12 Months agoWith a clear vision, the present government is pushing ahead the Digital India initiative to transform the country into a digitally empowered society and a knowledge economy.
The journey towards a digitally – connected India began in the early 90s and 2000s with the introduction of a range of e – governance programmes. However, its impact was limited.
With a clear vision, the present government is pushing ahead the Digital India initiative to transform the country into a digitally empowered society and a knowledge economy. With the launch of this initiative, the government aims to reach out to citizens in the remotest of locations and make them a part of India’s growth story. Since technology is a key driver in causing disruptive change, digital tools will empower citizens and prove to be a game-changer.
Digital India provides the much-needed thrust to the nine pillars of growth areas, namely Broadband Highways, Universal Access to Mobile Connectivity and Public Internet Access Programme, among others.
The Digital India programme is based on the following pillars:
- Broadband Highways2
Under this programme, high – speed broadband coverage highways will connect 250,000 villages, various government departments, universities, etc. In addition, National Information Infrastructure (NII) will ensure the integration of the network and cloud infrastructure within the country to provide high-speed connectivity to various government departments. These components include networks such as State Wide Area Network (SWAN), National Knowledge Network (NKN), National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN), Government User Network (GUN) and the MeghRaj Cloud.
- Universal access to Mobile Connectivity3
Today, there exist around 55,619 villages in India that have no mobile coverage. To cover remote villages in the northeast, a comprehensive development plan has been initiated that will be carried out in phases.
- Public Internet Access Programme4
The underlying principle of this initiative is to make 250,000 Common Service Centres (CSCs) operational at the gram Panchayat level for delivery of government services. In a similar move, 150,000 post offices will be converted into multi-service centres.
- E-governance: Reforming government through technology5
The idea is to use business process re-engineering to transform government processes and make them simple, automated and efficient. Under this, forms will be simplified and only minimum and necessary information will be collected. Similarly, there will be a tracking process for the status of online applications. To further simplify the process, use of online repositories for certificates, educational degrees, identity documents will be encouraged so that these documents do not have to be submitted in the physical form.
- Ekranti - Electronic Delivery of Services6
This pillar emphasises on the use of technology for service delivery such as e-education, e-healthcare, technology for planning, final inclusion etc.
- Information for all7
This is to provide open access to government information and documents available online. This will enable a two – way communication between the citizens and the government through online platforms and social media. The biggest success story is MyGov.in, a platform for citizen engagement in governance, which was launched by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 26th July 2014 as a medium to exchange ideas or suggestions with the government.
- Electronics manufacturing8
Under this programme, the target is to reach net zero imports by 2020 through implementation in areas such as taxation, economies of scale, skill development, government procurement etc.
- IT for jobs9
This step will provide the required skills and training to enable youth to find jobs in the IT/ITes sector. This component also emphasises on the setting up of BPOs to enable ICT-enabled growth.
- Early harvest programmes10
These early harvest programmes consist of a range of projects to be carried out within a short timeline. This includes an IT platform for messages, e-greetings from the government, biometric attendance and Wi-Fi in all universities etc.
Vision of Digital India11
The Digital India vision provides the intensified impetus for further momentum and progress for e-Governance and would promote inclusive growth that covers electronic services, products, devices, manufacturing and job opportunities.
- Governance and Services on demand
Digital India aims to create a seamless ecosystem across multiple government departments to make services available on both online and mobile platforms. As part of the initiative, financial transactions would be made cashless and entitlements would be available on the cloud.12
- Digital empowerment of citizens
This programme will provide universal digital literacy to enable citizens to use the digital platform. The government services can be accessed in local languages to help users participate in the new governance mechanism. Since technology is the key driver in India’s economic growth, it will spur growth in areas of governance and service delivery.
Successes of Digital India13
- E-Pathshala: Transforming Learning through Technology
The Ministry of Human Resource Development introduced the e-Pathshala programme to promote ‘learning on the go’ among students, teachers and parents. Through this initiative, free access to NCERT books is available to students of classes 1 to 12. These books are available in both Hindi and English.14
- eBiz platform
The initiative, driven by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), seeks to provide comprehensive Government-to-Business (G2B) services to business entities with transparency, speed, and certainty. The aim is to reduce several levels of points of contact between business entities and government agencies, establish single-window services and reduce the burden of compliances.15
- My Gov platform
This is a platform for citizens to exchange ideas and suggestions with the government. Through this initiative, the government receives feedback, inputs and ideas from people regarding policy decisions and new initiatives like Digital India, Swachh Bharat, Make in India, among others.16
- Jeevan Praman
The Jeevan Praman programme enables pensioners to conveniently submit their life certificates online through this portal. The certificates are stored in the Life Certificate Repository and available to pensioners and Pension Disbursing agencies.17
- Digital Locker System
DigiLocker is a key initiative under Digital India. This programme is targeted at paperless governance and is a platform for issuance and verification of documents and certificates digitally. A dedicated cloud storage space is given to all those who register for the Digital Locker account. To make it an easy process, this storage is linked to their Aadhar (UIDAI) number. Organisations that are registered with Digital Locker can push electronic copies of documents and certificates (e.g. driving license, Voter ID, School certificates) directly into the citizens’ lockers. As per the official website, there are 39, 64, 008 registered users and 50,47,204 uploaded documents.18
Digital India has been introduced to ensure smooth implementation of e – governance in the country and transform the entire ecosystem of public services through the use of information technology. There is no better way to promote inclusive growth other than through the empowerment of citizens.