Impact of Digital India on the nation

The Digital India Initiative is quite ambitious and aspirational. It is the dream project of the government to bring India to the global platform. This vision aims to transform our country into a digital economy with participation from citizens and businesses. This initiative will ensure that all government services and information are available anywhere, anytime, on any device that is easy-to-use, seamless, highly-available and secured as well. It seeks to lay emphasis on e-governance and transform India into a digitally empowered society.

With proven technologies like Cloud, Machine-to-Machine (M2M), Analytics, Mobile (web-based interface), Social and Security at our disposal, this transformation can be made into a reality. Digitally enabled economies grow faster than the othersand thus, this initiative will create a positive impact in the lives of our citizens. It could help in achieving the objectives of Education for all, Information for all, Healthcare for all, Broadband for all if the government focusses on strong leadership structure, enables private participation, creates detailed implementation plan with common ‘citizen centric’ framework and robust security and privacy measures, and ensures integrated efforts from all departments. Digital India is a large umbrella program which will restructure and re-focus several existing schemes to bring in a transformative impact. The Digital India vision aims to transform our country into a digital economy with participation from citizens and businesses.

The Indian Government has set out its vision of how telecoms can help drive the Indian economy and bridge the digital divide. Having said that, for this vision to become reality, ecosystem will need access to more regulatory support, new digital network capabilities and contemporary revenue models. The most essential component of progress for facilitating a more prosperous India with digitization, is the changing user inclinations. Individuals are developing more contemporary plans of action, progressively downloading information and utilizing portable applications. The precise time of data is developing now in India with more driving force on connectivity network.

This aims at building digital Infrastructure for Every Citizen of India - The prime focus is to provide eGovernance / mGovernance to citizens Governance and Service on Demand. Modernization and reengineering of government processes & services will simplify governance and these services will be provided on an electronic or mobile channel to reach the remotest parts of India. Providing digital empowerment to citizens is another agenda. The programme is strictly citizen centric with an overall development of the nation as a whole.

The Digital India program also spawns off the ‘Make in India’ program which has been launched globally. The vision of ‘Net Zero Imports by 2020’ will have a much needed, huge boosting effect on the Indian Manufacturing sector. The government is planning to provide high-speed internet connectivity to 250,000 Gram Panchayats, which will be a core utility for digital inclusion. The citizens will be provided with a digital identity which will be unique, lifelong, online, and valid. There will be easy access to Common Service Centers and a shareable private space for every citizen on a public cloud.

Under this vision, all the government departments will be seamlessly integrated with high-speed optical fiber, which will improve inter-operability of these organizations and will result in real-time service delivery from online or mobile platform. Apart from this, the government is planning to make all citizen entitlements portable through cloud for easy and country-wide access and to digitally transform the services for improving ease of doing business in India. The government also plans to use the power of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for decision support systems & development. This vision is to empower citizens through digital literacy and universal access to digital resources.

The initiative introduces nine pillars that the government will expand on and all of those will have a direct impact on the entire nation -

  • Broadband highways – We aim to have broadband networks that will span across India's cities, towns and villages. This vision is grand. If successful, it would transform citizen’s access to multimedia information, content and services. It shall also give the government, a transparent access to a great deal of information. However, it has many implementation challenges, just laying cables does not ensure that they will be made use of. It is the communicating content that will drive network usage and not the empty cables. Firstly, laying as many cables as required and then partnering with content service providers for generating content, this project requires quite some effort.
  • Universal access to phones - This focuses on complete mobile network penetration in India by 2018. Though mobile networks have reached most populated parts of the country, the last mile is a long one. With a Common problem of call dropping and failures in already networked zones, having a network does not mean it is working or connecting you enough. An intense shortage of spectrum has driven up costs and driven down service quality for India's telecom industry.
  • Public internet access – This project was launched in 2006, but has been moving at a super slow speed since then, we hope digital India to it the thrust that it requires. With old post offices transforming to multi service centres, this project is pretty far sighted.
  • E-Governance – One of the strongest and most mature pillars of this initiative, E-Governance aims to digitize all of the government’s manual databases, introduce online applications and make Government workflow transparent to the public. Initiatives have already been launched under this scheme and there is a long way to go until we scale them up and reach our goals.
  • E-Kranti – This pillar concentrates on electronic delivery of all services, be it the education, healthcare, technology for farming, finance as well as the cyber security segment. These comprises of 41 large projects called the mission mode projects. The scale of these projects is large enough to be implemented successfully, while many have been initiated already, the success of all of these is yet to be witnessed.
  • Information for all - The focus will be on internet website hosting service of data and realistic participation through social media. This set of web, mobile and social media platforms aims to connect citizens with the government. It is already under its way, with almost all the ministers on social media and in constant communication with the public. The process is still in its initial stages but it is definitely shaping well.
  • Electronics manufacturing – This is by far the biggest push and global image makeover being attempted by the Modi government, via its "Make in India" campaign. This is an ambitious plan and calls for a very big ramp-up in local manufacturing. While the government is supporting the local manufacturers with tax- benefits, this is a slow moving process and would take time to come into picture.
  • IT for jobs - The government plans on providing coaching to one crore learners from small towns and village for IT industry.The challenge here is not just achieving the numbers, but quality. The technology sector increasingly finds that the resources available for IT jobs are under-trained and mismatched to its needs.
  • Early harvest programmes – These include email databases, Wi-Fi in universities and public places, provision of e-books etc. The challenge remains its usage and of course the security of data. The security of emails and online payments in India is still debatable, thus implementation of these remains a risk for everyone.

Digital India is a mind boggling activity and a programme of this size requires disturbance in customary model of government operations. Nonetheless, this break ought to be organized and controlled without wrecking the present operations. As one might expect, a system of this size will have its own offer of successes and disappointments. The achievement of this system relies on upon the collaboration and organization of the legislature and the business. These are energizing times in the legislature and the entire world is presently watching anxiously for India to convey on Digital India.

About Author

Syed Wasim Jafar, Vice President (Service Delivery) – Xavient Information Systems

An IT management professional with continued career progression of over 15 years in Information Technology coupled with insightful exposure to IT Management, Program Management and Delivery Management. With more than 11 years at Xavient, Wasim’s role in managing, planning, controlling, executing and completing various IT projects has been par excellence. He possesses strong problem solving, strategizing, planning and decision making skills along with a knack for interpersonal mannerisms. His flair in preparing budgets and controlling finance with strategic planning, forecast and allocation has resulted in various repeat businesses and long-term client relations. From meeting the client’s expectations with the highest level of customer satisfaction to mentoring and guiding the in-house resource teams, Wasim has portrayed a 360 degree performance at Xavient. A courteous personality, he is now a persona grata in the Xavient family.