The dream of seeing India as an egalitarian society where plumbers, gardeners, tutors, technocrats all can find new markets for employment using telecommunication network or internet is not far from reality.
The flagship program of ‘Digital India’ launched by our present government seeks to transform India into a digitally empowered knowledge society. It envisages bridging the much needed gap between the affluent and the poor, digital haves and digital have-nots, urban India and rural India, the employed and the unemployed by creating equality of opportunity to encourage employment and foster entrepreneurship.
Further, Digital India conforms to the true spirit of democracy by creating non discriminatory infrastructure for all categories of service providers for wholesale bandwidth. Telcos, ISPs, virtual network operators and cable TV providers can all plug into this network for offering next generation services to citizens.
However, India’s demography and insufficiently developed infrastructure offers great challenge to the policy makers to ensure that the public programs are well targeted and devoid of leakages.
Intel has been playing a significant role in this regard by being a key enabler in digitizing India. The National Digital Literacy Mission (NDLM) was launched by Intel in three villages in 2012 and was successful in achieving 100% e-literacy there. Recently, Intel India has unveiled a digital skills training application, which includes modules on digital literacy, financial inclusion, healthcare and cleanliness in 5 Indian languages under Digital Skills for India’ program. It has also launched ‘Innovate For India Challenge’, to create solutions that are relevant for the country.
Although India is a powerhouse of software, availability of electronic government services for the citizens is inadequate. Digital India aims at giving an impetus to e-governance in the country. It seeks to meet the aspirations of the people in bringing the government and its services to the doorsteps of the citizens.
Since well informed and empowered citizens form pillars of an accountable and inclusive democracy, Government of India has launched the National optical fiber network project as a part of Digital India. This project aims at providing broadband connectivity to over two lakh gram panchayats creating digital infrastructure at rural level bringing millions of rural Indians into the fold of modern technology.
Demographically, India is a young country and it is estimated that by 2016, approximately 50% of the population will be in the age group of 15-25 years of age. On the other hand, an ageing world population will soon need a younger workforce. This program therefore, has great potential to harness India’s demographic dividend.
Digital India is designed to empower Indians with the power of technology. It is the right step towards channelizing the potential and enthusiasm of Indians for technology and giving an impetus to the soaring aspiration of young India.