Digital India

Digital India – An Analysis

A digitalised government helps a country to realize its various goals with greater efficiency. In this age, the role of technology in discharging public services is very important. This brings in transparency and accountability and enhances good governance, resulting in the overall growth of the country.This article gives a brief outline of how India attempts to bring digitalisation through the initiative ‘Digital India.’ It throws light on what the programme seeks to attain and what are the challenges that need to be addressed for the proper and successful implementation of this initiative.

 What is Digital India?

‘Digital India’ is a flagship programme of the Government of India aimed at transforming the country into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy.[1] The idea behind digital India is that the entire helm of public services should be provided through the means of information technology.

With the idea to empower the society,economic growth will depend on the accessibility of the available information rather than depending on means of production. The belief is that providing digital infrastructure to every citizen will work as a catalyst to digital literacy and create aknowledge economy.

What it seeks to achieve.

This programme seeks to bring under its purview various government ministries and departments such as the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology and Ministry of Agriculture.The responsibility of implementing this program lies with the government in co-ordination with, the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY)

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.[2]

Administrative setup

The nine pillars give a perfect division of labour amongst the various sectors to achieve the goal of Digital India. However,the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)suggests that such public policies require a high level of co-ordination across different sectors as well as levels of government in order to meet complex policy objectives. This is critical,particularly when they cut across specific areas of responsibility and mandate.[3]Accordingly, these suggestions have to be kept in mind with the implementation of digital India.

Challenges in implementation

The project, launched in 2015 is indeed a great initiative and the current budget gives a strong push to it. Nevertheless, the goal is still far away as it faces many challenges like providing broadband services in highways, public internet access etc. These services are targeted towards effective use of digital technology which is possible only if high quality and high speed networks are made available.For this, the required infrastructure has to be constructed. Another hurdle, is obtaining the trust of the target audience when it comes to digital technologies and services. This raises the important question of digital literacy.

One of the nine pillars also includes universal access to mobile connectivity which means that every person in the country should have access to mobile phones and mobile networks.  However, the reality is that though mobile networks have reached most populated parts of India, the last mile is a long one: 55,619 villages still exist outside the reach of a mobile signal.[4]

Further, when we talk about e-Governance,i.e. reforming the government through technology, there are many citizen centric services that have already been digitalised but they did not offer the desired impact. So they have now been aligned with the Digital India Project that includes digitalisation of database, online applications, tracking of services and availability of online repositories. The hope is that this time they will be better administered.

CONCLUSION

The Digital India programme is a wonderful initiative of the government that will empower the country to become a knowledge economy which is self-sufficient. The programme will help in increasing the opportunities and enhancing prospects through accessibility of information. It will allow the government to  provide improved public services such as seamless integrated services across  different jurisdictions, shareable private space on a public cloud and make financial transactions electronic and cashless.[5]. In short, a collaborative digital platform for participative governance which will help create accountability and transparency leading to public trust that will greatly facilitate India’s journey towards becoming a developed nation.

[1]http://digitalindia.gov.in/content/about-programme, (Last Accessed: 09/02/2017 )

[2]http://www.digitalindia.gov.in/content/programmeso-pillars, (Last Accessed: 09/02/2017 )

[3] “DIGITAL GOVERNMENT STRATEGIES FOR TRANSFORMING PUBLIC SERVICES IN THE WELFARE AREAS”- Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), 2016.

[4]http://www.digitalindia.gov.in/content/universal-access-mobile-connectivity, (Last Accessed: 10/02/2017 12:38 AM)

[5]http://digitalindia.gov.in/content/vision-and-vision-areas (Last Accessed: 12/02/2017)

 

Author: Sneha Manjooran

Sneha Manjooran is a third year LLB (Hons) student at Alliance School of Law, Alliance University, Bangalore, India. She has participated in many moot court competitions and model United Nations as part of her law school activities. She has a great passion for theatre and acting. She aspires to pursue a career in litigation and commercial arbitration.