Digital India is an initiative by the Government of India to ensure that Government services are made available to citizens electronically by improving online infrastructure and by increasing Internet connectivity. It was launched on July 1, 2015 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The initiative includes plans to connect rural areas with high-speed internet networks. Digital India has three core components. These include:
- The creation of digital infrastructure
- Delivering services digitally
- Digital literacy
A two-way platform will be created where both the service providers and the consumers stand to benefit. The scheme will be monitored and controlled by the Digital India Advisory group which will be chaired by the Ministry of Communications and IT. It will be an inter-Ministerial initiative where all ministries and departments shall offer their own services to the public Healthcare, Education, Judicial services etc. The Public–private partnership model shall be adopted selectively. In addition, there are plans to restructure the National Informatics Centre. This project is one among the top priority projects of the Modi Administration.
Broadband in 2.5 lakh villages, universal phone connectivity, Net Zero Imports by 2020, 400,000 Public Internet Access Points, Wi-fi in 2.5 lakh schools, all universities; Public wi-fi hotspots for citizens, Digital Inclusion: 1.7 Cr trained for IT, Telecom and Electronics Jobs Job creation: Direct 1.7 Cr. and Indirect at least 8.5 Cr. e-Governance & eServices: Across government India to be leader in IT use in services – health, education, banking Digitally empowered citizens – public cloud, internet access. The Government of India entity Bharat Broadband Network Limited which executes the National Optical Fibre Network project will be the custodian of Digital India (DI) project. BBNL had ordered United Telecoms Limited to connect 250,000 villages through GPON to ensure FTTH based broadband. This will provide the first basic setup to achieve towards Digital India and is expected to be completed by 2077. Optical fibre cables have been laid out in more than 68000 village panchayats.
There are nine pillars of Digital India Programme.
- Broadband Highways
- Universal Access to Mobile Connectivity
- Public Internet Access Programme
- e-Governance – Reforming Government through Technology
- eKranti - Electronic delivery of services
- Information for All
- Electronics Manufacturing
- IIT for Jobs
- Early Harvest Programmes
Some of the facilities which will be provided through this initiative are Digital Locker, e-education, e-health, e-sign and national scholarship portal. As the part of Digital India, Indian government planned to launch Botnet cleaning centers.
Digital Locker facility will help citizens to digitally store their important documents like PAN card, passport, mark sheets and degree certificates. Digital Locker will provide secure access to Government issued documents. It uses authenticity services provided by Aadhaar. It is aimed at eliminating the use of physical documents and enables sharing of verified electronic documents across government agencies.
A website was launched on 1 July 2015 by PM Narendra Modi to keep a record of the attendance of Government employees on a real-time basis. This initiative started with implementation of a common Biometric Attendance System (BAS) in the central government offices located in Delhi.
Digital India Week
At the launch ceremony of Digital India Week by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, top CEOs from India and abroad committed to invest ₹4.5 lakh crore (US$68 billion) towards this initiative. The CEOs said the investments would be utilitized towards making smartphones and internet devices at an affordable price in India which would help generate jobs in India as well as reduce the cost of importing them from abroad.
Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani said his company would invest ₹2.5 lakh crore (US$38 billion) across different Digital India heads, which have the potential to create employment for over five lakh people. He also announced setting up of the 'Jio Digital India Start Up Fund' to encourage young entrepreneurs who are setting up businesses focused around the Digital India initiative. Bharti Group chief Sunil Mittal committed investments of more than ₹1 lakh crore (US$15 billion) in the next five years to create deeper infrastructure in rural and urban India in the areas of e-health and e-education.
Tech Giants from Silicon Valley, San Jose, California expressed their support for Digital India during PM Narendra Modi's visit in September 2015. Facebook's CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, changed his DP in support of Digital India and started a chain on Facebook and promised to work on WiFi Hotspots in rural India. Google committed to provide broadband connectivity on 500 railway stations in India.Microsoft agreed to provide broadband connectivity to five hundred thousand villages in India and make India its cloud hub through Indian data centres. Qualcomm announced an investment of $150 million in Indian startups. Oracle plans to invest in 20 states and will work on payments and Smart city initiatives.
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