Digital India program is more ambitious than any other program undertaken to evolve comprehensive ecosystem for e-Governance in India. There were already steps taken by many government organizations towards developing and delivering citizen focused e-Services since 1990s. Some organization even started moving towards providing transactional services from their electronic platforms to citizens. However, the approach was still fractured. Either systems functioned in silos and digital processes were just replica of physical ones or citizens were completely clueless in the digital world due to lack of digital literacy. Therefore, a comprehensive approach in planning and implementing core digital infrastructure, transformed and seamless services and digital empowerment was felt.
Digital India is an ambitious programming of Government of India. The program aims at transforming India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy by focusing on 3 vision goals viz. –
1. Building core infrastructure for accessible, safe and high speed services authenticable to every citizen.
The areas of emphasis in implementing this vision goal are:
- Providing high speed connectivity through length and breadth of country by deploying ICT infrastructure and last mile connectivity in an affordable and competitive manner.
- Building trust through digital identity. Aadhaar is a 12 digit individual identification that is unique, and can be used to disallow fake and duplicate transactions. Government of India is aiming at providing Aadhaar based services to plug leakages and ensure that benefits are provided to true beneficiaries.
- Financial inclusion through mobile and banking – Mobiles by sheer volume of penetration hold great promise of enabling digital access of services. Some key interventions that government is focusing on keeping citizens invested in digital financial transaction through mobile are – Jan Dhan yojana, PayGov etc.
- Easy access to Common Service Centers (CSC): In remote villages, where connectivity and digital literacy is not sufficient, CSCs play a pivotal role in bring government services closer to citizens. The centers operate with a PPP (public private partnership) model and provide several government services and digital literacy/ vocational programs for citizens.
- Authentic documents are key resources in availing government services. Moving towards a paperless governance would therefore calls for having a private digital space for citizens where citizens can store digital documents and certificates issued by various agencies and share them with departments as the need may be.
“The Digital India program is a flagship program of the Government of India with a vision to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy. The initiative was launched on July 03, 2015 and coordinated by Ministry of Electronics and IT.”
2. Making governance and services real time and on demand by leveraging cloud, mobility, GIS and service transformations.
In this respect, the Digital India Program has identified 6 crucial elements that services are made available on demand.
There is considerable focus on single window service delivery. Many a times, government departments require clearances/ documentation from other departments to deliver services. It therefore becomes important for government departments to focus on integration with other departments to save upon time and effort. To ensure hassle free integration, MeiTY (Ministry of Electronics and Technology) has notified e-governance standards, Open API and Open Source policies. Also, the departments is making efforts to encourage use of common platforms such as Meghraj Cloud, PayGov, Mobile Seva etc.
- To ensure connectivity at all levels, Depart Of Telecom (DoT) is provisioning high speed broadband connectivity to village panchayat level.
- In working with government departments, it is important to have authentic documents. Often such documents require to be changed on account of citizen movement for example on changing jobs PF needs to be transferred, on changing location LPG needs to be transferred, BPL entitlements need to modified to ensure continuity etc. It therefore becomes important to have a common platform to avoid delays in case of change events in citizen’s life.
- There are programs which aim to ensure starting and conducting businesses easier. The programs objective is “Ease of Doing Business” includes delivering services pertaining to establishing a business entity, getting electricity, registering property, dealing with construction permit etc. These programs may be strengthened using latest tools and technology.
- For the payment of services and ease of transactions, government has created centralized payment gateway for all departments. PayGov is integrated to NSDG and SSDG to ensure sharing of financial transaction with other government departments and offers many modes of transactions – credit card, wallet, Net Banking etc.
- Many government programs require locational information of beneficiaries and establishments to deliver services. National Geospatial Information System (NGIS) is being developed as GIS platform for e-governance applications.
3. Empowering citizens through digital literacy, collaborative digital platforms and participative governance.
To make use of entire gamut of digital and e-governance programs that government is investing in, it is important for citizens to be digitally literate. The important limb of DI (Digital India) vision therefore is Digital Literacy.
- It entails building foundational infrastructure to provide universal education for all through CSC (Common Service Center), National Digital Literacy Mission and facilitation centers of National Institute of Electronics and Information Technology (NIELIT).
- Universal access to government dataset and documents. In this regard, government has published National Data Sharing and Accessibility Policy (NDSAP). The implementation is being rolled out through Open Data portal (data.gov.in). Further MeiTY has notified standards for accessibility, Open API and other digital resources to ensure ubiquitous access for all on all devices.
- Enabling accessing to documents issued by one departments to other departments using the pointer provided by citizen shall assist government department to not ask resubmission of documents. Government of India has rolled out DigiLocker providing free, secure, flexible and easy to use cloud based storage.
- There are 22 official languages and 12 scripts spoken in different parts of country. MeiTY has initiated Technology Development for Indian Languages (TDIL) programme for developing tools and techniques for human machine interaction without language barrier. Localization Project Management Framework (LPMF) is also initiated to help localize applications under MMPs and other government departments.
- Encouraging participative governance through MyGov platform. The platform offers two way communication and interaction with citizens. The platform provides a mechanism to discuss various issues to arrive at innovative solutions, make suggestions to the government, provide feedback on governance, rate the government actions/policies/initiatives, and actively participate with the government to achieve the desired outcomes.