with government, are of no interest to security agencies! These agencies are perfectly able to identify and interdict those of interest already. And having access to records of the income and assets of citizens may help reduce tax evasion, but will provide little additional help for more serious illegal activities. Loksatta while strongly asks govt to provide appropriate safeguards including an effective privacy law, the benefits of digitization of India out ways the risks.
Mr. Srivastava further said that the signatories to the disgraceful recommendation to derail India’s attempt at modernity and progress hurled mud in the hope some of it would stick. Other slanders against India’s incumbent executive authority are unworthy of comment. These supposed luminaries of deep thought and intellectual probity are only succeeding in discrediting themselves by resorting to flimsy abuse. The cavalier disregard for facts and paucity of measured judgment also demonstrate that signatories to the malicious counsel against India have very little stake in it. They are determined to pursue their vendetta against the democratically elected gov
ernment of the country even if it seriously harms the interests of the people of India. The ordinary people of India are more sagacious and patriotic than these petty individuals and have elected the government to lead their nation into a better future.
Mr. Srivastava also clarified that “People for Loksatta (PFL)” a support organization of Loksatta based in US, which has a large presence in Silicon Valley is mobilizing support for Prime Minister’s visit.