On 1 July 2015 Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched Digital India campaign to ensure that the Government services are made available to all citizens electronically by improved online infrastructure and by increasing Internet connectivity or by making the country digitally empowered in the field of technology. The initiative includes plans to connect rural areas with high-speed internet networks.
Components of Digital India Campaign –
Digital India consists of three core components
(a) development of secure and stable digital infrastructure
(b) delivering government services digitally, and
(c) universal digital literacy.
The vision of Digital India programme is inclusive growth in areas of electronic services, products, manufacturing and job opportunities etc. and it is centered on three key areas – Digital Infrastructure as a Utility to Every Citizen, Governance & Services on Demand and Digital Empowerment of Citizens.
Advantages of Digital India Campaign –
Digital India without a doubt is a very commendable project and deserves full support. It’s major advantages includes, Creation of Digital Infrastructure and Electronic Manufacturing in Native India, Digital Empowerment of Native Indian People, Delivery of all Government Services electronically (E-Governance), Digital Identification which will verify the end user, Mobile for worldwide access to all services, Bank account for Immediate Benefit Transfers of subsidies and payments etc. The program also aims to eliminate all electronics imports from foreign countries by 2020 and make India an electronics manufacturing superpower.
Drawbacks of Digital Indian Campaign –
As far no disadvantages could be noticed about the initiative we are talking about. However, the initiative also lacks many crucial components including lack of legal framework, absence of privacy and data protection laws, civil liberties abuse possibilities, lack of parliamentary oversight for e-surveillance in India.
Achievements of Digital India Campaign –
Even after all those concerns mentioned above the achievements of Digital India programme are listed below:-
- Mobile internet played an excellent role in achieving the vision of digital India. India became the second largest market of smartphones in the world. No. of internet users increased to 50 crores as of May 2017. In June 2014, no. of internet users were 24.3 crores.
- The Indian government is promoting content in local languages on the internet.
- India improved its rank in ‘United Nations e-Governance Index’ by 11 positions compared to 2014. In 2016, India’s rank is 107. In 2014, it was 118.
- No. of e-governance transactions per day was increased.
- ‘DigiLocker‘, launched in 2015 enables citizens to securely store and share documents electronically has 72.66 lakh registered users as of 2017.
- All central ministers are present in social media and are utilizing social media to receive complaints and feedback from citizens.
- Now, people can share their views, ideas, and suggestion directly to the government electronically through Narendra Modi app.
- ‘Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM)’ app, a simple UPI based mobile app for digital payments was launched in December 2016. UPI-based transactions grew more than 20 times since then. However, this growth can be attributed to demonetization move.
- ‘BHIM Aadhar’ was started for digital payments at merchant outlets. With this, payer need not have the mobile phone to make digital payment.
- Digital payments training and awareness campaigns were conducted. 2.04 crore people registered for this and were trained as of 2017.
Digital Divide and Privacy threats from Digital India Campaign –
However, despite all of this still, there is a digital divide between rural and urban areas, between poor and rich, and between young and old people. The government of India is yet to close this gap. There are many remote rural areas in India that do not have access to electricity, and some other rural areas have limited access. This is an obstacle for ‘Digital India’. Also, the majority of the people in India have no basic education. Digital literacy is difficult to achieve without primary education. American whistleblower Edward Snowden, from his asylum in Russia, and an Australian security expert Troy Hunt have raised questions on database security in India. A 2017 study by PwC and Assocham revealed attacks on Indian websites increased five times in the past four years. It noted Digital India spends minuscule amount on security.
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To reassure 1.19 billion Aadhaar users that their details cannot be accessed over platforms like WhatsApp, the Unique Identification Authority of India. There are other, equally critical data pools across Digital India platforms, with sensitive personal information about bank transactions, taxes filed, passport details, property ownership, birth certificates, photographs and so on. These reside in systems of Passport Seva, GSTN, e-governance portals, income tax e-filing, UIDAI, and others. Data across systems and agencies is increasing every minute. A few lakh people apply for Aadhaar every month or go to its centers to update or correct information. India has come a long way in digitalization and has a long way to go to achieve the vision of Digital India. We can clearly see the difference in no. of internet users and improved e-governance. But there is still digital illiteracy in many parts of India. ‘Digital India’ will be a success when its benefits are available to each and every citizen of India.