I am sure all the persons reading this must have waited in a queue either in a Government Office or any public service offices. The modern generation children whose parents belong to remote villages hesitate to go there on vacation due to the unavailability of Internet connection or play the latest play station games. Many people feel hesitant about the governance today as it is being not modern and everyone who wants to apply for anything in government offices have to go there in person.
Voila!! Here comes the savior from Government of India (GoI) – Digital India – A programme to transform India into digital empowered society and knowledge economy.
What is Digital India Programme ?
Digital India is an initiative of Government of India to integrate the government departments and the people of India. It aims at ensuring the government services are made available to citizens electronically by reducing paperwork. The initiative also includes plan to connect rural areas with high-speed internet networks. The scheme will be monitored and controlled by the Digital India Advisory group which will be chaired by the Ministry of Communications and IT.
Digital India has three core components. These include the
- Creation of digital infrastructure
- Delivering services digitally
- Digital literacy
Governance and services on demand will stress on integrating services across departments and jurisdictions and making services available in real time for both online and mobile platform. Digital empowerment of citizens will pay emphasis on universal digital literacy and availability of digital resources/services in Indian languages.
Digital India: VISION
Infrastructure as a utility to every citizen:
High speed internet shall be made available in all gram panchayats; Cradle to grave digital identity; Mobile and Bank account would enable participation in digital and financial space at individual level; Easy access to common service centre within their locality; Shareable private space on a public cloud; and Safe and secure cyber space in the country.
Governance and Services on Demand:
Single window access to all persons by seamlessly integrating departments or jurisdictions; availability of government services in online and mobile platforms; All citizen entitlements to be available on the Cloud to ensure easy access; Government services to be digitally transformed for improving ease of doing business; Making financial transactions above a threshold, electronic and cashless; and Leveraging GIS for decision support systems and development.
Digital empowerment of citizens:
Universal digital literacy; All digital resources universally accessible; All government documents/certificates to be available on the Cloud; Availability of digital resources/services in Indian languages; Collaborative digital platforms for participative governance; Portability of all entitlements for individuals through the cloud.
Digital India : 9 Pillars
Universal Access to mobile connectivity
Public internet Access
E – Governance
E – Kranti
IT training for jobs
Early Harvest Programmes
Broadband Highways include laying of National Optical Fiber Network in all 2.5 lakh gram panchayats in the country in a phased manner. Ensuring mobile access in around 44,000 uncovered villages in the country and government is taking steps to ensure that all villages are covered through mobile connectivity by 2018. Even 1.5 lakh post offices to be converted to be converted to a multi-service centres in 2 years.
Business process re-engineering will be undertaken to improve processes and service delivery. Services will be integrated with UIDAI, payment gateway and mobile platform. Even public grievance redressal will be automated end to end. e-Kranti focuses on electronic delivery of services whether it is education, health, agriculture, justice and financial inclusion. In education, the focus is on digital literacy program and MOOC (massive online open courses) and installing free Wi-Fi in 250,000 schools. In healthcare, the government is stressing on online consultation, medical records, medicine supply and pan India exchange for patient information, pilots by 2015 and full coverage in 3 years. Farmers will get real time price information, online cash loan and relief payment with mobile banking.
The focus will be on online hosting of data and proactive engagement through social media and web based platforms like MyGov. The government is planning to train one crore students from small towns and villages for IT sector. Plans are also to train 300,000 service delvery agents in 2 years to run viable businesses delivering IT services and telecom service providers to train 500,000 rural workforces in 5 years.
The government is planning to deploy Aadhaar Enabled Biometric Attendance System in all central government offices located at Delhi. A web based application software system will enable online recording of attendance and its viewing by the concerned stakeholders.
A system of secured email is being established, to increase its usage within government system for 50 lakh employees by March, 2015. To provide Wi-Fi in all universities on NKN by December, 2015. All books will be e-books and SMS based weather information and disaster alerts. All cities with population of over one million and tourist centers to have public Wi-Fi hotspots. The national portal for missing children is accessed by various stakeholders such as MWCD, MHA, police, child care institutions, child welfare committee etc. The existing portal is being upgraded to include mobile application for reporting a missing child or searching a missing child, with a provision for email and SMS alerts and registration of volunteers/NGOs in helping the authorities in tracking the missing children.
E- Governance :
E-Governance is soon to be the modus operandi of the Government of India as stated, is one of the key factors in bringing Digital India a success factor. Partial E-Governance system is already prevailing in India through payment of taxes, bills through government gateway sites tends to be a useful one. Everything goes paperless in this method of digital method saving a lot a man power and papers proving an environmentally safe method. By trying to implement this method the Government proves to be eco-friendly in its nature and reducing the complications involved in the service sectors. The important thing is if you could get your certificates or necessary documents sitting in your home through online is sure a hex. Everyone is thinking of that day to arrive soon.
Content Localization and Digitization:
India has more internet users than English language speakers; as a result regional language keyboards are vital for deeper internet penetration. Local language content needs to get digitized. China has already successfully developed and standardized local language keyboards. Government can help by providing the standard templates for every language that can then be commercialized by using PPP model. Also many languages in India need to preserved for they are spoken by a little people and to be lost if they are not care of. India is a much diverse country when it comes to hoards of its languages present. So preserving it and digitizing it may be useful for the future and also the future generation children may be fascinated to learn the languages if they are promoted on an online learning basis.
e-Healthcare and e-Education:
Much of real India – Bharat – still lives in villages. Unfortunately, the past government’s average spent on healthcare and education so far has been 1% and 3%, respectively, of the GDP. As a result the basic health and education infrastructure is in a bad shape. The budget does a great job in recognizing the enormous opportunity that lies in improving healthcare and basic education access by using information technology. Use of telemedicine, virtual classrooms, Massive Open Online Courses and e-education can be the kick-starter to achieve size and scale to improve the primary healthcare network and basic education standards. Hospitals are needed to build in every nook and corner of the villages which doesn’t have one. The hospitals if digitized can lead our country to a healthy nation with reduced diseases. Also the knowledge of our ancestors can be shared with the others via digital fields to improve latest medicines against epidemic diseases.
Tie-Up with Organisations :
The implementation of Digital India cannot be possible in the meantime by 2018 if the Government does it alone. Government can use the help of organization such as Google Inc., Facebook and other organizations to help bringing broadband to almost every village in India. Facebook.com has recently launched Internet.org in India to ensure internet usage to people of village who haven’t yet used the internet along with Reliance on a free basis with certain restrictions. Google has already proposed its interest to work with the Government of India to bring the Digital India a near possible. Google has already been using balloons, drones, etc., to provide internet signals in the remote areas of the world. That technology can be used to provide access to the internet in places where optic cables cannot be laid.
There is a boom in the e-commerce sector already and India itself has around 4000 startups. There might be an increase in e-commerce sector and the startup facilities if the Digital India programme is launched perfectly. There may be new BPO’s starting up in villages if the broadband facilities are available and the internet centers can be a useful option for developing new job opportunities. It will boost the rural sectors and ethnic artists to promote their products via e-commerce sites, so that the fake products of such things may be avoided. A recent survey predicted around 5 crore jobs being produced new if the Digital India is a success.
Challenging Issues & Possible Solutions:
- There are only 12 % of internet users in India as of now. This has to be increased by educating the people about the uses of internet to achieve it within 2020.
- Another major threat is that many Indian villages don’t have power, so implementing broadband in those villages first needs power. Gov. has to take the necessary steps for that.
- Average Internet speed in India is still in the surge when compared to other internet using countries. So Gov. must act into that in increasing the speed so that everyone will be accessing the Internet with the necessary speed.
- Making public Wi-Fi hotspots is a brilliant move. But making it regular without any grievances’ is the trick to work efficiently there. Govt must think of better ways to keep it uninterrupted and free of hackers.
- People must be informed about various new policies of the Govt and their benefits have to reach the masses without any partiality. So making this is where the success relies.
- “Make in India” policy is being insisted by the Govt. So payment gateways such as “Rupay” must be popularized among the citizens by introducing it through various nationalized banks instead of other gateways. It will also be a boost to the economy.
Intel India had launched its program of “Digital Skills for India” last December, starting from the capital of the country. They had aimed to empower more than 5 million individuals with the skills to compete in the digital global world. Intel is committed towards our government’s vision of a #Digital India. Through its ‘Digital Skills for India’ and ‘Innovate for India’ initiatives, Intel has been fostering technology as the enabler for creating a digitized India.
Check them @ http://www.intel.in/
#DigitalIndia is sure to make our country on the uprise and digitalization is an indelible part of the development of our nation. Hope this article along with my views would have stirred the need to understand Digital India and make our contributions by supporting or helping in whatever ways we can.