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30 January 2016 K2_CATEGORY IAS Blog

Digital India

INTRODUCTION

Digital India is an umbrella programme that covers multiple Government Ministries and Departments. It weaves together a large number of ideas and thoughts into a single, comprehensive vision so that each of them can be implemented as part of a larger goal. Each individual element stands on its own, but is also part of the entire Government. Digital India is implemented by the entire Government and being coordinated by the Department of Electronics & Information Technology (DeitY).

The vision of Digital India is centered on three key areas-

Infrastructure as a Utility to Every Citizen

  • High speed internet as a core utility shall be made available in all Gram Panchayats.
  • Cradle to grave digital identity - unique, lifelong, online and authenticable.
  • Mobile phone and Bank account would enable participation in digital and financial space at individual level.
  • Easy access to a Common Service Centre within their locality.
  • Shareable private space on a public Cloud.
  • Safe and secure Cyber-space in the country.

Governance and Services on Demand

  • Seamlessly integrated across departments or jurisdictions to provide easy and a single window access to all persons.
  • Government services available in real time from online and mobile platforms.
  • All citizen entitlements to be available on the Cloud to ensure easy access.
  • Government services digitally transformed for improving Ease of Doing Business.
  • Making financial transactions above a threshold, electronic and cashless.
  • 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 aims to provide the much needed thrust to the following nine pillars of growth areas as summarised below:

Broadband Highways - This covers three sub components

  • Broadband for All Rural
  • Broadband for All Urban
  • National Information Infrastructure.

Universal Access to Mobile Connectivity - The initiative is to focus on network penetration and fill the gaps in connectivity in the country.

Public Internet Access Programme - The two sub components of Public Internet Access Programme are-

  • Common Service Centres
  • Post Offices as multi-service centres.

e-Governance – Reforming Government through Technology - Government Business Process Re-engineering using IT to improve transactions is the most critical for transformation across government and therefore needs to be implemented by all ministries/ departments.

The guiding principles for reforming government through technology are:

  • Form simplification and field reduction – Forms should be made simple and user friendly and only minimum and necessary information should be collected.
  • Online applications, tracking of their status and interface between departments should be provided.
  • Use of online repositories e.g. school certificates, voter ID cards, etc. should be mandated so that citizens are not required to submit these documents in physical form.
  • Integration of services and platforms, e.g. UIDAI, Payment Gateway, Mobile Platform, Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) etc. should be mandated to facilitate integrated and interoperable service delivery to citizens and businesses.

Other aspects of e-Governance include:

  • Electronic Databases – all databases and information should be electronic and not manual.
  • Workflow Automation Inside Government – The workflow inside government departments and agencies should be automated to enable efficient government processes and also to allow visibility of these processes to the citizens.
  • Public Grievance Redressal - IT should be used to automate, respond and analyze data to identify and resolve persistent problems. These would be largely process improvements.

e-Kranti (NeGP 2.0) – Electronic delivery of services- Some of the Mission Mode added to e-Kranti by the Apex Committee on National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) headed by the Cabinet Secretary are:

  • Technology for Education – e-Education - All Schools will be connected with broadband.  Free wifi will be provided in all secondary and higher secondary schools (coverage would be around 250,000 schools). A programme on digital literacy would be taken up at the national level. MOOCs –Massive Online Open Courses shall be developed and leveraged for e-Education.
  • Technology for Health – e-Healthcare - E-Healthcare would cover online medical consultation, online medical records, online medicine supply, pan-India exchange for patient information. Pilots shall be undertaken in 2015 and full coverage would be provided in 3 years.
  • Technology for Farmers - This would facilitate farmers to get real time price information, online ordering of inputs and online cash, loan and relief payment with mobile banking.
  • Technology for Security - Mobile based emergency services and disaster related services would be provided to citizens on real time basis so as to take precautionary measures well in time and minimize loss of lives and properties.
  • Technology for Financial Inclusion - Financial Inclusion shall be strengthened using Mobile Banking, Micro-ATM program and CSCs/ Post Offices.
  • Technology for Justice - Interoperable Criminal Justice System shall be strengthened by leveraging e-Courts, e-Police, e-Jails and e-Prosecution.
  • Technology for Planning - National GIS Mission Mode Project would be implemented to facilitate GIS based decision making for project planning, conceptualization, design and development. 
  • Technology for Cyber Security - National Cyber Security Co-ordination Center would be set up to ensure safe and secure cyber-space within the country.

Information for All-  Open Data platform and online hosting of information & documents would facilitate open and easy access to information for citizens. Government shall pro-actively engage through social media and web based platforms to inform citizens. MyGov.in has already been launched as a medium to exchange ideas/ suggestions with Government. It will facilitate 2-waycommunication between citizens and government. Online messaging to citizens on special occasions/programs would be facilitated through emails and SMSes. 

Electronics Manufacturing – Target NET ZERO Imports

 IT for Jobs - 1 Cr students from smaller towns & villages will be trained for IT sector jobs over 5 years. DeitY would be the nodal department for this scheme.  BPOs would be set up in every north-eastern state to facilitate ICT enabled growth in these state· 3 lakh service delivery agents would be trained as part of skill development to run viable businesses delivering IT services.

 Early Harvest Programmes-  These programmes include the following aspects: 

  • IT Platform for Messages
  • Government Greetings to be e-Greetings
  • Biometric attendance
  • Wi-Fi in All Universities
  • Secure Email within Government
  • Standardize Government Email Design
  • Public Wi-fi hotspots
  • School Books to be eBooks
  • SMS based weather information, disaster alerts
  • National Portal for Lost & Found children

Program Management Structure:

A programme management structure would be established for monitoring implementation. Key components of the management structure would consist of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) for according approval to projects, a Monitoring Committee headed by the Prime Minister, a Digital India Advisory Group chaired by the Minister of Communications and IT, an Apex Committee chaired by the Cabinet Secretary and the Expenditure Finance Committee (EFC) / Committee on Non Plan Expenditure (CNE).

Recent Developments (Jan 2015):

  • Facebook has partnered with the state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) for setting up 100 wi-fi (Wireless Fidelity) sites in rural India. The partnership is inked for three years with a possibility of extension for two more years.
  • Kerala has become the first state to be declared as totally digital state.
  • The Digital Saksharta Abhiyan (DISHA) mission has been launched to provide digital literacy to non IT literate citizens.