It was heartening to note that PM Narendra Modi along with Twitter Chief Executive Dick Costolo recently launched ‘Twitter Samvaad” which is an important step in seeing Indian twitterti exchanging notes with Government agencies on twitter. As part of the Prime Minister’s Digital India initiative, this tweet-powered service enables citizens to be the first to know about the government’s actions by receiving political content in real-time on their mobile devices anywhere in the country. This is indeed like a dream come true!
As I was in the process of making my mind on writing the blog post on “Digital India” hosted by indiblogger, the news gave me enough fodder for thought. Being a social media junkie, I always of dream of my brigade to expand. Surprisingly even now, at least 50% of the people I interact with are digitally challenged in some way or the other. They can’t be connected on social media platform. They are, where they were from ages…the need is to transform them! The need is to make every Indian citizen “Digitrate” (Digitally literate). My mind goes back to Late PM Shri Rajeev Gandhi who Computerized India on a massive scales in late 80s and accomplished success with that too. But India has come a long way from its baby steps in computerization to India of today. And I must admit that Intel may be credited for this mammoth computerization with their SMART and consumer friendly computers, which took world by storm. I would like to use this platform to hail the Intel’s commitment towards building Digital India through its ‘Digital Skills for India’ and ‘Innovate for India’ initiatives.
For long Intel has been fostering technology as the enabler for creating a digitized India. Individually Indians are a great success but as a COUNTRY, we need to do lot of catching up.
Now with Modiji initiating the #DigitalIndia project to connect India digitally with a planned allocation of Rs One lakh crore, it will ascertain that a new era ushers in where all citizens will have access to connect with Government Digitally. The plan is to establish a digital platform to digitally connect and deliver government programs and services to individuals across India, thereby harnessing the power of information technology. The project also plans to connect all villages through high speed internet by 2019. Indeed the plan is ambitious, to say the least!
So what dies ‘Digital India’ would actually translate into? E- Governance? What’s that? How Indian Citizens be stake-holders to this program? How it will function? What are the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats? What would be infrastructure needed?
We have to find the answers to these questions and many more…
So primarily E –Governance focuses on making the process of Governance, Service delivery digital, i.e. through the use of Information and Communication Technology thus adding up non-repudiation to the paradigm of Accountability. It means that whatever work you want to get done or service you want to avail, it would be carried out and backed by sound technological infrastructure making processes thus fast and efficient. This technology enabled process is not far from us to seek, but…
What does this entail? Here every individual’s personal record will be stored in a virtual central repository or Digital Locker, which can be accessed by government officials anywhere anytime, through established protocols. For example, an individual’s certificates from school or college, birth certificates, medical records etc are all stored in the individual’s folder and these can be accessed by any government official to confirm or verify the individual’s claims without the need for the individual to present the hard copy. The purpose is to free the individual from the need to physically present the hard copy for verification in any government office. This will save a lot of time for the individual and the government officials, as also reduce the opportunity for bribes being demanded. Of course this not an easy task and to achieve this, data-centres of massive capacity are needed. It is huge opportunity but it has its own threats too.
We as Indians are quite casual about our security measures, accidents are most common place in India and Insurance penetration being lowest in the world is ample proof of my statement. With this digitization program where Government will be custodian of every citizen’s personal data, the chances of theft and misuse would also be there. Implanting high security measure will be a major task in the way of E-Governance. What happens if the system doesn’t respond or crashes when data access is needed the most. Challenge is to ensure smooth functioning of all this and more.
Today India prides itself with “Software Wizardry” – providing software solutions to the world. But it is high time that we use this wizardry for our nation and countrymen. I know challenges are many but opportunities are huge. Who would like to give upon this opportunity? I would like to see India digitized sooner than later, where we too can pride ourselves on this parameter. If Intel could empower us, why can’t we empower our own countrymen?
#DigitalIndia should be every “Digitrate” person’s dream, then only we will able to give shape to Modiji’s dream project.
The clock is ticking for the #DigitalIndia program and opportunity is there to develop the digital backbone of the country.