Connected Nation-A Digital India

After witnessing Green Revolution, White Revolution and Information Technology Revolution, India is ready to welcome and creating a way for Internet Revolution.

According to one report India will be second largest Economy in terms of Internet Users with 330 million Indians using Internet by the end of 2015. But ironically this number is just 28 percent of total population of India. This is low Internet Penetration. In reality only 17 percent people are connected to internet in some meaningful way. It is like India is using only 10 percent of its capacity. In Developed Countries one third of their population is connected to the internet. To connect the Whole Nation, there is a long way to go.

India is known as a powerhouse of software, although 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 push is required to ensure effective progress in electronics manufacturing and e-Governance in the country. And that is why these kinds of situations make our country a “Dual-faced” economy.

PM Narendra Modi gave approval to ‘Digital India’ a programme to transform India into digital empowered society and knowledge economy on 20th August, 2014. This programme has been envisaged by Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY). The programme will be implemented in phases from the current year till 2018.

The Vision Areas of Digital India

Infrastructure as Utility to Every Citizen

  1. High speed internet as a core utility shall be made available in all Gram Panchayats.
  2. Cradle to grave digital identity-unique, lifelong, online and authenticable.
  3. Mobile phone and Bank account would enable participation in digital and financial space at individual level.
  4. Easy access to a Common Service Centre within their locality.
  5. Shareable private space on a public Cloud.
  6. Safe and secure Cyber-space in the country.

Governance and Services on Demand

  1. Seamlessly integrated across departments or jurisdictions to provide easy and a single window access to all persons.
  2. Government services available in real time from online and mobile platforms.
  3. All citizen entitlements to be available on the Cloud to ensure easy access.
  4. Government services digitally transformed for improving Ease of Doing Business.
  5. Making financial transactions above a threshold, electronic and cashless.
  6. Leveraging GIS for decision support systems and development.

Digital Empowerment of Citizens

  1. Universal digital literacy.
  2. All digital resources universally accessible.
  3. All Government documents/certificates to be available on the Cloud.
  4. Availability of digital resources/services in Indian languages.
  5. Collaborative digital platforms for participative governance.
  6. 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 it covers many departments.

The Indian Government has not invested Rs. 1.13 lakh-crore (trillion) in the Project, they have invested in 1.27 billion people out of them only 17 percent use internet productively. “Digital India” not only covers urban society but it has spread it wings to 6, 50, 000 villages and 2, 50, 000 panchayats represented by 3 million panchayat members. Out of it 40% population is living below poverty line, illiteracy rate is more than 25 − 30% and digital literacy is almost Nil. To make India digitally literate, it is important 3.5 million people to be digitally literate. It is indeed a challenge to connect all rural areas and off-the-map villages.

Any Indian citizen living in rural area might not know English language by heart, so to teach him how to use a computer will be challenging. National Digital Literacy Mission Programme is an effort to minimize this digital divide and to complement the objectives of National Optic Fiber Network (NOFN) plan to educate one from each household as digitally literate in 147 million rural household of India. Bharat Broadband Network Ltd (BBNL). will lay out the optic fiber cable terminating in each of the 250, 000 gram panchayats in the country, providing 100 MBPs link to be used as information highway to be utilized diversely by all kind of stakeholders to ensure that digital inclusion has reached in all villages across the country.

The Digital India is Umbrella Branding plus Product Bundling i.e.. All old similar projects and schemes repackaged and redistributed under the title is “Connected Nation” Digital India promises to transform India into a connected knowledge economy offering world-class services at the click of a mouse which will be implemented in a phased manner. The Government's Digital India Project is a vision of a genuinely empowered India which intends to tackle (9 pillars of growth areas):

  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 (Upgrading the way agriculture is done by connecting farmers with physical as well as virtual resources and assistance).

There is another way out too for this problem. The alternative solution is a challenging task for our engineers which is to develop all necessary software e. g. Software regarding agriculture for farmer in regional language with easiest navigation pattern. The day such software will be developed which will understand a common man's queries and reply in the same language that they understand will define the highest peak of success for IT professionals.

Central Government is ready to welcome Public-Private Partnership which is necessary because Public Sector and Private Sector are Complement to each other and not Substitute. Not only Government but private sector too wants to tap this untapped market segments, after all they will also ripe the benefits of supernormal profit in future. The Telecom Industry wants the telecom department to put more airwaves in the 2100 Mhz band of 3G for sale. But the lower availability of 2100 Mhz bandwidth will make the success of Digital India critical. Hope the Solution comes before the deadline of ‘Digital India’

To take forward the mission of Digital India, an ‘ICICI Digital Village’ was created and dedicated to the nation on the occasion of ICICI Group's 60th Birthday of partnering with India. PM Narendra Modi was the Chief Guest at the occasion where ICICI Bank has created the ‘ICICI Digital Village’ at Akodara in Sabarkantha district of Gujarat. This technological aid will cover various aspects of villagers'life including banking, payments, education and healthcare among others. Here, financial transactions are cashless, text books are paperless, children read books on LED monitors and Tabs, patients can avail the facility of telemedicine and Wi-Fi connectivity is available across the village.

In this ‘Smart-phone era’ PM Modi expects that by 2019 every Indian Citizen will own a Smartphone as it can be a tool for empowerment and an almost effective substitute for relatively large-sized laptops and computers.

Another motive which has given birth to this campaign is the potential import deficit threat. If things go on as of now than net annual electronics imports will exceed the outgrowing oil imports. So, the aim is to bring down net electronic imports to zero by 2020 to control current-account deficit.

The cost of this project is quite high, but it will be a fruitful investment with high returns in future if it yields expected results like more opportunities, trade, business, jobs, expansion of markets and consumers etc.

The need of the today's time is to enable large-scale Internet adoption and usage in education, healthcare, and government services that will drive personal growth for Indian citizens, leading to community growth and ultimately national economic development.