India's dream to bring internet revolution seems to be on the right track as the government is likely to spend Rs. 1.13 trillion to connect all gram panchayats by broadband internet, promote e-governance and transform India into a connected knowledge economy through Digital India Program. This beginning of new digital era now envisions to create 10 lakh digitally literate citizens across India yet the scale of this transformation is still uncertain.
According to a report by CPP, an effective delivery mechanism is required by India.
India is still lagging behind from the developed countries and needs the well-focused government initiatives in a number of areas to remain at par with them and technological boom could be one of the major factors in elevating the scale.
A technologically advanced nation is connected by the nodes of growth and development but to realize the dream of a “Digital India” the rural population must be trained properly to be an equitable part of the revolution. Government must make simultaneous investments towards opening learning hubs in remotest villages of the country so as to make the population ready for the massive revolution. Moreover, NGO’s can be aided for organizing training, workshops and seminars to make this initiative a success.
The vision of PM Modi’s, digitally empowered knowledge economy is basically targeted towards involving the common man in the decision making and avail them with the government services in real time on online and mobile platform. The initiative also focuses on making financial transactions electronic and cashless while redefining the paradigms of education and financial services. But the ground reality and current picture is entirely different and hence to bring the changes at the grassroot level will be quiet a difficult task for the government.
The most highlighting promise of this revolutionary initiative would be to help and develop the rural India through online adoption. Ravi Shankar Prasad, IT and telecom minister said that the priority is to take up the plan to connect 2,50,000 gram panchayats through the optic fibre network. Rs 21,000-crore has been funded by the USOF to digitally connect 2,50,000 gram panchayats. Enabling a digitally connected India, citizens in the remotest corner can enjoy services like e-banking, health facilities (connect to specialists & get the best diagnosis) e-shopping, access to a world of infinite knowledge at one click etc. The much-awaited Cabinet Clearance can ensure a better educated population much equipped to compete on a global platform, contributing equally to the economy.
CPP believes that the promises to change the life in rural India would provide the much needed thrust to the pillars of growth areas, ensuring overall integration and development of real India. If the governments at the state level can play their defined roles and take the responsibilities, the day is not far when the rural India will also have the modern amenities, which the urban India has access to, this will also facilitate in bringing a balanced economic equilibrium.
We must recognize the huge opportunities the Digital India program can create only after taking care of the risks to security and privacy the Internet brings with it. To reach the people at large, the government must nurture the development of a healthy Internet ecosystem to ensure sustainable development in improving governance, widening democratic space and increasing productivity.
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Centre for Public Policy
Centre for Public Policy