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DIGITAL INDIA PROGRAMME – Government of India Digital Initiative

Updated on: 10 Aug, 2023 03:10 PM

Government of India with a vision of transforming India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge-driven economy launched Digital India Programme.

To bring a transformative change in the country it started to focus on Three IT's

  1. IT is Indian Talent
  2. IT stands for Information Technology
  3. IT stands for India Tomorrow

Indian Talent + Information Technology = India Tomorrow


Indian Government with an initiative to make Government's services available for the citizens electronically by improving digital infrastructure launched Digital India Programme. By increasing Internet connectivity and by making the country digitally empowered in the field of technology and information it aims to provide government services online to every village in the county. The initiative includes plans to connect rural areas with high-speed internet networks and optic fiber cables networks.

The Digital India core components are:

  • To develop secure and stable digital infrastructure.
  • Delivering government services digitally.
  • Universal digital literacy.

Digital India Programme is an Umbrella Programme. A large number of thoughts and ideas are weaved into a comprehensive vision towards a larger goal. It covers multiple Government Ministries and Departments. Every government department is like a small part of the larger picture. Digital India is coordinated by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.

Digital India programme aims to pull many existing schemes and restructure them with the assistance of digital technologies and provide them to the citizens in a much easier and better way. Many existing schemes and programmes can be improved with a minimal cost, adding a digital interface to the programmes will give a huge awareness about the process of the schemes. Digital India became a common branding for all the existing schemes with a transformative impact.

Digital India programme : Inauguration

The Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi launched the Digital India campaign on 1 July 2015. The objective is to connect rural areas with high-speed Internet networks and improve digital literacy. The vision of the Digital India programme is inclusive growth in areas of electronic services, manufacturing sector, and creating job opportunities.

Top industrialists and businessmen like Mukesh Ambani (RIL), Ratan Tata (TATA), Azim Premji (WIPRO), etc., were present during the inauguration ceremony in Delhi. In the meeting, many ideas were proposed and shared between them and government officials, to digitalize the country by evoking the internet revolution in the country. Many IT companies showed a positive attitude towards the programme and promised to help in improving the digital and IT services to reach every citizen in India.

Digital India programme is both enabler and beneficiary of other key Government schemes, such as

  1. BharatNet
  2. Make in India
  3. Startup India
  4. Standup India
  5. Industrial corridors
  6. Bharatmala
  7. Sagarmala
  8. E-Kranti

Digital Services under the Digital India programme

A Few schemes and digital services under Digital India campaign are launched to unveil the campaign. Some of them are

  • DigiLockers
  • Swachh Bharat Mission mobile App
  • National Scholarship Portal
  • E-education
  • E-sign
  • E-health

And many other services are started under Digital India campaign.

Need for Digital India Programme

Indian Government launched the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) in 2006. But the e-Governance initiatives and ideas were put forth in the mid-90s for various departmental and sectoral applications with an emphasis on citizen-centric services. Individually many state governments started e-governance programmes and implemented in the states, but they made the less desired impact. After that, more than 30 mission mode projects were initiated covering various domains of government services. Despite the implementation of the various projects the desired impact and output was lacked to reach the objectives.

The government discovered a lot more thrust is needed to ensure e-Governance in the country. To promote the growth of electronic services, products, devices and in creating job opportunities there is a need for digital education among the citizens. And electronic manufacturing has to be strengthened to provide electronic peripherals to provide IT services.

At present India, with 136.5 crore population, we are the second most populous country in the world.

Example: Need for Digital India

Government is distributing the vaccine for new disease in a village with a population of 5000 people. Generally, it takes 3 to 4 days to distribute the vaccine in the village and collect the data of the villagers. If the distribution of the vaccine is done across the country simultaneously. To know the progress of the vaccine distribution, every village panchayat must be linked to a centralized system.

Obstacles to Digital India Programme

Digital India Programme started with a vision of transforming India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge-driven economy. But the results are not good as they were expected, the programme appeared great on paper but lacked far behind in execution.

The major obstacles in implementation are

  1. Low internet connectivity.
  2. The decrease in internet connectivity speed, even when connected to 4G networks.
  3. Language barriers across the country in different states.
  4. Poor digital literacy among adults and old age people.
  5. Lack of awareness about new technologies and difficulty in adopting among illiterate people.

Looking at the problem in another perspective, smartphones are made available at cheaper prices but people don't know how to use them. Particularly in the villages and rural areas. Our education system also plays a major role in development, but it is under-resourced and provides lower IT awareness, as a result, there are many technologically handicapped users. The most feasible method of achieving e-Governance is by restructuring the education system to introduce digital learning from an early age and through IT awareness programmes.

To achieve the mission of Digital India, parallel reforms in multidisciplinary areas need to be initiated. Different viewpoint about digital technology that exists in the country needs to be bridged. State governments must be supportive in equipping the National Optical Fibre Network in rural villages throughout the country to enable high-speed connectivity.

BharatNet failure

BharatNet is the world’s largest rural broadband connectivity project of connecting over 2.5 lakh gram panchayats with faster broadband providing 100 Mbps speed. It is a government of India Undertaking, the project is handled by Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) and Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL).

Due to the lack of ownership and coordination between BSNL and BBNL BharatNet Project could not become a success.

The statistics show that, after spending nearly Rs.40,000 crores for seven years, the project has failed to deliver the objective of triggering a broadband revolution in the country. As promised it has to connect 2.5 lakh gram panchayats by March 2019, but Optical fiber cable is laid only in 1,26,318 gram panchayats and 1,18,104 gram panchayats have fully functional broadband connections.

Reasons for BharatNet failure

Actual broadband connections are misused by many government officials across the country. Whereas, access to the usage of broadband connectivity is limited to other users in the gram panchayats which worked as another drawback in the desired digital transformation. Also, because of poor planning and lack of coordination BBNL has just delivered only 50% of the project promised earlier.

To give an alternative direction for the success of BharatNet project, State governments must be involved in the project to get the complete support at the root level. The project should be competitive among the states governments, states must see it as a smaller part of a larger vision and complete the project as soon as possible. A quick decision is to be taken for the completion of BharatNet project. If BharatNet project is not completed and implemented successfully, Digital India Programme will be remembered just as a slogan.

Private Players In Digital India Programme

Reliance Jio Infocomm is playing a major role in the Digital India programme both directly and indirectly. After the inception of Reliance Jio as a telecom operator, India stands in rank 2 among the top countries with the highest number of Internet users.

As per the Internet world stats, there are 56 crore internet users in India up to 31 March 2019. The internet pricing strategy of Jio made other telecom operators to cut down the data prices. As a result, 4G services become cheaper than expected. This situation boosted Digital India Programme indirectly.

JIo fiber optic network spans over 300,000 km, It has been installing optic fiber aggressively for the last 4 years. It shows the commitment between government (BBNL) and private players.

The increase in smartphone sales and cheaper data rates has lead to a direct increase in the use of different services online.

Key factors to the success of Digital India

As of 1 April 2019, India had a 136.5 crore people (1.36 billion) of population, 123 crores (1.23 billion) Aadhaar digital biometric identity cards, 121 crores (1.21 billion) mobile phones, 44.6 crores (446 million) smartphones, 56 crores (560 million) internet users.

  • Some of the state governments achieved a great mile in digitizing the services in their state with varied programmes. But to achieve the overall vision there must be a clear collaboration between the state and the central government to achieve the Digital India targets.
  • Digital India programme focuses on Indian Talent (IT), for transformative change. The Education system should be restructured to improve the skill level of students. Through the major headlines in the past it has been witnessed that majority of the graduates does possess requisite skill set for being employed.
  • In every village, digital India helpdesk and training centers related to specific services and schemes under its ecosystem must be established.It will increase the awareness and reduce the gap of technologically handicapped users.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q- How Digital India is helpful?

Digital India Programme is an umbrella programme which pulls various existing schemes and services under its roof by providing a digital interface to make the process smoother and faster. It helps in giving the awareness of different schemes and government services available online.

Q- What is DIP?

DIP stands for Digitize India Platform. This platform offers government agencies to transform themselves into digital enterprises giving rewards to the data entry works done by digital contributors.

Q- What are the 9 pillars under Digital India?

Nine pillars of Digital India are

  1. Broadband Highways
  2. Mobile Connectivity
  3. Public Internet Access
  4. e-Kranti
  5. Information for All
  6. IT for Jobs
  7. E-governance
  8. Early Harvest Programmes
  9. Electronics Manufacturing

Q- What is a Digital India Vision?

Delivering government services electronically and transforming the country into a digitally empowered society with knowledge-driven economy is the vision of Digital India Programme.

Q- List of services under Digital India?

Digital India Programme is an Umbrella programme for pulling all the new and existing services under one roof. A few Digital India services are

  1. Sugamya Bharat Abhiyaan or Accessible India Campaign (Mobile App)
  2. Agrimarket App
  3. Beti Bachao Beti Padhao
  4. BHIM (Bharat Interface for Money) and Unified Payment Interface (UPI)
  5. CCTNS (Network and Systems to track crime and criminals)
  6. Crop Insurance Mobile App
  7. Digital AIIMS
  8. e-Granthalaya
  9. e-Panchayat
  10. EBIZ
  11. ECI EVM Tracking
  12. E-District
  13. eGreetings
  14. e-Hospital
  15. eSIGN
  16. eNAM
  17. eOFFICE
  20. ePRISON
  21. eProcurement Portal (CPP)
  22. e SAMPARK
  23. eTAAL (e-Transactions statistics of National and State level)
  24. eVISA
  25. Farmer Portal

Q- What is e-hospital under Digital India programme?

e-Hospital is an open source health information management system which is easily customizable with multiple-tenancy supports. It is cloud-based technology to manage multiple hospitals using digital interface.

CA Abhishek Soni
CA Abhishek Soni

Abhishek Soni is a Chartered Accountant by profession & entrepreneur by passion. He is the co-founder & CEO of Tax2win is amongst the top 25 emerging startups of Asia and authorized ERI by the Income Tax Department. In the past, he worked in EY and comes with wide industry experience from telecom, retail to manufacturing to entertainment where he has handled various national and international assignments.