Digital India is a flagship programme of the present government to empower India and Indians using technology. More significantly, it is a transformational initiative incorporating the spirit of “sabka saath” to create a new India by ensuring “sabka vikas”.
An ambitious programme:
Digital India aims to bridge the gap between the digital haves and have-nots. Digital India BRIDGE (Bringing Revolution In Digital Governance and Economy) channelises initiatives like Aadhaar, eSign, digital lockers, Aadhaar Pay and BHIM (Bharat Interface for Money) to offer citizen-centric services at marginal costs — or zero cost. The trinity of Jan Dhan, Aadhaar and mobile (JAM) uses more than 116 crore Aadhaar cards, 118 crore mobile phones, including 40 crore smart phones, 110 crore bank accounts, including 29 crore Jan Dhan accounts, to bring about inclusive development.
Transforming lives of poor– The government has been able to tap the true potential of the Aadhaar platform by using it to transform the lives of the poor, and strengthen digital governance. The use of Aadhaar enables nearly 3 crore e-authentications everyday at no cost. Citizens can get new mobile connections, open bank accounts or avail government services based on Aadhaar-based e-KYC in a paperless manner.Good governance– Digital India has been a driver of good governance, epitomising the government’s credo of “Minimum Government, Maximum Governance”. Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) is an example of that. Earlier welfare schemes had to pass through layers of bureaucracy at the Centre and states, as well as at the district, block and panchayat levels. Their implementation would get delayed by months and involved administrative overheads.Direct transfers of cooking gas subsidies (PAHAL), ration subsidies — through the public distribution system — MGNREGA wages, scholarships and many other entitlements have ensured transparency and also saved Rs 57,000 crore of public money.Rural transformation–
Common Service Centres (CSCs) have been galvanised into becoming agents of rural transformation. Women, tribal people and Dalits have used CSCs to become digital entrepreneurs, transforming their own lives and the lives of others in the process.
Digital literacy initiatives are further helping in bridging the digital divide. Under the new Pradhan Mantri Gramin Digital Saksharta Abhiyan (PMGDISHA) programme, another six crore adults are to be made digitally literate in the next two years.
The Rural BPO scheme is another initiative to take the IT industry to smaller towns and cities. This will not only uplift the employment ecosystem in small towns but will also help in reducing migration to cities.
The online registration system, e-Hospital, has empowered patients in rural India. They can seek appointments in AIIMS and other big hospitals from their villages without having to wait for days in Delhi or other big cities. More than 170 government hospitals have been brought on the digital platform.
Rural electrification is happening at an unprecedented pace; this can be easily tracked on the Garv mobile app.Transparency– Digital payments which got a boost after demonetisation will bring transparency and accountability in the economy. Prices have fallen and tax collections have risen. India’s unique innovations in the field of digital payments such as BHIM, UPI (Unified Payments Interface), USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data) and Aadhaar Pay have offered affordable digital payment solutions to people. Steep growth has been registered in digital transactions in the last six months.Agricultural sector- Soil health cards and e-NAM (e National Agricultural Mandi) are programmes to empower farmers.
More than eight crore soil health cards have been issued, helping farmers save crores on their inputs.
The e-NAM brings together disparate mandis into a single marketplace. More than 450 mandis and 48 lakh farmers use e-NAM today and 585 mandis across the country are expected to be integrated on the portal by the end of this year.
Digital India is one of the biggest government programmes in the world to bring about sustainable and inclusive societal transformation using digital technologies. The process of making India into a trillion-dollar digital economy has begun and Digital India is making this dream a reality. Digital India will surely create a new India.