On 20th August 2014, the Digital India programme was approved by the Union Cabinet under the leadership of India’s Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi. The Digital India programme seeks to transform India from a predominantly rural agrarian society to a digitally empowered knowledge economy.
The Digital India programme has been envisaged by the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY) and includes all the current schemes being run by the Telecom Department, Rural Development Ministry and DeitY.
The vision of the programme is focused on three key ideas:
1. Creation of Digital Infrastructure and Electronic Manufacturing in India.
2. Delivery of all Government Services electronically (E-Governance).
3. Digital Empowerment of Indian Citizens.
The three key Digital Tools which will serve as the pillars of the project are:
1. A Digital Identity which will authenticate the end-user.
2. A Bank accounts for Direct Benefit Transfers of subsidies and payments.
3. Mobile phone for universal access to all services.
By focusing on these three key ideas and the provision of these three digital tools the government hopes to lay the foundations for the creation of a digital knowledge-based society in India. The Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojna will act as an important catalyst in realizing the goals of the digital mission by providing universal access to the banking system.
10 Important Facts about Digital India Programme
- The Government is currently running an online competition for designing a logo for the Digital India Programme. You can submit your entries here. The last date for submissions is 31st August 2014.
- You can also discuss and debate about the project and submit your suggestions to improve the scope and implementation of the programme on the online public forum of MyGov.
- The programme is expected to become operational in September 2014 and will last until 2018.
- The different projects under this scheme could see an investment of up to Rs 1,00,000 Lakh Crore by the Government over the next 3-4 years.
- The programme has several new initiatives while it also includes old ones launched by the different ministries but which were never implemented because of a lack of funds. All existing schemes related to e-governance and digital services managed by the different ministries are expected to be consolidated under this new programme.
- More than 15-20 Ministeries of the Government will be involved in implementing this program. Co-ordination between the different ministries such as Telecom, Health, Rural Development, etc will be crucial for the success of this program.
- The National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) which was started by the UPA government but which has not seen much progress in the last four years is expected to be the backbone of the entire project. The NOFN was launched in 2011 with the aim of providing high-speed internet to more than two lakh gram panchayats in India at an estimated cost of Rs 20,000 Crore.
- The programme also aims to eliminate all electronics imports from foreign countries by 2020 and make India an electronics manufacturing superpower.
- The Government hopes to ensure that every Indian will have a smartphone by 2019, which will help him connect to the government and avail all it’s services electronically.
- The Digital India programme will be monitored by a committee which will be headed by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and all his ministries will have to adhere to a strict schedule to complete their projects.
Currently, Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad, the Communications and IT Minister is holding discussions with the IT Ministers of different states to finalize a road-map. More details and the final guidelines are expected to be announced next month. Last week’s announcement by the Government can be accessed here.