Launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on July 1, 2015, the Digital India initiative was started with a view to empower the people of the country digitally. The initiative also aims to bridge India's digital segment and bring big investments in the technology sector.
What is Digital India?
The Digital India initiative seeks to lay emphasis on e-governance and transform India into a digitally empowered society.
The program is projected at Rs 1,13,000 crore which will prepare the country for knowledge-based transformation.
The Department of Electronics and Information Technology (deitY) anticipates that this program will have a huge impact on the Ministry of Communication and IT.
It is to ensure that government services are available to citizens electronically.
It will focus on providing high speed internet services to its citizens and make services available in real time for both online and mobile platform.
Digital India also aims to transform ease of doing business in the country.
Modi's government is focussing on providing broadband services in all villages of the country, tele-medicine and mobile healthcare services and making the governance more participative.
Vision of Digital India initiative:
Here is what the government of India aims to achieve through Digital India initiative.
1. Infrastructure: The Digital India initiative has a vision to provide high speed internet services to its citizens in all gram panchayats. Bank accounts will be given priority at individual level. People will be provided with safe and secure cyber space in the country.
2. Governance and services: Government services will be available online where citizens will be ensured easy access to it. Transactions will be made easy through electronic medium.
3. Digital empowerment of citizens: This is one of the most important factor of the Digital India initiative to provide universal digital literacy and make digital sources easily accessible. The services are also provided in Indian languages for active participation.
9 major projects under the initiative:
1. Manufacturing of electronics: The government is focusing on zero imports of electronics. In order to achieve this, the government aims to put up smart energy meters, micro ATMs, mobile, consumer and medical electronics.
2. Provide public access to internet: The government aims to provide internet services to 2.5 lakh villages which comprises of one in every panchayat by March 2017 and 1.5 lakh post offices in the next two years. These post offices will become Multi-Service centres for the people.
3. Highways to have broadband services:Government aims to lay national optical fibre network in all 2.5 lakh gram panchayats. Broadband for the rural will be laid by December 2016 and broadband for all urban will mandate communication infrastructure in new urban development and buildings. By March 2017, the government aims to provide nationwide information infrastructure.
4. Easy access to mobile connectivity: The government is taking steps to ensure that by 2018 all villages are covered through mobile connectivity. The aim is to increase network penetration and cover gaps in all 44,000 villages.
5. e-Governance: The government aims to improve processes and delivery of services through e-Governance with UIDAI, payment gateway, EDI and mobile platforms. School certificates, voter ID cards will be provided online. This aims for a faster examination of data.
6. IT Training for Jobs: The government aims to train around 1 crore students from small towns and villages for IT sector by 2020. Setting up of BPO sectors in North eastern states is also part of the agenda.
7. e-Kranti: This service aims to deliver electronic services to people which deals with health, education, farmers, justice, security and financial inclusion.
8. Global Information: Hosting data online and engaging social media platforms for governance is the aim of the government. Information is also easily available for the citizens. MyGov.in is a website launched by the government for a 2-way communication between citizens and the government. People can send in their suggestions and comment on various issues raised by the government, like net neutrality.
9. Early harvest programs: Government plans to set up Wi-fi facilities in all universities across the country. Email will be made the primary mode of communication. Aadhar Enabled Biometric Attendance System will be deployed in all central government offices where recording of attendance will be made online.
Response to the Digital India initiative from global investors:
Global investors like Sundar Pichai, Satya Nadella, Elon Musk have supported Modi's Digital India initiative.
Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella intends to become India's partner in the Digital India program. He said that his company will set up low cost broadband technology services to 5 lakh villages across the country.