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PM Modi claims he used digital camera, e-mail in 1988: What facts reveal

BS Web Team/New Delhi 14 May 19 | 12:13 PM

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's recent television interview where he claimed to use a digital camera in 1987-88 to click a colour photo of L K Advani and then emailed the same has got social media up in arms..

“First time I used digital camera in 1987 or 1988… then a handful of people had email. At one of the public meetings of (LK) Advani ji in Gujarat’s Viramgam, I had a digital camera. I took a photo of Advani Ji and transmitted it to Delhi. He was surprised and said how did my colour photo appear today," PM Modi said in the interview to News Nation.

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People since then are questioning the PM's claims of using digital camera and internet more than two decades ago.

More Modi gems. Nothing adds up. Poverty? Yet by own admission digital camera which few people had.

— Swati Chaturvedi (@bainjal) May 13, 2019

The question is even if he did have an email id in 1988 when the rest of the world didn’t, who was he sending emails to? ET?

— Divya Spandana/Ramya (@divyaspandana) May 12, 2019

I went to the US in 1993. AOL was the dominant player. It started as an internet service provider in early 90s. We used to go to university to use email (DOS based). 1988? This is so embarrassing for India. #Feku

— Salman Anees Soz (@SalmanSoz) May 12, 2019So when did cameras came into the digital age?

The first true digital camera was built in 1981 by the University of Calgary Canada ASI Science Team, according to technology publisher CNET. However, as per CNET, it was in 1990 when a digital camera was first made commercially available.

Marketed as the Logitech Fotoman, the camera used a CCD image sensor, stored pictures digitally, and connected directly to a PC for download.

Other reports say Nikon's first digital camera was announced in 1988. In 1991, the US list price of the device was $20,300. 

There is no clarity as to when the device first came to India. 

Though a few models of digital camera may have been available in the US, people are questioning as to how PM Modi got a hand on it, given his humble financial status at that time.

India's first tryst with e-mail

Internet was techically available in India in 1988, the year Modi claimed he sent an email to L K Advani. But  internet first became publicly available in India only in 1995. Before this year, a prototype of what we know as the internet today was working in India as the ERNET. It was established in 1986 to connect the IITs in Delhi, Kharagpur, Bombay, Madras and Kanpur, the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), the National Centre for Software Technology (NCST) and the Department of Electronics (DoE).

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