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What is the Digital India Scheme?

The Digital India scheme is the government of India’s flagship initiative, with the goal of transforming India into a digitally enabled society and knowledge economy. On July 3, 2015, the Digital India program (1.13 lakh crore cost) was started with the goal of digitally empowering every citizen of the country. Its goal is to ensure that citizens may access government services electronically by eliminating paperwork. 

It also includes a plan to build high-speed internet networks in rural areas. It is overseen by Deity (Department of Electronics and Information Technology) and implemented by the government. The programme management structure for Digital India Scheme consists of a Monitoring Committee on Digital India headed by the Prime Minister, a Digital India Advisory Group chaired by the Minister of Communications & IT and an Apex Committee chaired by the Cabinet Secretary.

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Vision of Digital India Scheme

The goal of the Digital India scheme is to make India a digitally empowered society with a knowledge economy. The vision is divided into 3 parts. The digital infrastructure as a utility to every citizen, governance and services on demand, and digital empowerment of citizens.

Digital Infrastructure as a Utility to Every Citizen

A well-connected country is necessary for a well-served country. When even the most remote Indian villages are connected to the internet via broadband and high-speed internet, the delivery of electronic government services to all citizens, targeted social benefits, and financial inclusion will become a reality. “Digital infrastructure as a utility to every person” is one of the primary themes on which the Digital India Scheme is focused.

High-speed internet as a core utility to support online delivery of diverse services is a major component of this strategy. It is planned to establish enabling infrastructure for digital identification and financial inclusion, as well as to ensure that common service centers are easily accessible.

The citizens must be provided with “digital lockers,” which would be shareable private areas on a public cloud where government departments and agencies may store documents for quick online access. The scheme is also intended to make cyberspace a safe and secure environment.

The following are the highlights of this vision:

  • High-speed internet access as a basic utility for delivering services to citizens
  • Every citizen has a digital identity that is unique, lifelong, online, and authenticable from birth to death.
  • Citizen participation in the digital and financial world is enabled through a mobile phone and a bank account.
  • Access to a Common Service Centre is simple.
  • On a public cloud, a private place that citizens can share.
  • Cyberspace is a safe and secure environment.

Governance and Services on Demand

Various state governments and central ministries have taken numerous measures throughout the years to usher in an era of e-governance. Efforts have been made at different levels to improve public service delivery and make the process of obtaining them easier. In India, e-government has progressed from the computerization of government departments to programs that encompass the finer elements of administration, such as citizen centricity, service orientation, and transparency.

In 2006, the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) was adopted to take a comprehensive look at e-government efforts across the country and integrate them into a single vision. A major nationwide infrastructure, stretching down to the most remote of communities, is being built around this concept, and large-scale record digitization is underway to provide easy and dependable access over the internet. 

The ultimate goal was to make all government services available to the common man in his neighbourhood through common service delivery outlets, while also ensuring efficiency, transparency, and reliability of such services at cheap prices in order to meet the basic needs of the common man.” Six factors are essential for ensuring that all residents and other stakeholders in the country have access to government and services on demand.

The following are the highlights of this vision:

  • Services that are seamlessly linked across agencies or jurisdictions
  • Real-time access to services via web and mobile platforms
  • All citizen entitlements must be portable and cloud-based.
  • Services that have been digitally altered to make doing business easier
  • Electronic and cashless financial transactions
  • Using Geographical Information Systems (GIS) for decision-making and development

Digital Empowerment of Citizens

Connectivity via the internet is a fantastic leveller. Indians are increasingly networking and conversing with one another via mobile phones and laptops connected to digital networks, regardless of their ethnic or socioeconomic status. By focusing on digital literacy, digital resources, and collaborative digital platforms, the Digital India Scheme pledges to convert India into a digitally empowered society. The importance of universal digital literacy and the availability of digital resources/services in Indian languages is also highlighted.

The following are the highlights of this vision:

  • Digital literacy should be universal.
  • Digital resources that are available to everyone
  • Participatory governance through collaborative digital platforms
  • Digital materials and services in Indian languages are available.
  • Citizens are not needed to produce government paperwork or certifications in person.

Pillars of Digital India Scheme To Realise Its Objectives

Digital India Scheme is a government-wide initiative that spans various ministries and departments. It combines a huge number of ideas and thoughts into a single, comprehensive vision, allowing each to be implemented as part of a broader purpose.

Each component stands alone, but is also a part of the bigger picture. Digital India Scheme will be implemented by the entire government, with the Department of Electronics and Information Technology providing overall coordination (DeitY).

The following are the supporting pillars of Digital India initiative:

Supporting PillarsDescription and Purpose
Broadband HighwaysThis covers three sub components, namely Broadband for All – Rural, Broadband for All – Urban and National Information Infrastructure (NII).
Universal Access To Mobile ConnectivityFocus on network penetration and filling the gaps in connectivity in the country.
Public Internet Access ProgramsPublic Internet Access Programme are Common Services Centres (CSCs) and Post Offices as multi-service centres.
E-Governance – Reforming Government through TechnologyGovernment Process Re-engineering using IT to simplify and make the government processes more efficient
E-Krantitransforming e-Governance and promote mobile Governance and Good Governance in the country
Information For AllOpen Data platform facilitates proactive release of datasets in an open format by the ministries/departments for use, reuse and redistribution. Online hosting of information & documents would facilitate open and easy access to information for citizens.
Electronics Manufacturingpromoting electronics manufacturing in the country with the target of NET ZERO Imports by 2020 as a striking demonstration of intent. 
IT for Jobsproviding training to the youth in the skills required for availing employment opportunities in the IT/ITES sector. 
Early Harvest ProgramsEarly Harvest Programme basically consists of those projects which are to be implemented within a short timeline. 

Implementation Approach of Digital India

All of the Digital India program’s efforts, such as developing and expanding key ICT infrastructure, delivering services, and so on, have specific completion dates. The majority of the measures will be implemented during the following three years. Early harvest programs (“Early Harvest Programmes”) and citizen communication initiatives (“Information for All”) have already gone online and are in the process of being completed.

The Digital India initiative tries to bring together a variety of existing initiatives. These plans will be reformed, redesigned, and refocused, and they will all be implemented at the same time. Many of the aspects are merely cost-cutting process enhancements. The term “Digital India” is frequently used to describe programs that have a transformative influence. 

There will be broader interactions among government, industry, civil society, and citizens as part of the implementation of this program to explore various concerns and come up with innovative solutions to achieve the desired results of Digital India. To enable collaborative and participatory governance, DeitY has already created a digital platform called “myGov” (http://mygov.in/). Moreover, various forums and seminars have been held to examine the implementation strategy for Digital India’s vision sectors.

Approach and Methodology For Digital India Initiative

  • The Government of India’s Common and Support ICT Infrastructure would be completely utilized by Ministries, Departments, and States. DeitY would also develop/set standards and policy guidelines, give technical and mentoring assistance, and conduct capacity building and R&D, among other things.
  • Existing and ongoing e-governance programs will be redesigned to conform with the Digital India concepts. To improve the delivery of government services to citizens, scope enhancement, process reengineering, the use of integrated and interoperable systems, and the implementation of emerging technologies such as cloud and mobile will be conducted.
  • States would have the freedom to identify additional state-specific initiatives that are relevant to their socioeconomic needs for inclusion.
  • While adopting a decentralized implementation model, e-Government will be promoted through a centralised initiative to the extent necessary, to ensure citizen-centric service orientation, interoperability of multiple e-Government apps, and optimal utilization of ICT infrastructure/resources.
  • Successes would be discovered and proactively pushed for replication, with the necessary productisation and customisation as needed.
  • Wherever possible, public-private partnerships should be used to undertake e-governance projects with proper management and strategic control.
  • Adoption of a Unique ID would be encouraged in order to make identification, authentication, and benefit distribution easier.
  • The National Informatics Center (NIC) will be restructured to improve IT assistance for all government ministries at the federal and state levels.
  • At least ten major ministries will have Chief Information Officers (CIO) roles created so that diverse e-governance projects could be designed, developed, and executed more quickly. CIO roles will be at the level of Additional Secretary/Joint Secretary, with overriding IT authority in each Ministry.

Initiatives under Digital India Program

Infrastructure

Aadhaar System

The Aadhaar identification platform is one of the fundamental foundations of ‘Digital India,’ in which every citizen is given a unique identity or Aadhaar number. Aadhaar, the world’s largest biometrics-based identification system, is a strategic policy tool for social and financial inclusion, public sector service reforms, fiscal budget management, convenience, and people-centric governance. It is unique and robust enough to avoid duplicate or forged identities, and it might be used as the foundation/primary identity for a variety of government assistance systems and programs, fostering openness and good governance.

Bharat Broadband Network 

The Government of India established Bharat Broadband Network Limited as a special purpose vehicle under the Companies Act, with an authorized capital of Rs. 1000 crore. The creation of the National Optical Fiber Network (NOFN) in India has been mandated. By laying incremental fiber, a total of roughly 2,50,000 Gram Panchayats spread throughout 6,600 Blocks and 641 Districts will be covered.

Centre of Excellence For Internet of Things

The Centre of Excellence for IoT was announced as part of the Digital India Initiative to jumpstart the IoT ecosystem and enable India achieve a leadership role in the convergent field of hardware and software by using India’s IT strengths. The center’s major goal is to develop cutting-edge applications and subject expertise. In addition, the center will assist in the development of industry-ready people, a start-up community, and an IOT entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Cert-In

CERT-In was established with the goal of securing Indian cyberspace. The service provides security quality management services as well as incident prevention and response services. It has been designated as the national agency to execute the following functions in the domain of cyber security under Section 70B of the Information Technology (Amendment) Act 2008:

  • Information on cyber incidents is collected, analyzed, and disseminated; cyber security incidents are forecasted and alerted; and cyber security incidents are handled in an emergency.
  • Issue recommendations, advisories, vulnerability notes, and whitepapers relevant to information security practices, processes, cyber incident prevention, response, and reporting

Common Service Centres CSC

The CSC scheme is one of the Digital India Program’s mission mode projects. CSCs are access points for citizens in rural and distant areas of the country to receive vital public utility services, social assistance schemes, healthcare, finance, education, and agriculture services, as well as a variety of B2C services. It is a pan-India network that caters to the country’s regional, geographic, linguistic, and cultural diversity, allowing the government to achieve its goal of creating a socially, financially, and digitally inclusive society.

Cyber Swachhta Kendra

The Government of India’s Digital India initiative includes the Cyber Swachhta Kendra (Botnet Cleaning and Malware Analysis Centre), which aims to create a secure cyber space by detecting botnet infections in India and notifying, enabling cleaning, and securing end users’ systems to prevent further infections. It was established to meet the goals of the country’s ‘National Cyber Security Policy,’ which aims to create a secure cyber eco system. This center works in close partnership with Internet Service Providers and Product/Antivirus Manufacturers.

Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY)

Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY) is a flagship program of the Power Ministry (MoP) that aims to deliver uninterrupted power to rural India. The government has set a goal of electrifying 18,452 unconnected villages in 1000 days, by May 1, 2018. The DDUGJY can have a substantial impact on rural households, as energy is critical for the country’s growth and development.

DigiLocker

DigiLocker is a digital wallet that aims to empower citizens. It’s a safe, cloud-based platform for issuing, exchanging, and verifying crucial everlasting documents and certifications. By encouraging the use of digital records, it has established a new paradigm for real paperless governance. Currently, DigiLocker gives access to over 347 crore authentic digital documents issued by over 100 issuers, including the Transportation Department, the Income Tax Department, the Revenue Department, and State and Central Education Boards, among others.

Digital Saksharta Abhiyan

The Digital Saksharta Abhiyan or National Digital Literacy Mission (NDLM) Scheme was created to provide IT training to 52.5 lakh people across the country, including Anganwadi workers, ASHA workers, and approved ration dealers. The program intends to teach non-IT literate persons how to become IT literate so that they can participate actively and effectively in the democratic and developmental processes while also improving their livelihood.

Services

Accessible India Campaign and Mobile App

Sugamya Bharat Abhiyaan, or the Accessible India Program, is a national flagship campaign aimed at attaining universal accessibility, which allows individuals with disabilities to have equal access, live independently, and actively engage in all parts of life in an inclusive society. The program aims to improve the built environment, transportation system, and information and communication ecosystem’s accessibility. The mobile app is a crowd-sourcing mechanism for obtaining full information on inaccessible locations across the country. The mobile application is available for download from the relevant App Stores for IOS, Android, and Windows.

AgriMarket Mobile App

The mobile application was created with the goal of keeping farmers up to date on agricultural prices and discouraging them from conducting distress sales. The AgriMarket Mobile App allows farmers to access information about crop pricing in markets within 50 kilometers of their device. This software uses mobile GPS to automatically capture the position of farmers and retrieve market values for crops within a 50-kilometer radius. The Agmarknet portal is used to obtain agri commodity prices. The apps are currently accessible in two languages: English and Hindi.

Beti Bachao Beti Padhao

The program strives to ensure that girls are born, reared, and educated without discrimination so that they can become empowered citizens. In 100 districts, the program connects national, state, and district-level interventions with community-level action, bringing together various stakeholders for greater impact. Various videos linked to the campaign can be found on the initiative’s YouTube channel.

Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM) 

Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM) is an app that uses the Unified Payments Interface to make financial transactions simple, easy, and rapid (UPI). It allows for instant bank-to-bank payments and money collection utilizing a mobile phone or a payment address. The Bharat Interface for Money app is presently available for Android devices and can be downloaded from the Google Playstore.

Crime and Criminal Tracking Network & Systems (CCTNS)

CCTNS (Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems) is a plan scheme based on the experience of a non-plan scheme, Common Integrated Police Application (CIPA). CCTNS aims to develop a comprehensive and integrated system for improving policing efficiency and effectiveness by adopting the e-Governance principle and establishing a nationwide networking infrastructure for the evolution of an IT-enabled, state-of-the-art tracking system centered on ‘crime investigation and detection of criminals.’

Crop insurance mobile app

Crop insurance mobile app can be used to calculate insurance premiums for notified crops based on area, coverage amount, and loan amount if the farmer is a loanee. It can also be used to obtain information on any notified crop’s normal sum insured, extended sum insured, premium details, and subsidy information in any notified area.

Digital AIIMS

The construction of an effective interface between AIIMS, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology was the first stage in the Digital AIIMS project in January 2015. (MeiTY). An Aadhar platform was used to generate a unique health identification number for each patient that visited AIIMS. Every patient who came to AIIMS was given a Digital Identity thanks to the Unique Health Identification Number.

E-Panchayat

e-Panchayat is a rural e-Government program that provides a full software solution aimed at automating Gram Panchayat duties. It’s a way for panchayat representatives to interact with the rest of the world, with the goal of empowering local communities to showcase and share their social, cultural, and economic practices, tales, and challenges.

E-Biz

Infosys Technologies Limited (Infosys) is implementing eBiz under the direction and supervision of the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India. The goal of eBiz is to improve the country’s business environment by providing quick and easy access to government-to-business (G2B) services via an internet platform. This will help to cut down on unnecessary delays in the many regulatory processes that are required to start and maintain a firm.

Empowerment

Aadhaar Enabled Payment Systems AEPS

AEPS is a bank-led concept that enables online interoperable financial inclusion transactions at the point of sale (MicroATM) using Aadhaar authentication through any bank’s Business correspondent. It is a payment service that allows a bank client to access his or her Aadhaar-enabled bank account and complete basic banking operations such as balance inquiry, cash deposit, cash withdrawal, and remittances through a Business Correspondent using Aadhaar as his or her identification.

BPO Promotion Scheme (IBPS)

The India BPO Promotion Scheme (IBPS) aims to encourage the construction of 48,300 seats across the country for BPO/ITES activities. With a budget of Rs. 493 crore, it is dispersed across the states in accordance to their population. This would aid in the capacity building of smaller cities in terms of infrastructural and human resources, and would serve as the foundation for the next wave of IT/ITES-led growth. When three shift operations are included, this initiative has the potential to create roughly 1.5 lakh direct jobs. It has the potential to generate a large number of indirect jobs.

DIGIDHAN Bazaar

Citizens and merchants will be able to conduct real-time digital transactions through the DIGIDHAN Bazaar as part of the program. It intends to assist consumers in downloading, installing, and using various digital payment systems for carrying out digital transactions by holding DigiDhan Melas across the country.

MyGov platform

The Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi, unveiled the MyGov platform, which is a ground-breaking project. It is a one-of-a-kind participatory governance effort that involves the whole public. MyGov’s concept is to bring the government closer to the people through the use of an online platform that creates an interface for a healthy exchange of ideas and opinions between citizens and professionals, with the ultimate goal of contributing to India’s social and economic development.

National Mission on Education 

The National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technology (NMEICT) was conceived as a centrally sponsored scheme to harness the potential of ICT in the teaching and learning process for the benefit of all learners in Higher Education Institutions at any time and from any location. It is a ground-breaking project by the Ministry of Human Resource Development to meet all of the educational and learning demands of students, teachers, and lifelong learners.

North East BPO Promotion Scheme (NEBPS)

The North East BPO Promotion Scheme (NEBPS) has been approved under the Digital India Program to encourage BPO/ITES operations in the North East Region (NER) in order to create jobs and boost the IT-ITES industry. The following are the goals of NEBPS: 

  • Creating jobs for the local youth in NER through boosting the IT/ITES industry, particularly through the establishment of BPO/ITES enterprises. 
  • Encouragement of investment in the IT/ITES sector in the Northeast Region in order to broaden the IT industry’s base and ensure balanced regional growth.

NREGA- Soft 

NREGA plans to roll out e-Government across the state, district, and three levels of Panchayati Raj institutions. It uses information technology as a facilitator to empower the average man. NREGAsoft complies with the Right to Information Act by providing information to citizens (RTI Act). It makes all documents such as Muster Rolls, registration application registers, job cards/employment registers/muster roll issue registers, and muster roll receipt registers available to the public.

OpenForge

OpenForge is the Indian government’s platform for open collaborative e-governance application development. The government hopes to promote the usage of open source software as well as the sharing and reuse of e-governance-related source code through this platform.

OpenForge’s goals are to: 

  • Provide a platform for preserving government source code repositories and version control; Promote a culture of open collaborative application development between public agencies and private enterprises, citizens, and institutions. 
  • Deliver e-governance services and solutions of higher quality and security through increased transparency and mass peer review 
  • Reduce e-governance project costs and bring down total cost of ownership through a system of reuse, remixing, and sharing

PAY GOV India

A National Payment Service platform has been proposed for an uniform e-Government infrastructure that will provide citizens with an end-to-end transactional experience that involves accessing various services via the internet and making online payments through a payment gateway interface. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, in collaboration with NSDL Database Management Ltd (NDML), developed a common infrastructure that can be used by the Center, States, and Departments to provide a variety of services through their national and state portals, including the ability to make online payments with net banking, credit cards, and debit cards.

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