Ꭰigital India is an initiative launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 2nd July, 2015 with the aim to connect rural areas with high speed internet networks and improving digital literacy. Digital India comprises various initiatives under the single programme, each targeted to prepare India for becoming a knowledge economy and for bringing good governance to citizens through synchronised and coordinated engagement of the entire government,
This programme has been envisaged and coordinated by the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (Deity) in collaboration with various Central Ministries/Departments and State Governments. The Prime Minister as the Chairman of Monitoring Committee on Digital India monitors activities under the Digital India initiative. All the existing and ongoing e-Governance initiatives have been revamped to align them with the principles of Digital India. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak indirectly helped in enhancing centre’s vision of Digital India, as many service providers, including banks and telecom operators have significantly reduced their offline operations and are asking their customers to embrace the digital form for any assistance.
The COVID-19 pandemic has played as a catalyst in the growth of digital payment platforms in India, with more number of people adopting e-transaction modes. In fact, companies have witnessed addition of a high number of new users of digital payment gateways during this time.
Steps Towards Digital India
There are certain services associated with Digital India Programme. These include
• Digital Locker
It is a facility that will help citizens to digitally store their important documents like Pan card, passport, marksheets and degree certificates, Digital locker will provide secure access to government issued documents.
A platform to share inputs and ideas on matters of policy and governance. It is a platform for citizen engagement in governance, through a ‘Discuss’, ‘Do’ and ‘Disseminate approach.
• Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM)
Mobile app It is being used by people and government organisations for achieving the goals of Swachh Bharat Mission. e-sign framework allows citizens to digitally sign a document online using Aadhaar authentication.
The application provides important services such as appointment, online diagnostic reports, enquiring availability of blood online etc.
• National Scholarship Portal
It is a one-step solution for end to end scholarship process right from submission of student application, verification, sanction and disbursal to end beneficiary for all the scholarships provided by the Government of India.
It is a mechanism to contact citizens electronically, sending informational and public service messages via e-mails, SMS and outbound dialing
• Digital India Platform (Deity)
Deity has undertaken an initiative namely Digitise India Platform (DIP) for large scale digitisation of records in the country that would facilitate efficient delivery of services to the citizens. Policy initiatives have also been undertaken (by Deity) in the e-Governance domain like e-Kranti Framework, Policy on Adoption of Open Source Software for Government of India, Framework for Adoption of Open Source Software in e-Governance Systems etc.
• Bharat Net
Another initiative taken in this regard includes Bharat Net, a high speed digital highway to connect all 2.5 lakh Gram Panchayats of the country. BSNL has introduced Next Generation Network (NGN) which is an IP based technology to manage all types of services like voice, data, multimedia/ video and other types of packet switched communication services.
• BPO Policy
This policy has been approved to create BPO centres in different North-Eastern states and also in smaller towns of other states. Electronics Development Fund (EDF) Policy aims to promote Innovation, R and D and Product Development to create a self-sustaining eco-system of Venture Funds.
• National Centre for Flexible Electronics
(NCFlexE) is an initiative of Government of India to promote research and innovation in the emerging area of Flexible Electronics.
• National Agriculture Market (NAM)
It a Pan-India electronic trading portal which networks the APMC mandis to create a unified national market for agricultural commodities.
• International Support
In the month of April 2019, Google provided free Wiat 500th station in India, one of the largest public Wi-Fi networks in the world. Microsoft also provides broadband connectivity to five hundred thousan villages in India and make India its cloud hub through Indian data centres. The programme has been favoured by multiple countries including the US, Japan, South Korea, the UK, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, Uzbekistar and Vietnam.
Inspired by the developments of a Digital India, taking a step further, the Andhra Pradesh government has launched the first paperless digital cabinet, known as e-cabinet, in India. The ministers can access the entire agenda of cabinet meetings via an application.
It is an initiative by Google in collaboration with the Indian School of Business and Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology to promote digital awareness and to help small scale businesses t go digital.
• Social Endeavour for Health and Telemedicine (SEHAT)
It is a health initiative in India launched by the government to offer telemedicine in rural areas where people can consult doctors online and order telemedicines.
Achievements of Digitalisation Initiatives
One of the most successful outcomes of the ‘Digital India’ initiative has been the runaway success of Jandhan-Aadhaar-Mobile (JAM) initiative, which has provided a digital identity to more than a billion Indian citizens as well as access to the banking system to millions of Indians who were earlier excluded from the formal economy. The government’s Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) scheme now caters to around 350 million Indians liberating them from bureaucratic impediments, while ensuring that process leakages are a thing of the past.
Following the success of DBT initiative, efforts are underway to provide more public services online, in an ‘anytime, anywhere’ mode, thus, converting the ubiquitous mobile phone into an instrument of economic and social empowerment as well as access to livelihoods and information.
In the realm of digital literacy, the government’s Pradhan Mantri Gramin Digital Saksharta Abhiyan (PMGDISHA) has ambitions of making 60 million Indians digitally literate and it is anticipated that this programme will attain greater traction in the days ahead.
Challenges to Achieving Complete Digitalisation
Though, the achievements of the programme have been commendable, continues to face multiple challenges in successful implementation due to lack of clarity in policies and infrastructural bottlenecks.
The major challenge faced by Digital India are
The issues pertaining to taxation and other regulatory guidelines have proved to be roadblocks in advancing with the programme. Some of the common policy hurdles include lack of clarity in FDI policies, which have impacted the growth of e-commerce.
A study has observed that for Digital India to have a large scale impact on citizens across the nation, the digital divide needs to be addressed through last mile connectivity in remote rural areas, as currently, over 55,000 villages remain deprived of mobile connectivity. This is largely due to fact that providing mobile connectivity in such locations is not commercially viable for service providers.
Various reports have estimated that India needs over 80 lakh hotspots as against the availability of about 31,000 hotspots at present to reach global level of one wi-fi hotspot penetration for every 150 people. Fear of cybercrime and breach of privacy has been a deterrent in adoption of digital technologies. Most of the technology including cyber security tools is imported from countries such as China. There is no sufficient skill to inspect for hidden malwares. India needs 1 million trained cyber security professionals by 2025. The current estimated number is 62000.
governments The technological revolution in India has benefitted the already privileged class of Indians. It is also difficult to scale up initiatives involve all Indians, as fundamental attitudinal and institutional change is still an issue. The must find solutions for the specific political-social context of the nation and technology must be accompanied by significant changes in policy and institutions in order to have meaningful impact.
wheels of India’s economy during this crisis situation. This shift is bound to drive The Digital India Movement is a giant technological leap which is lubricating the India’s digital mission. Remote working and e-services have become the new norm This digital transformation will further aid in fulfilling India’s Digital Mission. The programme will generate huge number of IT, Telecom and Electronics jobs, both directly and indirectly. Success of this programme will make India Digitally empowered and the leader in usage of IT for the delivery of services related to various domains such of health, education, agriculture, banking etc.
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