Think local, hack global should be the mantra for all of India’s software engineers eager to use their talents to “hack” – in other words, build– applications rapidly that empower citizens to solve everyday problems.
See a pothole that needs fixing? Concerned about test scores in rural schools? Want to use technology to help your neighbors be safe? With Indian software engineers working to solve local issues there can be literally “an app to solve any problem”
India needs a community of software engineers focused on creating mobile and Internet-based tools for citizens to actively participate in partnership with local government. The transformative power of these mobile applications will give communities the power to connect to local officials to improve everyday living conditions.
Let’s build partnerships that leverage the strong tech community of Silicon Valley, our local entrepreneurial organizations such as TiE, and the venture capital community to solve the pressing needs of the Indian society. As a firm believer in the power of crowdsourced and open-sourced technology, I believe we must invest our money and spirit in technology that will promote transparency, participation and efficiency in the way local people can voice their concern and find solutions
Partnerships between Indian engineers and investment firms will bring India hundreds of millions of dollars in for-profit and non-profit ventures for our country.
A fine example is the US-based philanthropic organization Omidyar Network, which has invested $113 million across 35 companies in India since 2010 where social impact is the unifying criterion for investments.
Let’s also draw inspiration from efforts to improve education such as Pratham, AIF Projects in India, Foundation for Excellence and the multi-million dollar initiative spearheaded by Centre for Knowledge Societies (CKS), to implement a $3.2 million initiative to help improve the reading skills of millions of primary school age children in India.
With India as the test-bed, we can harness the immense power – and imagination — of India’s software engineers to build tools that will help solve problems on the ground here in India and for other developing countries facing similar problems. Let the Made-in-India stamp be seen worldwide as the mark of quality, compassion and transformation.
Please visit www.codeforindia.org to see how you can get involved.