India’s Tech Obsession May Leave Millions of Workers Without Pay (

India’s Tech Obsession May Leave Millions of Workers Without Pay


However, critics say the system doesnt add much in the way of accountability. There are innumerable examples where photos of crowds, boats, books are submitted and even accepted, says Nikhil Dey, founding member of the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS), the organization for the power of laborers and farmers. That means you are not even looking at them.

Osama Manzar, founder of the Digital Empowerment Foundation, an NGO, says that the rollout of NMMS is symptomatic of the governments belief in creating digital tools as an end in itself, without thinking about the people who will actually have to live with the consequences.

The way our bureaucrats and policymakers approach technology, they love to show that we are technologyfriendly and adopting new technology, he says. That is the attitude.

Since then, Manzar believes, the administration has been pushing to make the campaign a visible success.

It helps the government say we have digitally delivered these services to millions of people, he says. It makes for a great story internationally. But although the sheer size of Indias population means the absolute number of people reached by these digital services looks impressive, the governments PR machinery wont talk about how many people were excluded in the process.

Raman Jit Singh Chima, Asia policy director at Access Now, a digital rights group, says that the private sector has also driven some of the momentum. There has been a lot of private sector influence to drive the creation of tools, he says. People develop tools in order to justify the usage of other existing digital infrastructure, rather than seeing what people actually want.

Chima says that even though there have often been problems with the rollouts of these digital services, lessons are rarely learned, because no one is held accountable for failures.

Many of them now migrate to cities to find work.

The government claims that digitizing the attendance records helps curb corruption in the system.


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