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EDITORIAL

How Successful is Digital India?

Y Udaya Chandar
(The Writer can be reached at yudayachandar@gmail.com)

Digital India is a campaign launched by the Indian Government to ensure that all government services are available to citizens electronically via improved online infrastructure and increased internet connectivity. The campaign also aims to make the country digitally empowered in the field of technology. The initiative includes plans to connect rural areas with high-speed internet networks. Launched on 1 July 2015 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, it is both the enabler and beneficiary of other key government schemes, such as ‘Make in India’, ‘Start up India’ and ‘Stand up India.’
Some of the elements provided through this initiative are Bharat net, digital lockers, e-education, e-health, e-sign documents handling capabilities, e-shopping and a national scholarship portal. The 2016 Union budget of India announced 11 technology initiatives, including the use of data analytics to nab tax evaders. These efforts created a substantial opportunity for IT companies to assemble the systems that will be required to realise these goals, and the number of Indian Internet subscribers increased to 500 million by April 2017.

Digital India is broadly claimed to be India’s strategy for digitising the entire country. The key aim is to use the campaign to spread awareness across all parts of India. Rural areas and underdeveloped cities are the major targets for taking this initiative further. In the end, Digital India will be successful undoubtedly. For example, banking has been affected tremendously since the demonetisation process of 2016. Since then, people have begun to use many technological services like Paytm, Phone Pe, Tez and so on. The rate at which digital money is being used in the country has taken everyone by surprise.

There are a number of small cities whose populations seem oblivious to these new services, though they have embraced the use of mobile phones and other technologies. Multiple measures are being taken to introduce all of the concepts addressed by Digital India to these people.

The Prime Minister’s Digital India campaign is chiefly focused on the use of technology, digital payment methods, developing a secure and stable digital infrastructure and the creation of digital means of learning available to every student in the country. For example, a coolie (Sreenath K) from Kerala was able to crack the PSC services examination by using the internet on his phone while working. In short, Digital India is there and delivering. The need for these campaigns around the country is more crucial than ever, and their results are clear.

We are in a time where everything in the world seems to be turning digital. There is no doubt that these digitally executed operations have many vulnerabilities, but how can we learn to walk without first taking a small step? Digital marketing is on a roll, and all these new digital trends have India on a path to the next level. It is evident from the ever-multiplying presence of digital advertisements that digital marketing is growing at a pace never seen before. Digital marketing is not new for all those who have been active online, but it has changed the way we view advertisements. Once, all complained of ‘boring’ TV commercials, but that was before the introduction of digital ads.

From crop health to seed procurement, soil health, use of fertilisers and pesticides—farmers in Punjab can now get immediate advice via a WhatsApp group that includes agricultural experts. The group, ‘Young Innovative Farmers’, was set up by Gurdaspur Agriculture Development Officer Dr Amrik Singh on 15 August 2017. At present, the group has 100 members, including 90 farmers and 10 experts. Moreover, the farmers in the group have set up their own smaller groups with local farmers to disseminate the information.

Digital India has suddenly become synonymous with online banking and payments, but it also has the potential to transform India and provide services that have not been previously possible. Problems related to education in remote villages could be solved using the programme. There are few good teachers in many villages, so classes can be conducted through video conferencing. All this requires is one extra computer / projector per class. Though every problem cannot be solved using computers, Digital India has already begun changing the lives of everyday Indians. The campaign simply brings these efforts into focus.

Digital India is beneficial and a necessity for our modern times, as it provides job opportunities for many. Social media sites have brought people closer than ever. Digital India is no longer a luxury; now, it is a necessity.

India has come late to the digital party but we are catching up. Most of the government departments are now digitized, which will help both citizens and the government; the latter can function more efficiently. India Post is now online, and banking services are available on our mobiles; we can even pay our electricity, water, and phone bills online. We no longer need to leave the house to buy groceries, vegetables and so on; Big Basket/ Grofers take care of that. We can also book movie tickets, flights or hotels with just a few taps of a smartphone.

Digital India is changing the face of the country.

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