Convergence Plus
Monday, April 19, 2021
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Digital India is a program to transform India into digital empowered society and knowledge economy.

By Mr. Vinay Chopra, Director, Keith Electronics

Digital India is a program to transform India into digital empowered society and knowledge economy. It is an ambitious program from Government of India projected at Rs 1,13,000 Crores. This will be for delivering good governance to citizens by synchronized and co-ordinated engagement with both Central & State Government. This program has been prepared by Department of Electronics and Information Technology and will impact on Ministry of Communications & IT, Ministry of Rural Development, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Ministry of Health and others. The vision of Digital India is to transform the country into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy. It would ensure that government services are available to every citizen electronically.

The vision of this program is to provide the intensified impetus for progress for e-Governance and would promote inclusive growth that covers electronic services, products, devices, manufacturing and job opportunities. Digitally empowerment of citizens will pay emphasis on universal digital literacy and availability of digital resources/services in Indian languages. This program was started in 2014 and will be completed in 2018 in phased manner. Funding for most of the e-Governance projects at present are arranged through budgetary provisions of respective ministries/departments in the central or state governments.

The Vision of Digital India is centered on,

Digital infrastructure as a utility to every citizen: Availability of high speed internet as a core utility for delivery of services, cradle to grave digital identity for lifelong, online and authenticable, easy access to a common service centre, shareable private space on a public cloud, safe and secure cyber-space for every citizen.

Governance and Services on Demand: Seamlessly integrated services across departments or jurisdictions, availability of services in real time from online & mobile platforms, digitally transformed services for improving business, making financial transactions electronic & cashless, GIS for decision support systems & development

Digital empowerment of citizens: Universal digital literacy, availability of digital resources / services in Indian languages, digital platforms for participative governance, submission of government documents / certificates

This Digital India program aims to offer a unique platform for government services, would use the mobile phone as the backbone of its delivery mechanism. Government wants to ensure that all the services can be provided through a mobile handset, especially, health, education, various government services and retail.

Open access to broadband highways across various cities, towns and villages would give a fillip to trade across the country and surge in e-commerce. The main backbone of Digital India is National Optic Fibre Network (NOFN) Project. Indian government will implement it through state-run public sector units Bharat Sanchar Nigam, Power Grid Corporation and RailTel.

NOFN project (estimated to cost Rs 20,000 Cr) is managed by Bharat Broadband Network Ltd (BBNL). A World Bank study has estimated that a 10% increase in the broadband connectivity leads to 1.38% increase in Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

At present OFC (Optical Fibre Cable) connectivity is available in all State Capitals, Districts, HQs and up to the Block Level. NOFN will be used to connect 2, 50,000 Gram Panchayats of the country, utilizing the existing optical fiber of PSUs (BSNL, Railtel and Power Grid) and extending it to all Gram Panchayats by laying incremental fiber wherever necessary. Thus connectivity gap between Gram Panchayats and Blocks will be filled.

Non-discriminatory access to the NOFN will be provided to all the Service Providers. These service providers like Telecom Service Providers (TSPs), ISPs, Cable TV operators and Content providers can launch various services in rural areas. It is proposed to be completed in 2 years’ time. The project will be funded by the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF).NOFN will facilitate Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) applications like e-Commerce, e-Banking, e- Governance, e-Education, and tele-medicine with high speed internet connectivity. (source: Convergence Plus Bureau)

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