In the past five years, India has transformed its skepticism towards digital technology to faith and optimism that will lead developments in the Indian economy to a knowledge-based one. Over the last few months, India has been exposed to technologically powered utilities after a fairly long period of inefficiency and lethargic governance in the Indian system.
In the Union Budget, the Finance Minister Mr Arun Jaitley did not shy away from technology and announced an INR 21,000 crore national optic fiber network (NOFN) project which proves the new government’s commitment towards the task of ‘Digital India’, an initiative of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government that aims for a digitally enabled India.
Sanjiv Mital, Chief Executive Officer at National Institute for Smart Government stated that several aspects of the Digital India programme such as connectivity, technology, the new government at the centre, e-governance and financial inclusions among others should be seen from the point of view of the consumer i.e. the Indian citizen. He informed, “Our objective is to ensure that there is at least one digital literate person in every household in India.
In the marketing world, success of any product is determined by its reach and accessibility and the services of Digital India are no exception. Technological literacy in India continues to be a cause of concern due to low internet penetration in the country and lack of access to technology in the rural parts of the country. Government’s efforts to lay fiber optic cable network across the length and the breadth of the country, right up to the gram panchayat level is a step towards tackling such issues hovering around low connectivity to digital utilities.
Befogged by the emerging information technology-linked services developments in the country, many have overlooked problems about the availability of digital devices in India, especially in context to cost. The consumer appears to be enthralled by the e-governance initiatives and has overlooked the problem of low manufacturing capacity of digital devices in India, which are the required for digital services. Acceleration in domestic manufacturing is required to achieve the goal of Digital India and e-governance. Prime Minister’s target of ‘net zero imports’ is possible only through better policy formulation and incentives to manufacturers.
Let’s dig a little deeper and see what the government has to say about the Digital India plan. Shri R S Sharma, Secretary of Department of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India explained a key point that many tend to overlook — Digital India is a programme which seeks to combine all other digital programmes. We must synchronise and synergise all such programmers under one umbrella, he advised. The new government is taking steps for digital enablement across all sections of the society to bring about transformation in e-governance. Over the next few years, e-governance initiatives will be focused on two key areas — education and healthcare.
Apart from improvements in governance, Digital India initiatives are instrumental in raising the standard of living. Experts believe that India is at the cusp of technological revolution following the recent innovations in the digital world. Hopes of the Indian population are pinned onto to developments in the digital infrastructure that will empower the citizens of this nation said Alok Ohrie, President and Managing Director of Dell India.
Initiatives of the Digital India programme are going to lay the foundation for a new India. The digital media is attributed to be the most cost effective, efficient and transparent medium of all that will ensure effective governance in this huge country.
The industry experts made these comments at Digital India Summit 2014, powered by BW Businessworld.