By Somali K Chakrabarti
1st July 2015, marked the launch of the much spoken about Digital India week with much fanfare at the Indira Gandhi Indoor stadium in New Delhi to realize the vision of a Digitally connected India that will transform the lives of 1.2 billion Indian citizens.
Attended by who’s who of India’s corporate world and by the top executives of a number of foreign companies, the launch earmarked the start of a program to bring digital revolution to the masses.
While the Industry leaders made their brief remarks on how they will contribute to the initiative , the highlight of the program was the PM’s speech, where he successfully sold the story of a digitally connected India and presented the government’s road-map for digitizing India.
An admirable part of Narendra Modi’s speech is how he connects the need for development with the day to day needs of the people. For those who missed the PM’s speech here are a few salient points that explain how a digitally connected India can empower and transform the lives of 1.25 billion citizens of the country.
Bridging the Digital Divide
- The PM highlighted that the growth of IT in India has helped a section of IT savvy population to progress. But this has also widened the gap between the digitally empowered and those who are not. The aim of Digital India mission is to bridge the gap between the digitally empowered citizens and those who are bereft of the benefits of digitization.
- He said that earlier settlements and cities were formed near the river beds, nowadays people like to stay at places from where they have proximity to the highway, and this will further change in future as people will prefer to live in areas connected by information highways. This is indicative of the fact that connecting the rural areas help in spreading all round development by will connecting farming communities with digital world.
- Pointing out that even kids nowadays reach out for your cell to fiddle with, rather than for your specs or pen, Modi said that we need to take cognizance of this change and mould ourselves.
Free from queues and documents
- One of the greatest hassles faced by the citizens are the long queues in which people have to stand for filing any application. Digitization will save citizens from queuing up in front of offices and provide the ease of filing application digitally from home or workplace and e-signing the documents. The documents that are required to be attached with the applications can be accessed from the eLockers that all citizens will be provided with.
- Medical files making appointments at hospitals, getting reports will be enabled digitally.
Protection against cyber-crimes
- With digitization comes the threat of increase in cyber crimes. Cyber wars are the new kind of bloodless wars that pose a threat to people and India needs to be equipped to face any cyber attacks.
National Digital Literacy Mission
- The essential requisite for spreading the benefits of digitization is digital literacy. National Digital Literacy Mission aims to achieve digital literacy starting from schools and percolating down to the village level.
From IT services to Electronic Goods Manufacturing Hub
- A point raised by the PM was that while India has carved a name for itself in the field of IT services, but we largely depend on import of Electronic products. Now it is time that India starts manufacturing Electronics goods, designing them as per local needs and also for exports. Emphasizing that the govt aims to stop net import of electronics by 2020, he urged the industry and the startups to Make In India, and assured of conducive policies to create an environment for growth.
The Prime Minister was quick to observe that Rs 4.5 lakh crore investment has been committed for Digital India and employment for 18 lakh people.
He appeared confident that with 975 million mobile users and 300 million internet users, India is set to transform into a Digitally Developed Democracy, with technology playing a big role in realizing the dream of minimum government, maximum governance.
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