Bridging digital divide with focus on rural Prasad

There were immense opportunities for private players across sectors in their ongoing Digital India initiative.
Bridging digital divide with focus on rural Prasad

The Centre is all set to facilitate efficiency in governance through a series of programmes that include digital literacy and electronic delivery of services, in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious Digital India initiative.

"Online on-demand digital signature is being developed, which has a very transformational architecture. The day is not far when every Indian will have a digital identity and a mobile connection linked to it," RS Sharma, secretary at the Department of Electronics and IT (DeitY), said at the Digital India summit, hosted by the Times Television Network.

"The department is re-engineering software and systems in light of changing technology scenario. We can store, share online certificates that will bring convenience and eliminate paperwork," he added.

The government has embarked on a comprehensive plan and is working on putting integrated services for citizens that allow single-window interface, Sharma said, and added that at least one person in every family would be digitally empowered.

The government’s ambitious Digital India plan, which is an umbrella initiative with an initial outlay of Rs 1.13-lakh crore, covers nine programmes that include broadband highways, 100 percent mobile density, electronic manufacturing and eKranti or electronic delivery of services by 2018.

Speaking at the event a day earlier, telecom and IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had said that the government wanted to facilitate industry-friendly environment and that there were immense opportunities for private players across sectors in their ongoing Digital India initiative.

Digital India, Prasad said, rests on three pillars that include architecture and utility, delivery of government services and digital empowerment of people, and with the mega initiative that aims to bridge the digital divide. He also said that Digital India offers an ‘enabling platform for change’ and that it would not be fulfilled without the indigenous manufacturing that requires Indian skills to be leveraged, and added that content in local language is necessary.

Out of 31 e-governance projects, 21 initiatives are online and operational, enabling 90-lakh transactions a day and touching the lives of nearly 30-crore individuals, Kumar said, and added that they were bringing in private sector to participate widely to facilitate the Digital India initiative.

Digital literacy though is one of the biggest challenges and the government has come out with a vision to make at least one family member digitally literate, National Institute of Electronics and Information Technology (NIELIT) Managing Director Ashwini Kumar Sharma said.

The government expects to make 1 crore people digitally literate in five years while aiming to train 10 lakh individuals by the end of this year. The government has already introduced a 20-hour basic learning course and is running another programme for the ESDM sector with a goal to train 4.5-lakh youth in five years. "To align with modern technological needs; the government is currently working on an open source online course concept and availability of content in local languages," Sharma said.

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