“Digital India, Digital Bharat, Digital Marketing, Digital Growth”.
These words must be buzzing around you for quite a while now. But can you relate how Digital word has become popular in India?
It’s probably the outcome of the Digital India Program that is running in our country.
On July 1, 2015, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a program- Digital India with a vision to transform India into a digitally empowered nation. The program aims at enriching every single individual with the digital power and ultimately boosting the nation’s economy.
The Digital India Programme lay massive importance on transforming both the government and public services through the use of more digital technology.
In order to transform the public services through the use of information technology, the Government of India had launched the Digital India programme with the vision to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy.
“We want to have one mission and target: Take the nation forward- Digitally and Economically”
– Narendra Modi
To get a deep insight of where the Digital India Program stands today, let’s first see what exactly the visions of the government with this program were:
Digital Infrastructure as a Utility to Every Citizen
The major reason for the Digital India program was to make the availability of high-speed internet super easy. The internet facility should reach the remotest villages in India. Thereby, with this availability, the public services would be delivered to every village and city in India at ease.
Governance & Services on Demand
Providing people with the internet is not just enough. The services must be available in real time to the end users. This would also help to keep the records of citizens of India on a portable cloud platform.
Digital Empowerment of Citizens
One of the broader mission of the Digital India program stands to educate people through the means of internet. Enable citizens to empower themselves with the help of the resources available on the internet. The focus was laid on serving the facilities and services over the digital medium in their regional languages.
It has been more than 3 years since the launch of the Digital India Program, and it seems quite interesting to know of the achievements and failure of the same.
Let’s look at the brighter side of the Digital India Program:
Growth in Internet Users
Over the 3 years, Mobile internet played an excellent role in accomplishing the vision of digital India. India became the second largest market of smartphones in the world after China. The number of internet users increased to 462 million in India as of January 2018.
Digital Help and Support
The government has been able to help common people through the means of digital platforms better than ever before. For instance, from crop health to seed procurement, soil health, use of fertilizers
and pesticides; farmers in Punjab can now get immediate advice on the same via a WhatsApp group that includes agricultural experts.
Digital Growth in Governance
Following the Digital reform, India improved its rank in ‘United Nations eGovernance Index’ by 22 positions compared to 2014. Today, India stands at 96th position in 2018 in the same list as compared to 2014 where India was ranked at 118.
The Monetisation Effect
The value of NEFT transactions had risen up from INR 988,000 crore in September 2016 i.e. just two months before demonetisation to INR 14,182,000 crore in September 2017, and to INR 18,015,000 crore in September 2018. That’s almost 2x in the transaction amount. Not only this, but mobile banking transactions also saw an increase from INR 2,700 crore in September 2015 to INR 104,300 crore in 2016, and to INR 186,200 crore in 2017.
Demonetisation played a massive role in the use of the digital mode of payment. Though the complete affair wasn’t successful in curbing the black money, it had a positive impact on digitizing India.
Digital Document Sharing
DigiLocker launched in 2015 presents the citizens to store and share documents electronically securely. As of Nov 2018, the same platform has more than 3 Billion authentic digital documents uploaded by Indian citizens. The service is meant to reduce the need to carry physical documents and is part of the government’s Digital India initiative.
The government launched Bharat Interface for Money app in 2016 for UPI based transactions and these transactions have grown 20 times since then.
Pradhan Mantri Gramin Digital Saksharta Abhiyan ‘(PMGDISHA) was started with the goal of making 6 crore persons digitally literate. More than 1 crore people have already been trained under this scheme as of 2018.
The government has been able to successfully accomplish many of the promises they made in terms of Digital growth. Apart from the aforementioned achievements, the government also set up a National Cyber Coordination Centre in 2017 to ensure cyber security. eNAM was also structured to connect agriculture produce markets digitally.
The program definitely managed to generate euphoria and fanfare but the government’s efforts also faced criticism for failing at few instances. Here’s a brief on the same:
Issues in Services
Several people have raised complaints on the services provided by the Department of Telecommunication. Thousands of people are struggling with completing their online transactions due to an improper mobile network. People are also criticizing the DoT for not verifying whether their complaints have been resolved or not.
Issues in Infrastructure
This is one of those drawbacks that the rural areas face the most. The government has failed to establish the mobile towers needed to cover the rural areas. Because of this, network gaps have been created.
Though it has been only three years to the program, the government needs to pull up their socks and speed up the process of digitizing the entire nation.
What do you feel about the success or failure of the Government’s Digital India program?
Has the government’s effort to empower the nation digitally made a positive impact in your life?
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