In recent times, India has made a lot of progress in all sectors. The government has also gifted the people numerous reforms and scheme, which will help the nation and the countrymen to realize their dreams and aspiration for a better future. Most of the schemes, associated with the development and progress of the nation have already been implemented. Keeping in track with the developmental activities, which are taking place in the other developing nations, the Indian Government has also understood the importance of digitization and bringing all areas under it. Thus, they are leaving no stone unturned to bring about the changes in the nation too.
But there is one sector that has been neglected for a long time. It is the digitization and the spread of the usage of internet in more aspects of the life of common people and also the governmental activities. To enhance the usage of digital power in all spheres of the government, Pradhan Mantri Narendra Modi has Announced the Digital India Scheme.
About Digital India Movement
The Digital India movement will assist the government in preparing the country and the people for knowledge future. With the implementation and spread of the projects, highlighted under the Digital India scheme, the government of the nation will be able to prepare a strong base for digitally empowering the society. The program will also help in creating a knowledge economy. In the program, the government has stressed the importance of transferring the government into e-government. The Digital India initiative will assist the government in offering smooth, coordinated and synchronized connections with both the state and the central governments. It will also assist in transferring the knowledge base and support the dream of good and effective governance. Under this scheme, the government is trying to expand the reach and use of digital platforms by one and all.
Earlier efforts for e-Governance
Initiatives were taken earlier to set up the e-governance in the country. Under the Congress government, in the year 2006, the much hyped National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) was launched. The program was supposed to cover various domains and thus, the 31 Mission Mode Projects was also initiated. Even though the program was successful in some parts but it was not fully successful in creating the foundation for e-government.
Launch Details & Cost of the Project
The ambitious e-government project was launched by the Prime Minister of India, Mr. Narendra Modi. He announced the start of the project on the 1st of July, 2015. When it was launched, it was called an ambitious project due to the massive amount of funds required to bring all corners of the country under digitization. According to government estimates, the whole project would cost nothing less than 1,13,000 crores rupees. This huge sum of money will be provided by the specific allotments, as laid down in the budget. The departments of the central government, responsible for the implementation of the projects, will be in charge of handling the money.
Departments Responsible for the Project
The main responsibility of properly implementing and overseeing all aspects of the Digital India program is placed on the shoulders of the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY). This central government department, along with the assistance of the IT and Communication Ministry, Human Resource Development Ministry, and the Rural Development Ministry will be responsible for making the scheme a success. These departments will coordinate their activities and implement the entire scheme in phases. According to the guidelines of the Digital India scheme, the entire projects were finished in the year 2018.
Main Components of the Digital India Project
The three main components of the Digital India program are as follows:
- With the creation and proper implementation of an infrastructure that is based on digitization, the Digital India scheme will not be successful. Thus, the central government departments, associated with the project are keen on developing the digital infrastructure throughout the nation.
- The delivery system, associated with various services is also an important part of the Digital India program. With the development of the delivery of various services by digital modes, the desired success will not be achieved. So, implementing proper channels for increasing the effectivity of digital delivery services is a must.
- Last but not least; the government is putting a lot of stress on imparting digital education to the common people. If the people do not have the knowledge or the resources for using the boons of digitization, the entire scheme will be a failure. So, the need of spreading digital literacy is a must.
Main Key Features Of the Digital India Scheme
The entire project has been divided into nine separate pillars. It will help the government departments in keeping a track of the task that has already been completed and those that need to be taken care of. With close coordination between all the departments and the implementation of the nine pillars, the government will be able to achieve the desired success. The nice pillars of the scheme are as follows:
1. Creation of the Broadband Highways is the first aspect that the government needs to tackle. Under this aim, all the rural, as well as the urban areas, will be brought under digitization. The implementation of nationwide information infrastructure will also be set up. The entire process will be looked after by DeitY.
2. Access to cellphone connectivity for every citizen is the second pillar of the project. According to the survey reports, there are nearly 44,000 villages, which are still devoid of the benefits of mobile connection coverage. The government will set up mobile connection towers in all these areas to bring them under the digital connectivity grid.
3. Under this scheme, the government is trying to make the post offices multi-service centers. It will assist the government in increasing the access of people to the internet. Each panchayat will be provided with a separate CSC for better internet connectivity.
4. The aim of e-Governance has always been the central agenda of the government, behind the implementation of the Digital India program. With the help of e-government, the people will be able to connect to the various departments with ease. All with be monitored by the UIDAI. The digital service delivery will also be enhanced.
5. E-Kranti is another important aspect of the Digital India movement. Under the e-Kranti, the government all services to the people via digital platforms. Be it education, justice, agriculture or health, all aspects will be properly addressed with the help of the digital platforms.
6. Enhancing the scope of global information is also an important part of the program. The central government will try to bring all the data and make it available to the people. This will be done by incorporating the web platforms and the social media channel. Online data hosting will be a part of the endeavor.
7. For the successful implementation of the Digital India movement, the government will have to make sure that all people have access to gadgets. The list will include, computers, set-top boxes, cell phones, VSAT, micro ATMs, smart cards, and medical electronics. The government needs to develop the industries, associated with the manufacture of these gadgets.
8. Training more and more youngsters and making them fit for the IT industry is another important aspect of the Digital India movement. Under the scheme, the central and the state government will train around one crore youngsters. These people will be chosen from the rural areas. Once the rural folks are included in the digitization process, the scheme will be a success.
9. Apart from these, the government is also taking steps in order to provide free Wi-Fi in all the universities in the country, for the betterment of the students. The government will also bring about up-gradations in the email services in all government offices. The mail platform design will be uniform.
Methodology & Approach of the Digital India Scheme
The following points will assist one in understanding the methods and approaches that the government has and will take for the successful implementation of the project:
- All the ministries and the state governments will be properly guided by DeitY. The department will be in charge of highlighting the rules and regulations, associated with the project. DeitY will also provide technical guidance and hold regular research and development for the development and implementation of the scheme.
- Many changes must be made in the e-government structure so that it conforms to the guidelines of the Digital India movement. Cloud technology, scope enhancement, interoperable schemes and deployment, Process Reengineering are some of the associated schemes.
- Apart from the schemes, which are implemented by the Central government, the state governments of each region will be given the chance to make some changes or implement some schemes, which will be beneficial to that particular state.
- If one scheme is successful in one area then it will be taken up and implemented in another area for getting the same effects. But the schemes will be changed as per requirement for ensuring 100% success.
- The government will also include the private establishments for the proper implementation of the Digital India scheme. These private organizations will be asked to provide the government with proper strategies for managing the movement.
- Only the implementation of the Digital India movement is not enough. The government also needs to take the necessary steps to ensure that the system is airtight. For this, the interdiction of Unique ID codes is a must. With the help of these ID codes, the government will be able to keep track of the activities and also ensure authentication.
- Last but not least; the government will create a post of the Chief Information Officer in around 10 central government departments, associated with the Digital India program. The main task of the CIOs will be to coordinate and oversee the entire operation.
Services Offered Under the Digital India Program
As it has already been mentioned, the implementation of the Digital India movement will assist in bringing all parts of the nation under a unified digital platform. Under the movement, the following services have been offered to the common people of the country:
- DigiLocker: After the implementation of the DigiLocker Program, the common people did not have to worry about the storage and the security of all government issued documents. The unlocking code will be linked to the Aadhar card and only the rightful owner of the card will have access to the documents. The system was developed to eliminate the need for a hardcopy of the documents.
- Attendance.gov.in: Keeping an attendance sheet and marking it manually is a thing of the past. With the implementation of the Attendance.gov.in portal, keeping a track of the attendance sheet of the government service employees became very easy. The website will assist in keeping a track of attendance in real time. The program works on the Biometric Attendance System.
- MyGov.in: The BJP government has always maintained that they need to be connected with the people. This is the only way for them to understand the needs, demands, and grievances of the common people. With the implementation of the MyGov.in the website, the people will be able to send their inputs on various government decisions, directly to the department.
- SBM Mobile application: This application was mainly designed for mobile phones so that the government and the people can keep a close tab on the progress of the mission of cleaning the nation and making it a cleaner area.
- e-Sign framework: There are many documents, which need to be signed by the person. But with the implementation of the online documentation, the signing was a bit of a problem. With the implementation of the e-Sign service, the person will get the opportunity of signing the online documents just by making use of the Aadhar code.
- e-Hospital: Getting the appointment at the government hospitals used to be a major issue, owing to the long queues. But with the implementation of the e-Hospital application, the patients or the patient party will be to check the schedule and book an appointment with the doctor, without leaving the home. All they need is the proper application and the Aadhar code.
- National Scholarship Portal: The government provides monetary grants to deserving students. These grants are given so that they can chase their dreams of attaining higher education. But the process of application, verification, scrutiny, and sanction used to be time consuming. With the implementation of the National Scholarship website, the entire process has been made simple. All the necessary steps can now be tackled online.
- E-Sampark: With the help of this application, the common citizens will be provided with all the necessary civil details. The information will be sent to them either via SMS or through e-mail. It will make matters very easy.
Digital India Week
After the official launch of the scheme, the Prime Minister sent out an invitation to all the big IT companies in the nation. Even the giant IT corporates took part in the endeavors. All these establishments together decided to pool in a whopping ₹224.5 lakh crore for the proper implementation of the program. Qualcomm commented that the company will provide US$150 million in the project. Mark Zuckerberg showed his support towards the project by changing his profile picture with the Digital India logo. The higher authorities of the internet giant Google said that they will provide the needed assistance to set up broadband services in around 500 railway platforms. On the other hand, the software giant Microsoft said that they will also play their part in making the project a success. The company will be assisting the Indian government by setting up internet connectivity in around 500, 000 villages. Oracle also said that they will be helping the government by granting a monetary grant in 20 different states.
The Vision of Digital India
In the Election Manifesto of the BJP party, it was clearly highlighted that if they were given the chance, they will implement the Digital India movement with full force, for the development of the country. With the development of the digitization in the country, the government wants to present India as a Global Hub of information technology. The government wants to make the IT sector the main backbone of the nation. With the assistance of IT sectors, the government will be able to bring about equality and empowerment for all sections of society.
Though there is a lot of research that needs to be done to understand the proper difficulties and benefits of the scheme, the government and the IT sectors are doing their best to implement the program as soon as possible. The government is holding regular meetings with various departments, associated with the scheme to understand the changes, which must be made. A project as big as this must be monitored at all steps for ensuring its success