Digital India: Overview, Nature and Scope

The Digital India (DI) initiative aims to bring digital empowerment to India and aid in its transition to becoming a knowledge economy. The programme aims to do so through a combination of building digital infrastructure, providing digital services, implementing e-governance in an accessible manner and using technology as a driver of change and growth.

Overview of Digital India

The DI initiative was envisaged by the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (Deity), and will be implemented in phases that will culminate in 2018. The initiative is being implemented as an umbrella programme which shall include all departments and ministries within its scope. However, the implementation shall be monitored and overseen by a Digital India Advisory group that will be headed by the Ministry of Communications.

Nature of the DI programme

DI aims to encourage the participation of individuals in digital activities through promotion of digital usage through mobile phones etc and also beefing up of infrastructure. High speed internet will be made available at the Gram Panchayat level. Individuals will maintain a digital identity right from birth. A public cloud will be created with private space that could be shared. Emphasis will also be placed on making cyber space secure for Indians.

All departments and ministries will work together to provide single window access to all individuals. Government services can be availed either through mobile phones or through the internet. All processes will be simplified, making digital access easier. Citizen entitlements will be made available on the cloud. Also, efforts will be undertaken to make financial transactions of a sizeable amount electronic and cashless.

Another major aim of the DI is to educate people and increase awareness about digital processes. To further this aim, the government will promote universal digital literacy and make all digital resources universally accessible to the people. Also, to make digital resources and services accessible to all people, it will be made available in all Indian languages.

Scope of DI

The DI programme covers a wide range of areas:-

  • Broadband Services – It provides for incremental coverage of broadband services in gram panchayats over a span of three years at a cost of Rs. 32,000 crore under the guidance of Department of Telecommunications (DoT). It also provides for building up of a national information infrastructure with the guidance of Deity.
  • Mobile connectivity – Another important objective is to provide universal access to mobiles, improve mobile connectivity and increase mobile network penetration at a cost of 16,000 crores and under the DoT’s purview.
  • Public Internet Access – DI also aims to establish service centres in rural areas through a National Rural Internet Mission and in post offices thus ensuring easy public access to internet and other digital services.
  • E-governance – The government aims to simplify procedures and reduce bureaucratic hurdles by using IT for a variety of purposes such as maintaining electronic databases, registering grievances against public officials etc.
  • E-kranti – This provides for electronic delivery and digitisation of records etc for a multitude of services such as education, healthcare, dispensing justice, educating farmers, forming plans, increasing financial inclusion etc. DI will continue in the footsteps of the National e-governance Plan with respect to implementation of these.
  • Access to information – Use technology to proactively engage with citizens through social media, emails, messages etc. Also, build portals that provide people easy access to relevant information
  • Manufacturing of electronics – DI aims to bring down India’s electronics imports to zero by 2020 through adopting a variety of measures aimed at boosting domestic manufacturing
  • IT Jobs– Creation of skilled workforce in the area of IT. Improve capacity-building and provide training so that a suitable workforce is built
  • Early harvest programmes – Envisions converting all government greetings into e-greetings. Development of an IT platform for mass messaging and biometric attendance for all government employees is also being developed.