The Digital India programme aims to transform the country into a digitally empowered economy and knowledge society.
The government approved the flagship programme in August 2014 with three key goals: provide quality digital infrastructure to every citizen, provide all public services digitally on demand and
empower citizens digitally to enable them to participate fully in a rapidly digitalising economy and society.
The approach was to involve all central ministries and states in a whole-of-government framework to work holistically to achieve these goals.
How has the programme performed in the last eight years and what lies ahead?
The achievements under the programme have been quite impressive by any standards.
BharatNet has become the world’s largest rural broadband programme with over 575,000 kilometres of optical fibre laid to connect over 185,000 village panchayats.
Due to the near universal 4G coverage, the number of internet users in India has exploded to 830 million with access to the world’s cheapest mobile data.
A huge network of nearly 500,000 Common Service Centres across the country provide access to a wide range of online services.
The coverage of Aadhaar and banking services has become near universal, allowing everyone to access online services and directly receive benefits in their bank accounts.
Digital inclusion has been a key goal of this programme with over 51.4 million people trained in digital literacy under the Prime Minister’s Gramin Digital Saksharta Abhiyan.
The confluence of universal digital identity, banking services, mobile phones and increasing digital literacy has resulted in huge expansion of demand for online services.
The volume of online transactions has grown over 50 times to over 340 million per day.
DigiLocker, Mobile Seva and UMANG platforms have greatly simplified access to a wide range of public services through mobile phones.
Digital life certificates through Jeevan Praman have proved to be a boon to over 56 million pensioners in the country.
India is now the global leader in digital payments with Unified Payments Interface (UPI) transactions crossing the $1 trillion mark in value during 2021-22.
The Direct Benefits Transfer now covers over 300 schemes and over Rs 22.7 lakh crore have already been transferred to the beneficiaries’ bank accounts directly.
New-age digital platforms in health and education have transformed the delivery of services in these domains.
CoWin has become the world-leading platform for Covid-19 vaccinations with over 1.94 billion vaccine doses administered.
The online teleconsultation platform, e-Sanjeevani, has greatly helped people in accessing healthcare services during Covid-19 with nearly 40 million tele-consultations conducted.
Under the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission, over 220 million health accounts have been created. Similarly, DIKSHA is the nation’s largest online platform for school education.
With a thriving technology and innovation ecosystem, India has become the world’s third largest startup hub with over 100 unicorns.
Tech startups alone have created over 2.3 million jobs since 2016. Many of these startups are focused on advanced research and development in emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, metaverse, web 3.0, robotics, Internet of Things, 5G, etc.
India has also made great strides in electronics manufacturing and has become the world’s second largest manufacturer of mobile phones in terms of volume.
With the new Production-Linked Incentive schemes, the country is poised to become a global leader in semiconductors and large-scale electronics manufacturing as well.
With such impressive achievements under its belt, what lies next for Digital India?
The programme owes its success to well-defined goals, adequate funding and a whole-of-government approach in both conceptualisation and implementation of various schemes.
It must now transform itself in both scale and scope to achieve the target of a $1 trillion digital economy by 2026 and make India a global leader in advanced digital technologies.
Scaling up would involve enhancing the coverage of the programme to the entire country including all the villages and the entire population including women and the weaker sections.
On the other hand, enhancing the scope would imply that such digital transformation permeates all sectors of the economy, including the micro, small and medium enterprises and all governance domains, both at the central and state level.
Read More at https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/tech/technology/how-bharat-is-being-digitally-transformed/articleshow/92613053.cms