India since time immemorial has been a contradiction, an irony. From the days of “Sone ki Chidiya” (The Golden Sparrow) to the modern times, two India’s have co-existed - One that is urbane, upwardly mobile, forward looking and the other that is poor and backward. This is the case today also albeit there is a strong under-current of change, as has never been seen in the subcontinent since many millennia. This is the democratization of technology, education and power.
India, as it is today, is a young country. Census figures state that around 50% of India is of or below 25 years and more than 65% of her citizens are 35 years or below. And this is the most active population group driving this change. They (the youth) are everywhere heading companies, building businesses, fighting and winning elections. The youngest MP in the Indian Parliament is only 26 years old. We see an India that is opening up to new ideas, breaking old conventions, empowering women, emancipating the downtrodden, MNCs & international icons being taken over by home grown entrepreneurs etc. these are all but the symptoms of this huge Powershift. The Indian Juggernaut is creating waves from Mangal to Dangal (Mars to Wrestling ring). Well we just sent a Mars mission and remember the medals we won in wrestling competition in the Olympics.
Although we have come a long way, but there is a lot more to be done. New era has certainly improved the lives of Indians, but not of all Indians. There are many still deprived of the benefits of ‘India Shining’. And shining India has thrown up new challenges. Homeland security, compliance to global standards, integration with the world economy, increased threat of terrorism (domestic and international), the classic rich and poor conflict/ Urban and rural conflicts, increased sophistication in crime, threat to sensitive installations and the list goes on. GPS navigation and Location based services, though they are contributing to resolve many of these issues, I feel can play a larger role here.
While in the consumer space, there has been some good uptake of GPS technologies, as a result of companies like MapmyIndia advocating the benefits of the technology. We have been constantly endeavoring to widen its reach. MapmyIndia is currently in talks with various corporates, governments and institution for the deployment of GPS and LBS solutions for better safety and higher productivity. We are getting encouraging signals. Most of the automobile industry and mobile handset manufacturers have already adopted this technology. Leading names like BMW, Mahindra & Mahindra, Mercedes, JLR, Ford, GM, Maruti, Blackberry, Samsung, etc. are offering navigation to their customers.
Many PSUs, institutions and private sector companies have already deployed this technology and they are reaping the benefits. These include a leading Oil manufacturing PSU (for pipeline security), a top company from the express industry (for fleet management tool), a state government has deployed our GPS solutions for fire department (emergency response) and there are many such examples.
Things are changing on the ground now. The government of India is also realizing the importance of GPS & LBS technology. In an effort to develop a more cohesive policy environment, the Planning Commission of India constituted a GIS committee of which our Managing Director, Mr. Rakesh Verma was member. This augurs well for the industry, as this will help attract capital, talent and enhance innovation.
Progress, however is a continuous Work in Process. As a young entrepreneur, I can say that India has asserted herself in multiple ways within the vast, rapidly changing and evolving economic power dynamics of the world. I can see this and sense this everywhere I go. There is a palpable sense of achievement in the air which is very infectious. I believe that in a way every one of us is contributing to the success and prosperity of this great nation. India is on a firm growth trajectory and we will continue to surprise ourselves and hold the world in our thrall by launching many more Chandrayaans and Magalyaans, metaphorically speaking!