GS Mains Model Question & Answer: Discuss the vision, scope
and challenges of Digital India Project
Q. Discuss the vision, scope and challenges of Digital
India Project . (12.5 Marks)
(General Studies Mains Paper III- Science and Technology: Awareness in the
fields of IT)
Model Answer :
Digital India is a Programme to prepare India for a knowledge future. Prime
Minsiter of India has laid emphasis on National e- governance plan and has gave
approval for Digital India – A programme to transform India into digital
empowered society and knowledge economy.
Vision of Digital India
The vision of Digital India programme aims at inclusive growth in areas of
electronic services, products, manufacturing and job opportunities etc. It is
centred on three key areas –
- Digital Infrastructure as a Utility to Every Citizen
- Governance & Services on Demand and
- Digital Empowerment of Citizens
Scope of Digital India
The overall scope of this programme is:
(i) to prepare India for a knowledge future.
(ii) on being transformative that is to realize IT (Indian Talent) + IT
(Information Technology) = IT (India Tomorrow)
(iii) making technology central to enabling change.
(iv) on being an Umbrella Programme – covering many departments.
- The programme weaves together a large number of ideas and thoughts into
a single, comprehensive vision, so that each of them is seen as part of a
larger goal. Each individual element stands on its own, but is also part of
the larger picture.
- The weaving together makes the Mission transformative in totality.
(v) The Digital India Programme will pull together many existing schemes
which would be restructured and re-focused and implemented in a synchronized
manner. The common branding of the programmes as Digital India, highlights their
Nine Pillars of Growth Areas
The initiative introduces nine "pillars" that the government will expand on,
in its push to try to bridge the country's digital divide. The significance of
each pillar and what challenges the government faces in trying to implement
Digital India aims to have broadband networks that will span India's cities,
towns and 250,000 villages by end-2016, along with a system of networks and data
centres called the National Information Infrastructure.
This project needs content and service partnerships with telecom companies
and other firms, with new entrepreneurs.
Universal Access to Phones
"Universal access" does not, however, guarantee a working network. Even in
its major cities, India's mobile network is so stressed that many say it's
broken, with call failures and drops a common complaint.
An intense shortage of spectrum has driven up costs and driven down service
quality for India's telecom industry.
As users ramp up multimedia use, and the next 100 million mobile broadband
users come on board, networks will not be able to keep up. Digital India needs
Public Internet Access
This aims to increase the number of government-run facilities (Common Service
Centres or CSC) that provide digital services to citizens, especially in remote
or rural areas with low connectivity.
The objective is to increase the 140,000 facilities to 250,000, or one in
nearly every village. It also aims to convert 150,000 post offices into
multi-service centres. The vision is that the longest distance a villager or
tribesperson should have to travel should be to the nearest CSC.
e-Governance: Reforming Government through Technology
Of all the "pillars" of Digital India, this is the oldest and most mature
Experts say that almost every e-governance project that India needs has been
successfully piloted somewhere in the country. The daunting task for Digital
India will be to take successful pilot projects, replicate and scale them up.
e-Kranti - Electronic Delivery of Services
e-Kranti comprises 41 large e-governance initiatives, called
"mission mode projects". They span e-education (all schools to get broadband and
free wi-fi, as well as MOOCs - Massive Online Open Courses), e-Healthcare and
technology for farming, security, financial inclusion, justice, planning and
Information for All
This set of web, mobile and social media platforms aims to connect citizens
with the government. It is already well under way, both on social media, and the
citizen portal MyGov.in.
But critics say that these digital channels are used mostly
in broadcast mode, with Mr Modi responding to very few, filtered, questions, and
no criticism, especially from media. His supporters say he uses them to connect
directly to citizens, bypassing media.
This plan aims for "net zero imports" in electronics, or imports that match
exports by value, by 2020.
The plan includes incentives for big chip fabrication as well for mobile and
set-top box manufacturers, and clusters and incubators for start-ups.
That's probably the biggest push and global image makeover being attempted by
the Modi government, via its "Make in India" campaign launched last year.
Critics of the programme say that the "manufacturing first" focus can slow
progress when the objective should be on something else, like education (such as
with the UPA government's Aakaash tablet programme).
IT for Jobs
This is a project to train 10 million students from smaller towns and
villages for IT sector jobs over five years.
The challenge here is not just the numbers, but quality. The technology
sector increasingly finds that the dwindling manpower resources available for
its jobs are under-trained and mismatched to its needs.
Early Harvest Programmes
For instance, a new messaging platform for government
employees has over 13 million mobiles and 2 million emails in the database;
biometric attendance for all central government offices in Delhi, wi-fi in
universities and in public locations, eBooks in schools, SMS-based weather
information, disaster alerts.
For instance, the project aims to provide secure email as the primary form of
communications within the government, and to the outside world.