(Above): India’s Law and Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad addressing a gathering of Indian Americans at the Amber India Restaurant in Los Altos, Calif., Aug. 26. (Vansh A. Gupta | Siliconeer)

A local newspaper reporter remarked, “Employment in the IT Sector was a cause of concern last year for the mass layoffs happening in India…” to which India’s Law and Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad responded, “First of all, your story is wrong, there are no mass layoffs in India…”

Prasad was recently in San Francisco Bay Area where he debunked the false narrative of India.

People in this generation think that India still has mass corruption and lives with 3G Internet, the reality is that India is making rapid progress in becoming a global superpower, writes Siliconeer youth editor Vansh A. Gupta.

It is ghastly to see that Indian Americans in this era believe this false rhetoric that the government is simply swindling money from people and the common man is struggling in India. We tend to still consider India as a developing country where poverty is at an all-time high and corruption has permeated beyond containment, especially the younger generation in the Silicon Valley. A small reality check shows that India has progressed to unimaginable heights with the enactments of new policies and initiatives as Minister of Electronics and Information Technology and Law and Justice, Ravi Shankar Prasad, asserted, Aug. 26, at the Amber India restaurant, in Mountain View, Calif.

Warmly welcomed by Indians in the Silicon Valley, the Minister was introduced by Consul General Venkatesan Ashok. Shortly after, Minister Prasad spoke of India and I was left speechless.

He gives a warm tribute to former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, explained the digital involvement in India today, and cleared some of the misconceptions of Aadhaar, Demonetization, and other government programs. It was a proud moment for me, and I am sure, for the many Indian citizens sitting in that room as he spoke.

(Above): India’s Law and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad (c) with Consul General of India San Francisco Ambassador Venkatesan Ashok (r) and Consul Sumati S. Rao (l) at Amber India Restaurant in Los Altos, Calif., Aug. 26. (Vansh A. Gupta | Siliconeer)

Beginning his speech by reflecting on his experience in Silicon Valley, he claims that we are the real ambassadors for India and the feats that Indians have achieved here is commendable. What he’s saying is evident. After all, the CEOs of Google and Microsoft, and the CFOs of Tesla, Levi’s, and Visa are all Indian. Prasad had met with Sundar Pichai and the CEOs of Oracle, GE Digital, and Flex to discuss the future involvement of these companies in India. He had also met key figures from companies like Microsoft and Wells Fargo throughout his visit.

Prasad continued on and paid his respect to the achievements and courage of the former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who passed away Aug. 16. It was a deserving tribute to the great contributions of Vajpayee. Prasad said, because of Vajpayee, India was able to gain nuclear power, see 4-6 lane highways proliferate throughout the country. There was a boom in the mobile and IT landscape and India experienced the real power of democracy and nationalism. It is because of Prime Ministers like Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Narendra Modi, India is progressing towards becoming a Superpower. Ravi Shankar Prasad concludes his tribute: “If you are a true popular leader, people respect your legacy. That’s what India is about.”

(Above): India’s Law and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad (c) interacts with attendees, serial entrepreneur and Siliconeer technology editor Pavan Mandhani (2nd from r) and Siliconeer co-founder and chief editor Amar D. Gupta (l) at Amber India Restaurant in Los Altos, Calif., Aug. 26. (Vansh A. Gupta | Siliconeer)

Now under the Modi administration, Prasad claims that India is going through a transformation with the use of elaborate and extensive programs and initiatives like Digital India, Startup India, Clean India, Demonetization, Aadhaar Card, and more. With these programs, Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad claims, “Now four years down the line, first thing I can proudly say that India is now a scam-free country.” He challenges to show him one person who can say that they paid a minister to get their work done. Prasad continues on and explains the steps taken to “funding the unfunded” and “banking the unbanked.”

The real substance of the speech was served when Prasad shares some jaw-dropping statistics of India’s digital environment and Aadhaar card holders. Prasad claims that there are over 1.2 billion phone users-almost half of them are smartphone users, 1.2 billion Aadhar card adopters, and more than half a billion active internet connections in India. Considering the fact that India has a population of 1.3 billion, these numbers are staggering.

(Above): Indian Americans listen to India’s Law and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad speak at Amber India Restaurant in Los Altos, Calif., Aug. 26. (Vansh A. Gupta | Siliconeer)

All in all, we see a strong shift in India. It is evident that now India’s efforts have one goal: Superpower by 2020.

After all, the new government initiatives are increasing the opportunities for businesses and citizens to grow. The digital wave is being surfed by millions of citizens. With the implementation of Aadhar, GST, and Demonetization, the possibility of scams and frauds has decreased significantly. The digital database connected to Aadhar means that people are now held accountable for their actions and more accessibility to a digital-based identification ecosystem for government agencies and businesses.

(Above): India’s IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad (l) poses for a photo with Google CEO Sundar Pichai at Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., Aug. 29. (Press Trust of India)

All of these regulations and programs sound ideal on paper, but some questions still arise: Are people in India happy? Are these rules being enforced properly? If so, why are people constantly complaining if the government is trying to help its citizens? Well, the simple answer for that is “Sab kuch thik hogaya hai aisa nahin hai, lekin sab kuch thik hone ke raaste par chal raha hai.” Basically, “India is moving on the right track, in the right direction,” but there is still work to be done, concluded Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.