What Does PM Modi’s Digital India Mean For Indians?

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The aim of the Digital India campaign is to guarantee digital literacy and broadband Internet connectivity to all citizens across the country and ensure the seamless delivery of government services to them, thus empowering the people and enabling better administration. The scheme is designed to work under and alongside other Govt. of India initiatives such as Make in India, BharatNet, Startup India, Standup India and Dedicated Freight Corridors. The program is driven by the grand ambition of connecting the entirety of the subcontinent and its people within one national Internet-powered digital mainframe, with a special emphasis on bringing even the most rural of areas into the fold.

The Government of India has initiated the Digital India program with a three-step plan in place: 1) Build a secure and reliable digital infrastructure; 2) Deliver government services to all citizens digitally using the aforementioned system and 3) Empower citizens by making universal digital literacy a priority.

With international support from countries and industrial giants alike, the Digital India program is, without a doubt, an impressive initiative by the Indian leadership. But what does Digital India mean for the daily lives of the Indian people?

With the Digital India program, Indian citizens will all be able enjoy various services such as e-shopping, e-health, e-sign, e-education, the national scholarship portal and the Digital Locker, to name a few. The purpose of the Digital India scheme is to empower Indian citizens, educate them in digital/ Internet communications and technologies, and provide them the infrastructures and support systems they need to be able to live fulfilled lives and interact with their government representatives.

The eHospital application has been created to assist patients seeking medical attention/ care by speeding up the process through services such as making online registrations and bookings, transferring payments for the same digitally, requesting and receiving diagnostic reports and seeking potentially life-saving information such as the availability of blood for transfusions.

The eSign framework has been designed to enable citizens to sign documents online digitally, incorporating their Aadhaar identification details for verification.

The Digital Locker is an essential service that allows its users to put their essential documents into digital safekeeping. All kinds of important papers, from the passport, PAN card and other identity cards to degrees, diplomas and mark sheets can be stored in the Digital Locker. Not only do Digital Lockers eliminate many of the security risks encountered with traditional lockers, they also cut out the need for physical documents and make for speedier communication and sharing between citizens and government institutions.

The e-Sampark vernacular e-mail service is a desirable solution to bridge the digital literacy barrier between the urban and rural populations of India by taking into consideration the fact that English -the universal language for digital communications- is used by a very small number of the Indian people. Since e-mail addresses can only be registered in English, much of the rural Indian population is, by default, alienated by the digital platform. The Govt. of India is in conversation with leading global e-mail providers to incorporate vernacular Indian languages in their services.

The government intends to use its digital infrastructure to engage more actively with its citizens. The MyGov.in platform has been designed to invite inputs, opinions and recommendations from the citizenry on matters of polity and administration. The government has formulated the ‘Discuss, Do and Disseminate’ mantra to help create active participation, awareness and ownership amongst citizens on issues of national importance.

Another application of the Digital India program is the introduction of the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) mobile application. The campaign aims to promote a cleaner, healthier environment across India and the mobile app is being used by government institutions, officials and citizens to further the cause of a more environmentally responsible society.

Other ways in which the Digital India dream stands to empower the average citizen is through efforts to guarantee reliable Internet access in all Indian villages, eradicate corruption and black money using data analytics, generate employment opportunities in the thousands for BPOs all over the country, promote national growth in the mobile and telecommunications centers by reducing dependency and expenditure on import of smartphones and internet devices and services from abroad, and encourage accountability and productivity in government employees through the Biometric Attendance System (BAS) in Delhi.

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