By Piyush Jain, Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Punjab.

Digital India, a flagship programme of the Government of India, aims to “transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy”. The Digital India programme is transformational in nature and would ensure that Government services are available to citizens electronically. It would also bring in public accountability through the mandated delivery of government’s services electronically; a Unique ID and e-Pramaan based on authentic and standard based interoperable and integrated government applications and data basis. The programme will be implemented in phases from the current year till 2018.

Inaugurating the ‘Digital India’ week in New Delhi in the presence of senior ministerial colleagues, industry chiefs and CEOs of several global companies, our Prime Minister, Mr Narendra Modi said: “We have to move from E-governance to M-governance. M-governance does not mean Modi governance. It means Mobile governance.”

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The vision of this initiative is centered on three key areas:

  1. Digital infrastructure as Utility to Every Citizen
  2. Governance and services on demand
  3. Digital empowerment of citizens

Digital Infrastructure as Utility to Every Citizen

  • Availability of high-speed internet as a core utility for the delivery of services to citizens.
  • Cradle to grave digital identity that is unique, lifelong, online and authenticable to every citizen.
  • Mobile phone and Bank account enabling citizen participation in digital and financial space.
  • Easy access to a Common Service Centre.
  • Shareable private space on a public Cloud.
  • Safe and secure Cyber-space.

Governance and Services on Demand

  • Seamlessly integrated across departments or jurisdictions.
  • Service availability 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.

Scope of Digital India

  1. To prepare India for a knowledge future.
  2. On being transformative that is to realize IT (Indian Talent) + IT (Information Technology) = IT (India Tomorrow).
  3. Making technology central to enabling change.
  4. On being an Umbrella Programme – covering many departments.

The programme weaves together a large number of ideas and thoughts into a single, comprehensive vision so that each of them is seen as part of a larger goal. Each individual element stands on its own but is also part of the larger picture.

  1. The Digital India Programme will pull together many existing schemes which would be restructured and focused and implemented in a synchronized manner. The common branding of the programmes as Digital India highlights their transformative impact.

Nine pillars of Digital India

Digital India aims to provide the much-needed thrust to the nine pillars of growth areas, namely:

  1. Broadband Highways
  2. Universal Access to Mobile Connectivity
  3. Public Internet Access Programme
  4. e-Governance: Reforming Government through Technology
  5. e-Kranti – Electronic Delivery of Services
  6. Information for All
  7. Electronics Manufacturing
  8. IT for Jobs
  9. Early Harvest Programmes

Digital India Week

Under the large dream of Digital India, The Digital India Week was a mega event planned for the national launch of the Digital India programme. This national event witnessed  participation of all Central Ministries/ Departments and all States/UTs.

Vision of Digital India Week

To formally launch the Programme, a one week programme in the month of July was launched comprising of awareness and communication events and earmarked as the Digital India Week to:

  • Effectively deliver the message of Digital India.
  • Expand visibility of Digital India by way of effective branding across various platforms with a special focus on new media and public interface touch points.
  • To establish credibility of message by ensuring value proposition in terms of demonstration of service delivery to citizens by converging existing and new services, usage of digital infrastructure under Digital India.
  • Sustained connection with people by identifying and engaging serious stakeholders through ICT platform and increasing the demand for e-services.
  • Communicate in vernacular languages as far as possible

Objectives

Underlining the need for a concerted digital push to complement the government’s flagship ‘Make in India’ manufacturing thrust, Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the inaugural on 1 july highlighted its importance as an effective tool to deal with the problem of corruption, help provide efficient governance and bridge the rich-poor divide. The main objectives of Digital India Week are:

  • Inform, educate and engage with citizens through organization of events at large number of Digital Points of Presence such as CSCs/ Post Offices, Schools, Gram Panchayats etc
  • Connect all citizens through Digital Media campaigns and events
  • Inform all about the vision, services and benefits of the Program
  • Popularise and expand the reach of existing e-services, plan and launch new services
  • Educate citizens on functional digital literacy, cyber security, cyber hygiene, ensure better utilization of Digital infrastructure during the DI Week and beyond
  • Incentivize, motivate and connect citizens with the Digital India Program.

The Department of Electronics and IT, which helped implement  the government’s ambitious Digital India programme, expected commitments of investments to the tune of Rs. 2 lakh crore from domestic and foreign firms at the launch of ‘Digital India Week’ by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

While Taiwanese firm Delta Electronics has announced the setting up of an electronics manufacturing facility at an investment of half-a-billion dollars, the home-grown mobile phone maker Lava has committed Rs.1,200 crore for opening a factory and the Lava unit is expected to manufacture 10 lakh phones annually and create employment for about one lakh people.

Top Industrialists

Airbus India CEO, Peter Gutsmiedl, Wipro Chairman, Azim Premji, Sterlite Technologies Chairman, Anil Agarwal and Aditya Birla Group Chairman, Kumar mangalam Birla were also present at the event. Before the inaugural, Telecom and IT Minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad said the government expected “billions of dollars” in investments at the event. “A number of memoranda of understanding for investment proposals will be signed,” he had said.

The Prime Minister, while sharing the roadmap for Digital India also unveiled e-governance schemes such as Digital Locker, e-education and e-health. The idea behind this venture is the total digitization of society. During the week-long event held across the country, a number of new applications/portals have been launched to bring government services to citizens digitally, a source said, adding the aim is that can people see a visible change in governance by the end of the year.

The campaign involves multiple partners and stakeholders, including government ministries and departments, industry, school and academic institutions, gram panchayats and civic bodies.

Industrialists present at the event pledged Rs 4.5 lakh crore as the Prime Minister sketched a broad roadmap of how he plans to digitise India, a project that is expected to catalyse big-ticket investments in IT services and technology manufacturing.

Reliance Industries is to invest about Rs 2.5 lakh crore in digital initiatives, chairman Mukesh Ambani said though he did not indicate a timeline. “Normally, industry moves faster than government”, he said, “but with Digital India, I have no hesitation in saying the government has moved faster.”At the event, Cyrus Mistry said the Tata Group would hire 60,000 IT professionals this year, and Kumar Mangalam Birla said his Aditya Birla Group would invest Rs 44,500 crore in the next five years in infra and digital space.

Highlighting the country’s potential in the IT sector, Modi called upon the youth to innovate and go for “Design in India”. He promised government support to ‘startups’ and said India had the potential to become the second country after the US in this space. Referring to huge IT capabilities of the country, Modi promised to encourage manufacturing of electronic goods, the second largest imports after petroleum products. He said he dreams of a Digital India where government services are easily available to citizens on mobile devices.

“I dream of a Digital India where government proactively engages with people through social media… I dream of a Digital India where cyber security becomes an integral part of national security,” he said, reminding the audience of the speech by Martin Luther King.

Citing the advantages of the IT sector, Modi said, it helps in dealing with problems like corruption. “Technology played a big role in the auction of coal mines. So many coal mines were auctioned, but there is no allegation against the government because it was all done in a transparent manner.”

Thus, the initiative Digital India Week was a significant and successful step towards the aim of Digital India.

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