‘Digital India – Decoding it”

WE NEED FOOD. We need power. We need water. But as the year 2014 has been declared by the government as the year for “DIGITAL INDIA,” we demand an uninterrupted supply of broadband as well. The mayor of San Francisco once said Wi-Fi was a fundamental human right. I’m going along those lines—not quite, but close.
“The citizens of India have mobile phones in their hands, they have mobile connectivity, but can we walk in the direction of mobile governance? We have to move in a direction where every poor person is able to operate his bank account from his mobile, is able to demand various things from the government, can submit applications, can conduct all his business, while on the move, through mobile governance and if this has to be done, we have to move towards `digital India` and if we have to move towards `digital India` then we have a dream” said the Prime Minister in his hour-long extempore speech addressing the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort on the 68th Independence Day.

He continued “E-governance is easy governance, effective governance and also economic governance. E-governance paves the way for good governance. There was a time when we used to say that the railways provided connectivity to the country. That was it. I say that today it is IT that has the potential to connect each and every citizen of the country and that is why we want to realise the mantra of unity with the help of "digital India"”
Such futuristic vision from Prime minister of India was unheard and such a detail elaboration of use of Digital India for E Governance was never expected. He has the farsightedness of opportunity Digital India brings for youth. We should have understood the IT inclination of our PM from his election campaigning on social media.
Many of us think that Digital India is present government’s notion but one of our former IT minister Dayanidhi Maran led the DoT (Dept of Telecom) and conceived of an ambitious plan to offer free broadband through BSNL and MTNL at 2 Mbps, it sent newswires across the nation buzzing.  He had announced Broadband Policy way back in October 2004 with a vision of covering 20 million broadband subscribers by the end of 2010. Nation-wide Broadband Services was launched by BSNL & MTNL from January 2005 to cover 200 towns in one year. Youngsters like me studying in school blessed him and sent him sincere, heartfelt thanks before going to bed. A fortnight later, though, the minister had to quit. The best laid plans of mice and men…..
In his speech in Tokyo our PM said and I quote “We used to play with snakes, now we play with 'mouse'. When we move a mouse, the whole world moves”, the agenda of Digital India was spread across the globe by him in his international visits and we understood he meant business, his other plans was also linked to vision of E Governance, whetehr we speak of Dhan Jan Yojna,
What is Digital India ?
Digital India has three core components. These include creation of digital infrastructure, delivering services digitally and digital literacy. It talks about Digital Infrastructure as a Utility to every Citizen, Governance and Service on Demand and Digital Empowerment of Citizens.
There are nine defined areas of Digital India under which all the activities of government are classified.

    • Broadband Highway
    • Universal Access to Phone
    • Public Internet Access Program
    • E Governance - Reforming Government through technology
    • E Kranti – Electronic Delivery of Services
    • Information for all
    • Electronic Manufacturing- target NET ZERO Import
    • IT for Jobs
    • Early Harvest Programe
    Government plans to lay down optical fibre for Braodband and build a National Information Infrastructure. Government aims to adapt IT as its backbone and go for process reengineering, in which it aims in simplifying forms, online application and tracking, building online repositories eg School Certificates, Voter ID Card etc, intergration  of various services with UIDAI, payment gateway, It plans to move to paperless environment and maintain all database and information in electronic medium. It is also working to build a public grievance cell.

    E Kranti is an important category in which government has following major services:
    ·         E education: all schools having broadband and free wifi, massive online open courses, digital literacy program.
    ·         E Healthcare: Online medical consultation, online medical record, online medicine supply, pan India patient information exchange.
    ·         Technology for Planning: use of technology in planning, use of geographic information system.
    ·         Technology for Farmers: Real time price information, online ordering of inputs, online subsidy, relief cash transfer.
    ·         Technology for service: Mobile emergency service.
    ·         Technology for Financial Inclusion: mobile banking, jan dhan yojna.
    ·         Technology for Justice: e court, e police, e jail, e prosecution.
    ·         Technology for security: National Cyber Security coordination centre.
    It is working on information for all by online hosting of information and documents. Government plans to engage with public on Social Media and web based platform to inform citizens. It would use online messaging on special occasions.
    The initiative is commendable and deserves full support of all stakeholders. However, the initiative also lacks many crucial components such as :
    ·         IT literacy
    ·         lack of legal framework,
    ·         absence of privacy  and data protection laws,
    ·         civil liberties abuse possibilities, 
    ·         lack of parliamentary oversight for e-surveillance in India,
    ·         lack of intelligence related reforms in India,
    ·         insecure Indian cyberspace, etc.
    These issues have to be managed first before introducing Digital India initiative in India. Digital India project is worth exploring and implementation despite its shortcomings that can be rectified before its implementation
    What has government done till now:
    National Portal of India

    The Portal http://india.gov.in  has been developed as a Mission Mode Project (MMP) under the National E Governance Plan (NEGP) of the Government. The objective behind the Portal is to provide a single window access to the information and services being provided by the Indian Government for citizens and other stakeholders. An attempt has been made through this Portal to provide comprehensive, accurate, reliable and one stop source of information about India and its various facets. The current Portal is a metadata driven site that links to the other Indian Government Portals/websites for most updated information. 
    The portal provides information about government of India having all the links for different website of the government. It is a single platform whereby you may know about various acts and regulations to recent e books issued by various ministries. The portal allows applying and tracking online services ranging from passport, railway tickets, to obtain information. Although all the links have not started working, as its still in development mode. It also list out the initiative taken by state government as well as central government in E Governance.
    Public Grievance Redress Mechanism
    The Government of India Portal http://pgportal.gov.in is aimed at providing the citizens with a platform for redress of their grievances. If you have any grievance against any Government organization in the country, you have to lodge your grievance on this website which will go to the Ministry/Department/State Government concerned for immediate redress.
    Online Attendance
    The Government has started a website http://attendance.gov.in whereby any one can track attendance of all the government employees anytime anywhere. It has asked all the government offices to register online and the biometric is linked with the website. We can understand the average in time and out time of each organisation along with average hours of working of the organisation. This is not dream but true use of technology.
    Other Important Links
    Invest India
    My Government
    National Health Portal
    Pradhan Mantri Jan - Dhan Yojna
    Jeevan Pramaan Scheme
    Farmers Portal
    Dept of Financial Service
    Ministry of Finance
    Dept of Electronic and Information Technology
    E Governance Standards
    Mobile Governance
    GOI web directory