Rajiv Gandhi –The Father of Information Technology & Telecom Revolution of India
You're reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.
India is adopting the digital culture, after all, realizing the dream of former Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi who envisioned India as a tech leader. He believed, “India is not a stagnant country. We are progressing. We are in a state of flux. Our society, our economy, is developing. Science and technology must be the key to this development.”
His vision to bring the era of technology by introducing computers in India will always be remembered as a remarkable contribution for the development of the nation. India might have officially started the journey of becoming a digital-empowered nation in 2014 but in all actuality, Rajiv Gandhi was the real architect of ‘Digital India’.
“India is an old country but a young nation…. I am young and I too have a dream, I dream of India strong, independent, self-reliant and in the front rank of the nations of the world, in the service of mankind,” he would say. During his short span as India’s Prime Minister, Gandhi was able to lay the foundation of modern India through certain concrete steps.
Hailed as the 'Father of Information Technology and Telecom Revolution of India', Rajiv Gandhi left an indelible mark on Indian society and politics. It was under his rule that the Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DOT) was established in August 1984 to develop state-of-the-art telecommunication technology and meet the needs of the Indian telecommunication network.
He was also the reason behind the PCO (public call office) revolution. PCO booths helped to connect even the rural areas to the world outside. Because of his efforts, MTNL (Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited) was established which helped in the spread of telephone network in 1984.
Rajiv Gandhi promoted science and technology and associated industries by bringing computer and internet to India, further increasing the intelligence quotient of the country. He prompted the reduction of import quotas, taxes and tariffs on computers and telecommunications. The Indian Railways was modernized after the introduction of computerized railway tickets.
During his five years of rule from 1984 to 1989, India’s digital hero made some sincere efforts to take the country to the 21st century. He announced the National Policy on Education (NPE) in 1986 to modernize and expand higher education programmes across the country. The programme fostered residential schools under the central government to bring out the best of rural talent.
Being a youngster himself, Rajiv Gandhi sought to empower the youth. In order to provide voting rights to millennials, the 61st Amendment Act of the Constitution was passed in 1989, lowering the voting age from 21 years to 18 years. This move allowed the youths to have a say in choosing Lok Sabha MPs and MLAs in the states.
Rajiv Gandhi is credited with laying the foundation of Panchayati Raj institutions in order to take democracy to the grassroots level. Though Panchayati Raj was created by the 73rd and 74th Amendments to the Constitution in 1992, a year after Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated; the background was prepared during the Congress government led by him.
Rajiv Gandhi died on May 21, 1991, at the young age of 46 years. These initiatives remind the countrymen of him on his 75th birth anniversary today. He gave India a vision & it is our duty to work hard to fulfil his dream.