India attained independence from the foreign rules close to seven decades back. But, still the internal independence is sought. Independence of expression and reaching out to the authorities appeared to be a distant dream until late but now after the initiative called Digital India it seems no dream is too big.
India, in the last two decades has seen a new dawn with the help of computers and technologies. The coming of e-mails and internet has saved a lot of time and paperwork, in many ways it is a good sign as it will not only reduce the work hours but also make better the quality of work done eradicating the human errors and lags.
Digital India is an initiative taken by the present Government of India to integrate the government departments and connect the people of India directly with all the departments to address the issues in a better way. It aims at ensuring that the government services are made available to citizens electronically by reducing paperwork and a lot of time. This initiative also includes plan to connect rural areas with high-speed internet networks. The project is scheduled for completion by 2019.
For the Digital India Initiative, a two-way platform is being developed which will be widely accessible by the service providers as well as the consumers, both shall be benefitted as the communication gap will be reduced. In the present scenario, the physical file movements, the paper work and the manual responses take a lot of time, but the Digital India Advisory group shall closely monitor and control the scheme. This advisory group is chaired by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology. It is proposed to be an inter-ministerial initiative where all ministries and departments shall offer their own services to the public. Healthcare, Education, Judicial services, public grievance and issues, Idea sharing etc. shall be accessible online. The Public-Private-Partnership model shall be adopted selectively. In addition, there are plans to restructure the National Informatics Centre. This project is one among the top priority projects under the Modi- Administration.
Digital India has three core components along with the initial features that will cover:
Forming a digital infrastructure
- Broadband Highways
- Public Internet Access
- Electronics Manufacturing – Target NET ZERO Imports
Delivering services digitally
- e-Kranti – Electronic delivery of Services
- Information for All
- Universal Access to Phones
- Programme e-Governance – Reforming Government through Technology
Status of Digital India and Related Initiatives
Digital India is in the progress mode till the month of November 2015. The Apex Committee is going to analyze its progress. Media reports have also indicated at development of policies for Digital India very soon. As the part of “Digital India” Indian government planned to launch Botnet cleaning centers. Government also launched a digital locker under the name “Digi Locker”. PM Modi appointed Ms. Kruti Tiwari, IIT-JEE Topper 2015, Indore Girl, as brand ambassador for Digital India on July 1’2015.
There are many projects supported by the Government that go along with the DI initiative. IT for Jobs and Early Harvest Programmes are promising for the future of India.
The Draft Internet of Things (IoT) Policy of India, which strengthens the internet- network will enable to connect better.
Biometric attendance : It will cover all Central Government offices in Delhi to begin with. Over 40,000 Government employees from 150 organisations have already registered on the common Bio-metric attendance portal at http://attendance.gov.in Over 1000 bio-metric attendance terminals are under installation at entry gates of various Central Government buildings which will be connected with Wi-Fi Access points and mobile connectivity. Government employees will be able to mark their attendance from any of the central Government offices in Delhi.
Wi-Fi in All Universities : All universities on the National Knowledge Network (NKN) shall be covered under this scheme. Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) is the nodal ministry for implementing this scheme.
Secure Email within Government : Email would be the primary mode of communication within the government bodies. The government e-mail infrastructure would be suitably enhanced and upgraded. Upgradation of the infrastructure under Phase-I for 10 lakh employees was completed. Under Phase-II, infrastructure was further upgraded to cover 50 lakh employees by March 2015 at a cost of Rs.98 Cr. DeitY is the nodal department for this scheme.
Early Harvest Programmes : EHPs are those projects which are to be implemented within short period and limited timeline. The projects under the Early Harvest Programme are as follows:
IT Platform for Messages : A mass messaging application has been developed by DeitY that will cover elected representatives and all Government employees. Over 1.36 crore mobiles and 22 lakh emails are part of the database. The portal was released on 15 August 2014. Data collection and data sanitization are ongoing processes.
Government e-Greetings : A basket of e-Greeting templates have been made available. Crowd sourcing of e-Greetings through the MyGov platform has been ensured. Crowd sourcing has also been used to create designs for Independence Day, Teachers’ Day and Gandhi Jayanti greetings. E-Greetings portal has been made live on 14 August 2014.
Challenges before Digital India:
Connecting close to 250000 villages: Bharat Broadband Network Limited, a Government of India entity, which executes the National Optical Fibre Network project will be the custodian of Digital India (DI) project. BBNL has initiated to connect 250,000 villages through GPON to ensure FTTH based broadband with the help of United Telecoms Limited. This networking is expected to be completed by 2017, this will provide the first basic setup to achieve towards DI.
At many remote villages the basic amenities and electricity is yet to reach. Also at many places load shading is a major concern so working towards a 24 hours power – supply is also a big concern.
However, the problems, the challenges and the deficiencies in the Indian legal structure remain the same causing a lot of setbacks but, this too shall be addressed.
Benefits of Digital India
It is a giant leap forward to transform the country into a digitally empowered knowledge economy. The GoI has never ever in the past allowed a user friendly interface to reach out to the concerned authorities directly so this initiative has been welcomed by the people from all walks.
- DI will help in leveraging India’s globally acclaimed IT competence for the benefit of close to 130 Crore Indians.
- It will help in controlling corruption, getting things done quickly and will help to reduce paper work.
- Some of the facilities which would be available through this initiative are Digital Locker, e-education, e-health, Digital Signature and a national scholarship portal.
- Digital India will help the common people to get a better access and insight into the administrative system.
Moreover it shall generate a lot of employment opportunities enabling the youth to select from a range of options available in the coming future. Of all the segments of people in the society that youth shall be benefitted the most as they will have the power to change the 70 years old nation’s policies and trends by connecting directly to the concerned and proposing the fresh ideas to transform India for the benefit of all.
How Digital India will help empower the Youth :
- This will give the rural youth more opportunities to interact with people from different walks of life and evolve better as an individual.
- Digital India will empower youth to know the government and its various departments better and to analyze the loops and strength unguided by political issues.
- The user friendly interface will connect more people to technology and the platform will act as a thought-pool. The agro-based youth will also be able to gather more knowledge about the policies of the government and be benefitted by the same.
- More openings in the IT sector and more customer oriented openings for youngsters will be made available as the older generations are not yet tech friendly as the youth is.
- The youngsters will be able to connect directly with the government departments just at a click of mouse or may be a press of a button.
- The middlemen will be eradicated and thus ideas and complaints will reach the higher officials directly in much lesser time and the matters will be resolved and addressed by the right people at the right time.
- With the coming of start-up venture supports, the youngsters will get a chance to demonstrate their enterprising skills with the help of venture capital provided to them.
- Research and training based projects will help youngsters to learn better and the digital platform will connect a wider talent pool to discuss and exchange ideas and innovative solutions.
- The online mode of education will gain new dimensions and the rural youth which by far has no access or limited access to the various courses available, will be having a better learning experience.
- Last but not the least, E-commerce is better understood and utilized by the youth. In the past decade we have seen n number of business portals doing really well, enabling the goods being delivered at the doorsteps without much hassle and the same shall gain new horizons with more and more self employed people and e commerce sites coming in the Indian market allowing a higher income to the deserving.