The Narendra Modi government has announced that it plans to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy. To accomplish this goal, a meeting was held on the August 7th, 2014 and a decision was taken to launch a new program called “Digital India”. The program has been envisaged by the Department of Electronics and Information Technology.
The Digital India program is expected to be implemented in phases from the current year until 2018. The program is expected to be transformational and would work towards making sure that that government services are available to all citizens electronically.
The vision areas of Digital India:
I Infrastructure as Utility to Every Citizen:
(i) High speed internet as a core utility shall be made available in all Gram Panchayats.
(ii) Cradle to grave digital identity – unique, lifelong, online and authenticable.
(iii) Mobile phone and Bank account would enable participation in digital and financial space at individual level.
(iv) Easy access to a Common Service Centre within their locality.
(v) Shareable private space on a public Cloud.
(vi) Safe and secure Cyber-space in the country.
II Governance and Services on Demand:
(i) Seamlessly integrated across departments or jurisdictions to provide easy and a single window access to all persons.
(ii) Government services available in real time from online and mobile platforms.
(iii) All citizen entitlements to be available on the Cloud to ensure easy access.
(iv) Government services digitally transformed for improving Ease of Doing Business.
(v) Making financial transactions above a threshold, electronic and cashless.
(vi) Leveraging GIS for decision support systems and development.
III Digital Empowerment of Citizens:
(i) Universal digital literacy.
(ii) All digital resources universally accessible.
(iii) All Government documents/ certificates to be available on the Cloud.
(iv) Availability of digital resources / services in Indian languages.
(v) Collaborative digital platforms for participative governance.
(vi) Portability of all entitlements for individuals through the Cloud.
Scope of Digital India:
The overall scope of this programme is:
(i) to prepare India for a knowledge future.
(ii) on being transformative that is to realize IT (Indian Talent) + IT (Information Technology) = IT (India Tomorrow)
(iii) making technology central to enabling change.
(iv) 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.
The weaving together makes the Mission transformative in totality.
(v) The Digital India Programme will pull together many existing schemes which would be restructured and re-focused and implemented in a synchronized manner. The common branding of the programmes as Digital India, highlights their transformative impact.
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.
Approach and Methodology:
i Ministries / Departments / States would fully leverage the Common and Support ICT Infrastructure established by the Government of India.
ii The existing/ ongoing e-Governance initiatives would be revamped to align them with the principles of Digital India. Scope enhancement, Process Reengineering, use of integrated & interoperable systems and deployment of emerging technologies like Cloud & mobile would be undertaken to enhance delivery of Government services to citizens.
iii States would be given flexibility to identify for inclusion additional state-specific projects, which are relevant to their socio-economic needs.
iv e-Governance would be promoted through a centralised initiative to the extent necessary, to ensure citizen centric service orientation.
v Successes would be identified and their replication promoted proactively.
vi Public Private Partnerships would be preferred wherever feasible.
vii Adoption of Unique ID would be promoted to facilitate identification, authentication and delivery of benefits.
viii Restructuring of NIC would be undertaken to strengthen the IT support to all government departments at the Centre and State levels.
ix The positions of Chief Information Officers (CIO) would be created in at least 10 key ministries so that various e-Governance projects could be designed, developed and implemented faster.
x DeitY would create necessary senior positions within the department for managing the programme.
xi Central Ministries / Departments and State Governments would have the overall responsibility for implementation of various Mission Mode and other projects under this Programme. Considering the need for overall aggregation and integration at the national level, it is considered appropriate to implement Digital India as a programme with well defined roles and responsibilities of each agency involved.
Program Management Structure :
A programme management structure would be established for monitoring implementation. Key components of the management structure would consist of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) for according approval to projects, a Monitoring Committee headed by the Prime Minister, a Digital India Advisory Group chaired by the Minister of Communications and IT, an Apex Committee chaired by the Cabinet Secretary and the Expenditure Finance Committee (EFC) / Committee on Non Plan Expenditure (CNE).
Even though India is known as a powerhouse of software, the availability of electronic government services to citizens is still comparatively low. The National e-Governance Plan approved in 2006 has made a steady progress through Mission Mode Projects and Core ICT Infrastructure, but greater thrust is required to ensure effective progress in electronics manufacturing and e-Governance in the country.
The Digital India vision provides the intensified impetus for further momentum and progress for this initiative and this would promote inclusive growth that covers electronic services, products, devices, manufacturing and job opportunities. India in the 21st Century must strive to meet the aspirations of its citizens where government and its services reach the doorsteps of citizens and contribute towards a long-lasting positive impact. The Digital India Programme aims to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy by leveraging IT as a growth engine of new India.