Government of India is committed to the vision of digital India. The country has taken a major step toward digital empowerment and toward becoming a knowledge economy. From the last year (late 2014) to the year 2018, the programme will be implemented in various phases. The project has a total overlay of 1.13 Lakh crores which speaks volumes of its importance.
E-governance and ICT in India
Introduction of Information and Communication technologies (ICT) had caught the attention of Indian government from time to time. ICT introduction began as early as in 1970s. Under then then Rajiv Gandhi government, National Informatics Centres Network (NICENET) connected field offices and headquarters (state and centre). In the year 2000, the IT Act provided legal muscle to digital signatures which was fortified by IT Policy amendment act of 2008.
E-governance in India has evolved from fragmented attempts at computerisation of offices to various e-administration and governance schemes (not to mention the e governance plan 2006) to a more holistic policy of digital inclusion and knowledge economy. If we study the historical evolution of India’s digital economy then we find that some schemes like Kerala’s Akshay programme of digital inclusion stood out as very successful.
The project envisages to focus on (a) creation of digital infrastructural utility (b) services and governance on demand and (c) digital empowerment of citizens. The programme wants to make India an IT powerhouse where T also means talent (fusion of technology and talent).
Intel for Digital India
One of the key approach and methodology to achieve digital India is through ‘public-private partnership wherever feasible’. Companies like Intel have taken an initiative. Intel is working with the Indian government through its ‘Digital Skills for India’ program to help 5 million people by the end of 2015. Intel India has launched the Digital Skills Training app with modules on digital literacy, financial inclusion, healthcare, and cleanliness in five desi languages: Hindi, English, Marathi, Gujarati, Tamil and Kannada.
Intel India is also working with BBNL (Bharat Broadband Network Limited) to build capacity by imparting digital literacy training to key resource persons in the first 1,000 panchayats under the National Optic Fiber Network roll-out in India. In the year 2012, it had launched the National Digital Literacy Mission under which it has impacted about 4 million citizens.
Intel India is clearly committed to the vision of #DigitalIndia.
Challenges to Vision of Digital India
Penetration and access of internet, people’s engagement and public participation, cutting demography and language divide, digital illiteracy, capacity building of citizens, resource mobilisation, attitudinal changes remain some of the major challenges to e governance and digital empowerment in India. Digital India is a vision worth aspiring and working for.