Farmers, Jobs and the Delusion of the Digital 

The mad rush for the digital aspects of governance in India is certainly more than achieving innocent efficiencies and increasing the tax net. The move to transform citizens into tax payers, costumers and employees is a grand neoliberal economic project in which delusions and escapism is the over riding sentiment undergirding the initiatives without focusing on the basics such as increasing the budgets for innovation research where automation is eating away thousands of IT jobs as the traditional bell weather destination for middle class jobs. Farmers are protesting and getting killed as political class has neglected farm reforms for decades to safeguard the rural middle class vote, while one farmer commits suicide every 41 minutes. All the talk is about ‘smart’ : from phones to agriculture to cities. We need is a dose of hard nosed focused towards implementing safeguards and creating opportunities for farmers, and not only telling them to download an application to check the weather, and join the market. Aadhar is creating an informational grid to underwrite the economic project called India, but is more about manufacturing an aspiration, rather than the tough decision making towards creating employment. The deleterious impacts of Demonetisation are coming to the data sets released by the government as well. Rethink, retrain and imagine.