The BJP, the largest opposition in India has released an IT Vision document that endorses open source and open standards. Many of the points mentioned in the FOSS Manifesto for India that we put up online last week have been incorporated in this document.
This document was unveiled by none other than Shri. LK Advani, the BJP's candidate for Prime Minister. I did a quick read of the 40 page document and am impressed with how thorough and comprehensive it is. As a long time supporter of free and open source software, I am delighted to see a major Indian political party endorse it. However, I am even more delighted to see that this endorsement is rooted in a comprehensive vision for India's development. A big chunk of the credit for this document should go to Shri. Sudheendra Kulkarni (an alumnus of IIT Bombay) and Shri Prodyut Bora (an alumnus of IIM Ahmedabad). Shri Kulkarni was advisor to Shri Atal Behari Vajpayee when Vajpayee was prime Minister of India and Shri Bora is Head of the IT Cell of the BJP.
I was happy to see that the Digital Colonization theme that my friend, Jaijit Bhattacharya of Sun talks about has been incorporated in this document. Apart from the FOSS Manifesto, some of my key passions on open standards (that we don't pay for standards like weights and measures in the physical world, so why should we pay for standards in the digital world?) have been reflected. Also, as a co-founder of IndLinux.org which we started in 2000 in an attempt to bridge the digital divide, I am happy to see that the BJP has promised to create a National Mission for Indian Language Computing.
The CPI(M), another national party in India has always been a strong supporter of our stand on open source, open standards and our fight against software patents. We are hopeful that other political parties will also take cognizance of the FOSS Manifesto and incorporate the same
into their IT plans for India.
With the country schedule to go to polls next month, we now have a broad consensus emerging around the use of open source and open standards. This is great news for all of us who believe in free and open source software!