Everything you want to know about “Digital India Plan”

Indian government is all set to give concrete shape to the ambitious and futuristic “Digital India” plan as announced by PM Narendra Modi in his Independence Day address. It will transform so far agrarian Indian economy to a knowledge-centric economy where the modus operandi and speed of service delivery will be redefined. It will not only plug the widening digital divide in Indian society but also give the much-needed impetus for overall growth to bring India on equal footing with the developed world. Modi Cabinet okayed the programme which envisages to connect 2,50,000 gram panchayats by providing internet connectivity to all citizens under the umbrella of “Digital India”.
• The plan will have an estimated cost of 1.13 billion is said to be taken up and competed in a phased manner by 2019. It will be monitored by the PM’s Digital India committee comprising ministries of finance, communication, rural development, human resources and health. The approval for various projects will be granted by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs.
• It contemplates creation of massive infrastructure to provide high-speed internet at the gram level, e-availability of major government services like health, education, security, justice, financial inclusion etc. thereby digitally empowering citizens.
• This will also ensure public answerability via an unique ID, e-Pramaan based on standard government applications and fully online delivery of services.
• The program has the capacity to create huge number of jobs both direct and indirect. Also, it will be a great boost for the electronics industry in India and expectedly will see a fall in imports of electronics.
• The beneficiaries will be able to avail the benefits of the same by mobile phones, bank accounts connected to their own virtual spaces.
• The project aims to push nine key areas which are identified for overall progress. These are:
i. Broadband highways,
ii. Total mobile connectivity,
iii. Public Internet Access Programme,
iv. e-Governance,
v. e-Kranti (electronic delivery of public services),
vi. Information revolution,
vii. Boost to electronics firms,
viii. Employment (1.7 crore direct and 8.5 crore indirect opportunities)
ix. Early harvest programmes.
• Digital India will also ensure universal reach of mobile phones in India which will mean to about 43,000 villages more which are still devoid of such services.
• It will also connect citizens by means of a social network called MyGov. It will be based on geographic divisions.
• It also envisions a Net-Zero Electronics Import Target by 2020 by giving various sops and incentives to manufacturers in India like tax breaks, market access and finally the creation of five electronics manufacturing clusters in next 5 years. An electronic development fund is also proposed to develop and nourish Indian IP for such products. There will be increased emphasis on skill-development programmes in electronics field in the next five years.
• The programme is a revamped version of National e-governance plan and will have to settle some long-standing issues like- rejuvenating National Informatics Centre which is currently ill-equipped to shoulder the responsibility. Also, the government will have to work on the sluggish progress of the projects funded by Universal Services Obligation Fund which were started by UPA but gradually were mired in lack of implementation and orientation.
It thus has the ability and energy to transform Indian way of life and doing public business as it will synchronize and synergize all digital initiatives for a better and more connected India.



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