In 2011, I wrote a blog post entitled “Project 275 for 2014”. It outlined what the BJP should do to get a majority on its own in the next national elections, which were scheduled three years later. I was the first person to actually look beyond the 175-180 seats that BJP was expected to win, and come up with a plan that was very different. Seeing that as a chance to bring about the much-needed change for India, I then also decided to invest my own time and money to help make that happen.
In early 2012, I created Niti – New Initiatives to Transform India. Niti Digital focused on media, data, analytics and creating a volunteering platform. It became one of many initiatives that helped Mr. Modi in his 2014 Lok Sabha campaign. In my mind, I was always clear that once the elections were over, I would get back to running my tech company – with the assurance that Mr. Modi would start the process of transforming India along the lines that we, and other advisors, had discussed with him.
BJP won a majority in the elections of May 2014– just as I had hoped three years earlier. It was the first time in 30 years that a single party got a majority on its own in the national elections. With Mr. Modi as Prime Minister, Niti’s mission was successful and complete, and I returned to the world of technology.
The slow pace of changes in the first few months of the new government made me think deeper about the issue of what a transformed India would look like, and how to accelerate the process. I began wondering about what it would take to get India on a fast track to prosperity. I was first introduced to the idea of changing India and the importance of freedom via a book by Atanu Dey, a trained economist, entitled, ‘Transforming India’. For me, the work in Niti Digital and the 2014 elections had always been a means to an end – making India rich.
Thus began a different journey: to better understand why India had remained poor, what had made some countries rich, and what India needed to do to create prosperity for its people. Over the next year, I spoke to many people, attended conferences around the world in the areas of economics and public choice, and did a lot of reading.