Digital India Programme

The Union Cabinet approved the ambitious Digital India programme that aims to connect all gram panchayats by broadband internet, promote e-governance and transform India into a connected knowledge economy. The Programme, which would be implemented in a phased manner by 2019, is estimated to cost about Rs.113,000 crore, including ongoing schemes being run by the telecom department and Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY), as well as on new schemes “Digital India is a program to prepare India for a knowledge future,“ says a presentation on the program to the cabinet by DeitY.
“The focus is on making technology central to enabling change“. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had listed Digital India as among the top priorities for the new BJP-led central government, while delivering his maiden Independence Day speech on August 15.
The vision of the programme is centred on three key areas: digital infrastructure as a utility to every citizen ­ digital identity, mobile phone and bank account, safe & secure cyber space; governance & services on demand ­ services available in real time on online and mobile platform, making financial transactions electronic and cashless, & digital empowerment of citizens ­ all documents, certificates available on cloud.
Digital India envisages connecting 2.5 lakh villages by broadband and phones, reduce import of telecom imports to zero, wi-fi in 2.5 lakh schools, all universities, public wi-fi hotspots for citizens and creating 1.7 crore direct and 8.5 crore indirect jobs. Other impact points include training 1.7 crore citizens for IT, telecom and electronics jobs, and delivering e-governance and e-services.
A monitoring committee on execution of the Digital India program, to be headed by the Prime Minister as chairman of the panel, will be set up. Other members of the panel will include ministers of finance, communications & IT, research & development, human resources development, and health. Special invitees to the panel will include principal secretary to the PM, Cabinet secretary, secretaries of expenditure, planning, DoT and Posts. The DeitY secretary will be the convenor of the panel. The government however needs to tackle issues such as revamping of the National Informatics Centre which is “not equipped for a fraction of this task“, the presentation pointed out. It also said that the DeitY needs at least four more senior officers to act as program managers.

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