Unfurling Digital India Dream

modi-digitalIt is our dream to make a Digital India – where latest technology reaches every home” Narendra Modi had declared on the micro-blogging website Twitter a while ago. Now, with Modi leading from the front, the Indian government is planning to roll out a Rs 500 crore scheme (around $ 82 million) that would make real his dream of creating a “Digital India” by 2019.

The scheme is expected to encourage transparency in decision making, enable quick service delivery and put all the schools in India on a digital map. Under the scheme, start-ups will be promoted through a venture capital fund. The fund will provide resource assistance for electronics incubator in Delhi for developing modules that can later be scaled up to a business level. An incubator in Kerela is already being funded through the public private partnership (PPP) mode to develop indigenous applications.

To push the government’s national e-governance plan, some of the applications that have been so developed are being used to deliver public services. The applications have resulted in about 12 million transactions related to online public services in a month. The government also plans to place all the public services online and extend it to 650 districts from the existing 335. Other key elements of this scheme are connecting all educational institutions and schools on a broadband network and setting up of 24 IT training centres in north-east. Different ministries in collaboration with ministry for Information Technology, which would act as its nodal head, are expected to act in concert to fructify this mission.

The scheme is expected to be announced when the budget is tabled on July 10.  The need-based allocation seems to be the way to go about this pioneering initiative as huge IT infrastructure developments are going to take place in the coming years.

In his presidential address  to the joint session of parliament on June 9, President Pranab Mukherjee had laid emphasis on “Digital India” becoming the “backbone” of the government’s “new ways of working”. He had said that the government will roll out broadband highway to reach every village and make all schools e-enabled in a phased manner. He had also spoken about the prospect of using social media as a tool for participative governance where people could engage in policy-making.

 

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