Prime Minister Narendra Modi has kicked off the Digital India Week with the launch of several new initiatives for e-governance and digitally empowering the masses of the country.
The event outlined the nine pillars upon which the Digital India mission will hinge. They are:
- Broadband Highways – 2.5 lakh villages will be covered by National Optical Fibre Network by December 2016. In cities, Virtual Network Operators would be leveraged for service delivery and communication infrastructure in new urban development projects.
- Universal Access to Mobile Connectivity – there are still 55,619 villages in India with no mobile coverage. The government will spend around Rs 16,000 crore during 2014-18 to ensure every corner of India is connected.
- Public Internet Access Program
- E-Governance: Reforming Governance Through Technology
- E-Kranti: Electronic Delivery of Services
- Information to All
- Electronics Manufacturing Targeting Net Zero Imports
- IT for Jobs
- Early Harvest Programs
In line with these 9 pillars the government has launched a few new initiatives that will hinge on the use of technology to make lives of Indians easier and open up a load of new opportunities.
- Digital Locker is a service that aims to minimize the use of physical documents and enable the sharing the e-documents across governmental agencies. Users will be able to upload documents which will be verified and once authenticated will be able to pull them up from the digital repository when required.
- MyGov.in is a portal to encourage citizen participation in governance by allowing them to discuss and disseminate their thoughts on various issues.
- Swachh Bharat Mobile application will be used by citizens and the government to achieve the goals set under the Swachh Bharat Mission.
- eSign is a framework that will allow citizens of the country to sign documents electronically using their Adhar Cards as authentication.
- eHospital app will allow citizens to register online, pay fees and book appointments, get diagnostic reports and enquire about the availability of blood.
- National Scholarship Portal will be a single portal for the end to end process of getting a scholarship, right from submission of student application, verification, sanction and disbursal to end beneficiary.
- BharatNet is a high speed digital highway that will connect 2.5 lakh Gram Panchayats in the country. The feat will be the world’s largest rural broadband connectivity program using fibre optics.
- BSNL’s Next Generation Network (NGN) which will look to replace 30 year old exchanges with an IP based technology to handle services such as voice, data, multimedia and other types of packet switched communication services.
- BSNL Wi-Fi hotspots will be deployed throughout the country giving users access to the internet via their mobile phones.
- BPO Policy which approves the creation of BPO services in the North Eastern states of India and also in smaller towns of other states
- Electronics Development Fund (EDF) looks to boost R&D, Product Development and Innovation in the electronics sector in India and create a pool of domestic IP.
- National Centre for Flexible Electronics (NCFlexE) is an initiative that looks to promote research and development in the fields of flexible electronics.
- Centre of Excellence on Internet of Things which looks to promote development in the nascent sector.
- Digitize India Platform (DIP) will look at large scale digitisation of records in the country that will facilitate the delivery of records to citizens
The government expects to see massive change in the area of digital industry, infrastructure and connectivity by 2019. The program will touch upon every industry in the country, transforming them and the lives of people who are dependent on them.
Further, private players too are investing in the Digital India plan in order to grow their user base by many fold and turn revenues from those not yet connected. Reliance Jio, a project being carried out by Reliance Industries that will bring widespread 4G connectivity to all parts of India has a sticker price of Rs 250,000 crores.