India’s differences will disapper if it is wired better: Sachin Pilot (Interview-II)

New Delhi, March 7 (IANS) India needs much better telecom and broadband connectivity not just to sustain high growth and empower citizens of this vast and diverse nation but also to break barriers of caste, religion and ethnicity, says Minister of State for IT and Communications Sachin Pilot.

“We want to make our country much more wired than it is today. That’s a very good way of getting people together and that’s why we have to leverage on these opportunities before us,” Pilot said in an interaction with IANS.

An alumnus of the Wharton Business School, the 32-year-old, second-generation politician believes such access will be a unifier in India. He is also keen on bridging the digital divide so that the “other India” also has access to high-speed broadband connectivity.

“Sometimes, we have differences created by some political parties who keep hammering on the faultlines in our society, our ethnicity, language, culture, manoos, north Indian, south Indian! All this will disappear once people get to ‘meet’ each other through the internet and learn from each other.”

Pilot, who joined politics after a two-year stint with General Motors, says the current internet penetration in India of just seven percent could go up to 30-40 percent through the wireless broadband route in a few years.

“Internet connectivity will help students studying in remote areas get access to the best of educational resources,” said Pilot, already a two-term member of parliament in the Lok Sabha and among the youngest ministers in the government.

The son of prominent Congress leader Rajesh Pilot — who too had handled the telecom portfolio but died in a road accident in 2000 — Sachin Pilot says he did not make an entry into politics under public pressure.

“I had finished my formal education in 2001. Once I came back from the US I thought long and hard on what I wanted to do. I had worked in a multinational firm and felt whatever I had seen, learnt, experienced can be used effectively in a public platform,” he said.

“I had made enough powerpoint slides in the company I was working for. But how much of a difference was I really going to make? But here, I felt, if you really use this platform diligently, there’s so much you can do. I felt this is my calling,” he added.

“It wasn’t public pressure. It was a very conscious decision,” said the alumnus of St. Stephen’s College who, like his late father, loves flying light aircraft and is a hobby shooter, having been captain of the college shooting team.

Having featured in a host of publications as one of the most good-looking and promising young political leaders of the country, Pilot said he started travelling and interacting with people after his return and felt he could add value to politics.

He was barely 26 when he won his first parliamentary election from Dausa in Rajasthan in 2004. Delimitation then forced him to change his constituency and he won from Ajmer in 2009, defeating the candidate of the Bharatiya Janata Party which had not lost the seat since 1984.

Echoing the words of Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi of attracting more youth into politics, Pilot said there was need to change the perception of India’s politics and create a positive image around the Indian politician.

“People who have some conviction, who have some principles, they should come. That’s why I keep talking to university students all across the country. You don’t have to be from a political background,” he said.

“You must be involved in the process, ask questions, go vote, make people accountable.”

–Indo-Asian News Service


( 615 Words)