By: Mr Virender Jeet - Sr. VP Technology at Newgen Software
Ever since the launch of the Digital India initiative in 2015, it has come a long way. The governing bodies and citizens alike, adoption of Digital India has already begun at several levels. The government has not let go of any chance to reiterate their commitment to it either. More than two years into the initiative, it's time we take stock of what all and how far it has managed to transform.
What made the world's largest democracy go online?
India resides in its villages. While there are several schemes and initiatives devised to enhance the literacy rate, digital literacy had not been paid much attention to. A country as large as ours, both geographically and demographically, is no piece of cake to govern. And, the fear of governance and government services, as well as facilities not seeping down to the lowest strata, looms large.
With the Digital India initiative, the government aimed at wiping out such roadblocks to governance and administration. Providing rural areas with high-speed Internet and broadband services, and ensuring 'rural' takes into its ambit the most remote of areas, is an aim Digital India looks to achieve. However, it's not just rural India that this initiative concentrates on. As mentioned in the initiative's very own charter, it aims at ensuring digital infrastructure reaches every citizen, government services are made more accessible, and each citizen is a lot more digitally empowered.
From e-governance to broadband highways, Digital India is definitely not all talk
Having started off with a vision to ensure each citizen is with us on the road to digitization; the initiative has also extended to making business smoother for organizations. Unlike several initiatives that are often lost in oblivion when it comes to implementation, Digital India has made its presence felt in several ways when it comes to transforming India.
Providing rural areas with high-speed Internet and broadband services, and ensuring 'rural' takes into its ambit the most remote of areas, is an aim Digital India looks to achieve.
Governance on 'cloud' nine: Certificates issued by the government, ranging from birth to educational right up to death, are often the ones misplaced by citizens. Considering these stores crucial and highly confidential information, digital lockers have been made available. These stores are certificates in their digitized form and establish a communication system between departments in case these copies need to be accessed or shared between departments. By reducing paperwork, cutting down storage costs, and increasing security, digital lockers clear several roadblocks single-handedly.
What's a democracy sans citizen participation: A nation's claims to democracy are nullified the second we delete citizen participation from the governance equation. Through its citizen participation platform, Digital India has opened up a window of opportunity for citizens to openly express their views on several policies. Similarly, the governing bodies can use this platform to crowd-source governing ideas from the citizens. All in all, the initiative leads to smooth communication between those who govern and those who are being governed.
Bringing the authorities to your smartphone: Gone are the days when government officials could sit on files for months on end. Through mobile governance, the Digital India initiative has made brilliant use of the massive reach mobile services boast of. Mobile governance makes government services available anytime and anywhere, with a high concentration in rural areas. The issue of lack of infrastructure in rural areas hence becomes easy to do away with.
Broadband services that discriminate against none: Making broadband available to everyone, whether rural or urban, tops the list when it comes to Digital India. Keeping in tow, the government has undertaken a project to kick off a broadband highway to connect all the gram panchayats of the country. Lack of infrastructure is a major obstacle to the dissemination of information and often becomes the reason rural areas stay devoid of the benefits of any and every government policy. Providing internet connectivity to those managing governance and administration at the grass root level could be the absolute game changer rural administration needs.
Digitizing good health: Hospitals are often faced with the dual pressure of managing patients and patient records. Making a choice between both is never an option, and this is where a workflow management system comes to their rescue. Digital India provides the hospitals with a configurable and easily customizable workflow management system that functions on cloud infrastructure, thereby managing several hospitals seamlessly. From patient records to pathological reports, all of it is made available to doctors as well as para-medical staff and ensures easy sharing among departments when the need arises. When it comes to healthcare, digitization can save lives, literally.
Considering 2020 is often cited as the year in which the world will move towards near-complete automation and digitization, Digital India is pretty much the push India needs to mark their spot in the arena of digitization.