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Memoranda for Submission to the Chief Ministers of the Two Telugu States.


Accelerating Digital Transformation In Challenging Times


Dt: 22/4/21

Accelerating Digital Transformation


Challenging Times


-          Dr T H Chowdary*


The title of this article  is the subject, the ITU (International Telecommunications Union, a specialist body of the United Nations) has advised  countries’  leaders and  intellectuals to deliberate upon  17th May, the  World Telecom and Information Society Day.  The world is facing the challenge of  the pandemic , COVID-19  which has  already taken more than  3 mln lives world  wide.   It is   still raising, especially in India ;  economic  distress  among  middle and lower classes, psychological depression and anxiety among  many are discernible .  There is however  a silver lining, occasioned  by forcing people to work and  live  in a different way .  Ubiquitous and affordable telecommunications and  internet  and smart phones are  enabling people to face the challenge of disability,  distress and  death COVID- 19 is  occasioning.  Let us asses the  challenge and change.


2. The most impressive change is that over 5 mln Indian  IT professionals   have been working  from home since a year.  They save on travel time and expense. India’s IT companies have  reported 7-10% increase in revenues and profits during the fiscal   2020-‘21.  93% professionals have said they like to  work this way from home. 


3.  The second impressive response to the challenge is  on education and learning.  Children aged seven  and above are receiving lessons from teachers on-line on the smart phones in their homes.  Many homes  have turned into work places – parents and children at different tables in the  same home and at the same time.

On-line classes can be alright for  post -metric  education for children above the age 15 years.  But learning by children  is to be cultivated  by Gurus , teachers.  Inquisitiveness,  exploration, discovery ,  values , morals , ethics and humanness and spirituality  can only be implanted buy Guru- Sishya  interaction.  Children under 15 need guidance.  Later they can themselves cultivate  jignasa ( inquisitiveness)  instilled by the Gurus.


4. The cell phone in the hands of over 90% of  the 1300 mlns  Indians is doing  wonders. Most payments, receipts and  remittances are done on-line. Even the   less “educated” are having  money transactions  digitally . The average revenue per user (ARPU)  per month  is under a measly  Rs.250, up from Rs. 125 before the pandemic and work from home.  The  pre-paid subscriptions and  re-charging  facilities from millions of shops  have made  transactions almost painless and  instantaneous.


5. The conspicuous and   deplorable  exceptions  to  ease of work and life  is electioneering and balloting which can be easily  non-physical that is digital.   Voting by shareholders of companies  and members of scientific and  engineering societies have been migrated to  canvassing on social media  and   electoral voting,  but not elections  to parliament, state legislatures and local bodies. The current wave of  elections in different States in the traditional manner;  large public meetings, road shows , door to door visits, lining up before election booths  have become super  spreaders of  COVID  -19 striking presidents Chief Ministers, MPs, MLAs, cinema stars and the common folks  - just as the death is the leveller  , so has COVID-19  become the leveller.

Death, the Leveller:


The glories of our blood and state

Are shadows, not substantial things

There is no armour against fate

Death lays his icy hands on kings

Sceptre and crown

Must tumble down

And in the dust be equal made

With the poor, crooked scythe and spade…

Only the actions of the just

Smell sweet and blossom in the dust

-James Shirely, the English  poet (1599-1666)



6. While  death  cannot be avoided, COVID-19 can be avoided  by among others  digitalized   elections. The process is described in the  note#1


7. It is amazing why the  Election Commission of India  and  tech-savvy BJP have not implemented   canvassing on electronic media only and balloting only  on-line from homes/work places. 


8. Marriages in India  especially  among the affluent are socially and nationally  costly and  vulgar. These can go digital avoiding physical movement. The suggested migration to e-marriages is at note # 2.


9. National and international  conferences, inaugurations , trials in judicial courts ,  memorial lectures, are all going  over webinars; zoom has been having  booming business   - saving on travel and hotel  expenses, reducing pollution and energy consumption  – all welcome developments.  War is also going into digital form -  enemies’  control and command networks ,  logistics will all be disrupted by  injecting viruses. Israel’s repeated devastating attacks on Iran’s nuclear facilities in  Natanz  are an example of such wars. Space is getting militarized and software is getting weaponized . Artificial Intelligence and Robotization will profoundly influence every aspect of human activity. Human memory becomes unnecessary; it is getting outsourced to the  world wide webs (WWW) . All these  developments in digitalization  can be human friendly  if wisely and ethically used. 


10.   ICTs can migrate  the  way  we work and live and learn  to  new ways with economic and  social benefits. People will communicate for work and commute only for pleasure.  The migration is however, not without some pain.  Inadequate  bandwidth and  falling   signal strength;  getting glued  to inanimate devices,  absence of emotionally elevating socializing ;  rising  home electricity  and telecommunication and  expenses; home loosing its “familyness “ by becoming a multi-functional work place.    



11. Men learn  to adapt.  Evolution involves change.  Those who cannot adapt will get distressed and decay. Long ago Poet Laureate Lord Tennyson wrote:

“The old order changeth yielding place  to new

Lest one  good custom  should corrupt the entire  world”.


As a French lesson says:


“Nous verrons bien d’autres choses

Encore ! On n’rrete pas le progress”

(We will well see yet  other things . One cannot stop progress.)



Note1:  IT & Elections   Ref:  See Para:6

Note 2: E-Marriages   Ref: See Para:8


(926 words)





  Telecoms: I.T and Elections


Dr T.H.Chowdary*



The Election Commission  has   ordered    that the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh  shall not have  meetings with   District officials using audio conference i.e ( tele-conferencing) on the telecom network.  Tele-conferencing  is  far less expensive than if  the District officials are called to  Hyderabad  or any other place. The Election Commission has not banned the Chief Minister holding conferences with District officials by calling them to any place.   Is there any sense in ruling  that   a conference requiring  physical  bodies is permissible but not  having them  on a telecom network? It appears  that either  the Election Commission is ignorant as to what tele-conferencing is or is prejudiced or    is simply  appeasing   some quarters .



2. Election Commission has also banned  advertising on the  electronic media     -         various TV Channels and   presumably Radio also by political parties.   This is  again senseless.  The essense of democracy is  public information and  debate.  Electors must have   information  so that  they can weigh  the relevant merits of contending candidates. Going to a meeting,   transported in trucks like cattle is far more expensive, inconvenient and is just a thamasha organised by  political parties. On the other hand, listeners of Radio and  viewers of TV can be in their own places  and  without any special   preparation or any expense,  listen to what  the politicians and  political parties are saying.












This is the best use  that  electronic media and information technology can be put.   Indeed we must look forward to a situation where    all political  meetings and rallies in the open are banned  as they are  expensive and  a nuisance to the public and are the cause of mounting election expenses. Meetings should be only under a roof which would mean that only the interested and understanding would gather there. Radio and TV media  can  be assigned  for about 10 hours a day say, ten  days in advance of  the elections, to the candidates and  political parties  for putting forth their views  and engaging in discussions and debates. Citizens  can query them by calling  them on  telephone from anywhere and such calls may be  paid for  by the State. If  this type of electioneering using information technology  and   the electronic media  is adopted, much of the need for election expenses  will decline  and  therewith  the black money, that is   in a variety of ways accumulated and spent  for elections . Elections have become expensive because of the  fashionable practice of  political parties staging huge rallies to which  the least informed persons are collected  by paying them for  a trip   to the  place of the rallies.  The  payment includes  food and drink and  entertainment and pleasures.


3. The Election Commission is unfortunately   conducting itself not in a very   enlightened  way but  in a prejudiced and reactionary  manner. We should hope that   after the  elections, the intelligent  among  politicians and parties will prevail  to see that  information technology is  used to the largest extent  to cut down on election expenses including  the preparatory time for  elections .


4. Even for voting and counting and for the declaration of results,  Information Technology can be used  most effectively and  efficiently.  Every eligible voter  should be required  to  register himself  on proof of  his residence, age, citizenship and identity .  Enumeration should be given up .  Registration should be  by using computers. The elector  should be photographed and his photo  stored in the digital memory of a computer . A computer- generated   identity card giving his photo, the constituency number,  his address, his date of  birth,  parents etc, details could  be  given then and there. If at the place of registration there are  representatives of  political parties  they could   challenge  the bonafides of the   person wanting to register such objections that may be disclosed of in a judicial manner. This procedure  prevents enumeration of  bogus voters. This can also prevent multiple registrations  if the  computers at various places used for registration are inter-linked  and verification for duplication   catered to in the software. On election day  electors should  be   required  to go to the booths  where  PCs are kept  . The voter can show his identity and  he can be instructed as to how to register his  vote. When once his vote is cast, the computers should reject a second time voting by him.   It shall be sufficient if   computers   in about  half  a dozen adjacent constituencies are linked together to  avoid multiple voting by the same voter. When once voting is closed in the next  few hours the result could be declared. To try out this   technology  elections for a Zilla Parishad or a  by -election for  an Assembly seat may be taken up .  The Election Commission should take up this responsibility and not look to the government . It would then be doing a great service to cleanse the Indian election system of  many corruptions. 


5. In further improvement it  should be possible  for a bonafide voter to vote  from any place in India.  He should be able putting the constituency number  and the name of the  candidate he is voting for  when he keys in his  registered voter number  he should be  in front of a camera . The computer may compare the photo  already  recorded against the voter registration number and the voter  on view before the  camera. If they match the  green light can come and the voter can press the button for the candidate he wants to be elected.


(900 words).








Dt:  20 May 2011


E- Marriages

Dr T.H.Chowdary*


Vulgar and ostentatious spending  on marriage celebrations and feasts is on the increase. The amount spent is running into  crores of  rupees.   This induces immorality, greed, envy and  hence instability in society. Besides,  there is wasteful consumption of  petrol  for cars and other modes of travel to attend these marriage celebrations and feasts.  Information technology  can be used to cut down all these and  save  a lot for the nation.


2. Along with the  invitation, food coupons for 2 or 3 people authorizing  as many meals in designated  hotels can be sent to be used on the day of the  marriage. The invitees can then have the  marriage  feast in their  own  towns and cities nearest to their  homes. This will save lot on travel and  associate  expenses and congestion around the  marriage sites.


3. The actual  ceremony can be viewed by people  in their homes  if the marriage ceremony could be web -cast and the website address is printed on the invitation. Some of the   TV channels  can be  asked  to uplink also and the  channel details maybe printed in the invitation. Alternately  or in addition, people can log on to the  website and see the marriage as it is performed.


4. With the above two arrangements, the marriage crowds will be manageable. Only the  near and dear relatives can have a meaningful witness of the  marriage. (228 words)


Director : Center for Telecom Management & Studies
Chairman : Pragna Bharati, Andhra Pradesh
Convenor: Bharatiya Dharma rakshana Samakhya

Fellow: Tata Consultancy Services
Former: Information Technology Advisor: Government of Andhra Pradesh
Chairman & Managing Director, Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd
Advisor: Satyam Computer Services

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