The Narendra Modi government embarked on an ambitious programme to bridge India’s digital divide, connect thousands of villages to the Internet and create millions of jobs. Digital India is aimed at transforming the country into a digitally empowered society and a knowledge economy.
While a broader dimension to e-governance was imparted in the mid-90s, the Modi government realised their inadequacy and loopholes in implementation and launched the programme in order to transform the entire ecosystem of public services through the use of information and technology. The Digital India programme is, therefore, a campaign cutting across ministries and realms and is in continuum with several other initiatives such as Skill India.
“We have to move from e-governance to m-governance. m-governance does not mean Modi governance. It means mobile governance,” Prime Minister Modi had said at the launch of the initiative on July 1, last year. However, critics say progress on rolling out infrastructure has been slow and Digital India scored poorly in a survey initiated by the Centre on the citizen engagement platform MyGov.in.
The programme is centred around three key areas: digital infrastructure for all the citizens of India; emphasis on taking governance to people digitally and providing services online; and the overall digital empowerment of the people.
Meanwhile, on May 26, Intel India announced three innovative initiatives to strengthen its support for the PM’s dream programme. It launched three projects designed to accelerate digital literacy at the grassroots level by reaching out to the population in non-urban India, improve skills of citizens in tier two cities and beyond and encourage innovation from the local level.
One of the success stories from the government’s side has been the creation of the umbrella digital platform “MyGov”. It was designed to become an interface between the people and the government. The platform shot to success in the field of ongoing formulation of the New Education Policy heralded by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), which went for public consultations across India to shape the policy. Through MyGov, 1.5 lakh panchayats were able to interact with the MHRD.
HIGH SPEED INTERNET
The Modi regime plans to take high-speed Internet to 2.5 lakh villages- one in every panchayat- by March 2017 by laying a network of optic fibre cables, and 1.5 lakh post offices in the next two years. These post offices are to become Multi-Service Centres for people. Several services would be delivered online, through e-governance, via payment gateways and mobile platforms. Such things as school/college certificates, voter ID cards etc would be provided online.
Analysts though say merely laying cables will not ensure that they will be used while pointing out that communications and content, not empty pipes, drive network usage.
The government aims to train nearly 1 crore students from small towns and villages for the IT sector by 2020, along with strengthening BPOs in northeastern states. Through ‘e-Kranti’ such services as in the realm of health, education, farmers, justice, security and financial inclusion would be provided. Under the initiative WiFi facilities would be set up in all varsities across India. Aadhaar Enabled Biometric Attendance System has already been set up in all central government offices, though to the chagrin of many a babu in Delhi.
Source: India Today