With Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the Silicon Valley, there has been a lot of talk about Digital India. It is in fact true that Indian economy is at one of its most interesting junctures. It has become the cynosure for the global business community especially the technology giants, in-part due to the slow-down of China and also due to the Indian Government’s campaigns such as “Make In India”. The said campaigns are designed on highlighting that India provides unique opportunities to the world, now that a reformative government is in the power.
It was really interesting to see how the country cheered when Mr. Modi met Tim Cook and invited him to set up a manufacturing base in India. The latter came out as gay in 2014, and Apple is a staunch supporter of gay rights. A lot of the other companies that our Prime Minister is inviting are pro-LGBT as well. Now the question arises, with so much talk about reforms to make the business in India simpler and easier, would the government also come clean on regressive laws like Section 377? Another important question is that would the said companies feel confident about sending their LGBT employees to India?
Does this not make doing business difficult?
One of the key statements made recently by the Prime Minister was that “the world will not wait for us”. The glaring reality is that most of the world, including our neighboring Nepal, has made sweeping advances on the issue of gay rights. The once Hindu kingdom included the rights of sexual minorities in its constitution.The whole world celebrated when USA implemented the gay marriage, many other countries are following suit. The crux is that the world is changing, corporates do not support discrimination based on orientation.
In the light of the above, it becomes imperative that India take a favorable position on the issue of gay rights. The government must make incremental changes, such as abolition of Section 377, focusing on transgender rights, introduction of sexuality in school sex education programs, and sensitization of police force. Indians have an incredible capacity to change at astonishing rates, case in point being adoption of smartphones in places where even the wireline telephone has not reached.
We are in the lime-light, this is India’s turn to show that we not only make business easy, but also respect individual choices.