Budget to boost Digital India vision

The Union Budget 2016-17 has given a big boost to the Digital India vision of the Hon’ble Prime Minister. Let’s understand it in brief.

Narendra-Modi-Digital-India


Announcements for Digital India

  • Budget announcements will give a big boost to Digital India initiatives, Digital literacy, greater application of Cloud and above all big push to the Electronics Manufacturing
  • Focus on the larger involvement of post office platform for financial inclusion, including delivery of services

Let’s now take an overview of some profound changes of last 20 years –

  • IT / ITeS exports have crossed USD 100 billion
  • India’s share in global IT services outsourcing presently 56%, is growing every year
  • Total employment in IT / ITeS sector is 37 lakhs in this financial year, out of which the net addition is 2 lakhs
  • Electronics Manufacturing has seen remarkable improvement, due to the initiatives of government in this sector

Digital India 9 pillars

New Incentives announced in the Budget 2016-17

Electronics Manufacturing

  • Electronic manufacturing in India has got boost by further rationalization of duty structure
  • Tax benefits for IT units in SEZs has been extended from 2017 till 2020.
  • This will enable technology units to set up and commence operations in SEZs and also significant move for skill development to services companies as well
  • This will permit 30 % of additional wages paid to new workmen, deductible for 3 years. This will give a big boost to the BPO operations and generate new jobs (essential for India to reap it’s demographic dividend)

Encouragement to Digital Literacy & Digital Lockers

  • Digital depository of school leaving certificates, college degrees and mark-sheets will be created
  • This would enhance the footprint of cloud technology in the Country
  • The IT department has already laid down the framework for cloud technology and will assist in the expansion <Cloud Technology is the delivery of on-demand computing resources— everything from applications to data centers over the Internet on a pay-for-use basis>
  • Extraordinary expansion to Digital Literacy in the country; imparting digital literacy to 6 crore households in next 3 years
  • As of now, against the target of 52.5 lakhs, more than40 lakhs have been trained

Use of Aadhaar platform for delivery of services

  • A legislation will be brought to give a statutory backing to Aadhaar, for delivery of services /subsidies / benefits, corning out of Consolidated Fund of India
  • This will prevent leakages by identifying the beneficiaries correctly and would encourage good governance
  • Greater stress on the use of digital platform across various departments
  • This will further encourage consolidation of seminal programmed of Digital India

Reforms in Postal department

  • Effort is being made to leverage the vast network of India Post for implementing the mandate of financial inclusion
  • Today, India Post has not only installed more than 576 ATMs but has overtaken the SBI to become India’s largest Core Banking Network having 18,231 branches
  • By March, 2016 all the 25,000 Departmental Post Offices would offer Anywhere Banking facilities using Core Banking Solutions
  • Further, India Post has achieved new heights in tapping the potential of e-commerce
  • Its parcel revenues have witnessed a growth of 110% and it has collected more than Rs.1200 Crores from Cash on Delivery mode of payment for e-Commerce services

Read more-

  1. Digital India Initiative : What is Buzzing  
  2. Seven Mission for Transformation of Railways

Published with inputs from Arun Source - Ministry of Communications & IT | Pic - 9 Pillars of Digital India

Any doubts?


  1. Arun SINGH

    How will govt provide jobs for young people?

  2. suresh g

    DEAR ASPIRANTS WHAT DEVELOPMENT IN AGRICULTURE SECTOR TO GENERATE THE PROFIT AND MARKETING FACILITIES

  3. suresh g

    HOW GET LOAN FROM 0 ACCOUNT

  4. Srikanth Suman

    Dreams which should not let India sleep.
    dear aspirants can some one help me out on this, Iam a beginner for this civil services, what is the format of essay writting please gimme a format! thanks in advance

  5. ranil george

    Great number of initiatives by the govt. Hope to see some changes soon!

  6. sree vishakh

    I think computer literacy among the poor could be achieved using CSR initiatives by the MNCs.Anyway it is mandatory for MNCs to use some percentage of their profit towards the upliftment of the society.I believe Corporates could use their infrastructure facilities and human resource effectively in implementing NDLM programme rather than the govt: taking the responsibility. The corporates could be appreciated by giving them tax benefits , and other benefits. Hence it would become a win win situation for the people ,MNCs and the govt: as well.

  7. Srinath Sundareswaran

    Seriously, what would it take for the government to stop asking for aadhar number? The Supreme Court has said on three occasions that it’s not mandatory.

    1. Sumer Shah

      Exactly my words – so much of a dissonance between what should be vs. what is.

      Officials need to wake up to this call that the*Chalta hai* attitude will eventually end up creating another chasm of people who could ride the new wave and those who got stunted by meaningless theatricals.

  8. Shashi Kumar

    What does it mean by saying capital subsidy of 20% in SEZ? anyone help.

    1. Aditya Kalia

      It means that the Govt. will provide a subsidy of 20% on all the capital investments done in SEZ to set up an electronics industry.

  9. srinivasa rao katta

    i think first of all our rural people should be educated on internet. if not they may exploit or deceive by some educated persons.

    1. Sajina Ban

      @srinivasa your view is very important. Mr arun very clearly explained about digital litracy programmes.we have national digital litracy mission also.the main barrier was slow Internet connectivity in rural areas. But our government unveiled a new broadband product. C DOT has developed a long distance and solar powered WIFI system to address connectivity issue in rural areas ,hills terrain. This is the big motivation for 100 percentage digital litracy achievement in rural areas.

      1. Arun Muradnar

        Indeed mam,C-DOT the research and development institute of the department of telecommunications gives impetus to solar-powerd WiFi and 100 GBps optical fibre cable.This is what infusion in digital india mission and encouraging fact is that private sector has very well say in it.
        TCS,Infosys and Microsoft can inject technology-driven approach for e-literacy in villages. As it lowers some pressure of government because there is large population in rural region lagging in internet literacy,so to spread awareness and education on web needs cordial and supportive approach from private sector helpful.

  10. Arun Muradnar

    Digital India and Internet Sathi encouraging initiative in India’s Digital world.
    Bridges gap between villages and cities.Paperless economy boosts green economy and green growth.
    E-kranti leads to broader approach for citizen centric governance thats raison d’être for all.
    According to one research report,India lagging behind to use of internet for purpose of social and productive use.Digital India diffuse word for DIGITAL which accompanied productive and significant outcomes in next years.More initiatives comes forward in states like Maharashtra,Gujarat and Kerala,which already initiated digital concept through e-Seva kendra,e-SETU,CCTNS and lot more.
    This campaign will definitely proves stronger for bridging gap of inequality and many social issues.

    1. Sajina Ban

      @arun .One of the important truth is this is a green power solution…good information arun thank you. ..

      1. Arun Muradnar

        Yes,green economy should be a centerpiece of Digital concept.Afterall,India is emerging economy and needs to delve into finding out more pathways for transforming Carbon economy into Green Economy,and i think here India has taken one step to initiate actual process by digital India.
        Hope it will show outcomes in proactive future of India.
        Thanks.

  11. Saravana Uportal

    How far the digital India programme will empower the socially and economically marginalized people?

    1. Sajina Ban

      Digital economy provide a unique opportunity to empower socialy and economically marginalised group. That The big evidence is shift from the personal computer to smartphone for Internet access has expanded the digital economy to much wider segment of society. The recent report of indian digital bharath ,BCG project $200 billion Internet economy in india in the coming years -equivalent to 5 percentage of the GDP,the digital economy is democratic and has the potential to be a positive force for a change.
      There are so many marginal fee Internet centre in our country like “akshaya” and they provide free digital education for all categories people. So many household people are use Internet as their marketing strategy for food sales etc..and we can easily access all data through digital locker this is saving paper usage ,money, time etc…
      NEGATIVE IMPACT and remedies
      still now we can’t say Internet is secure .so much empowerment about that field is necessary. If our own certificate is in own hand that is much secure. So ensuring beliveness in digital world is main empowering area.
      But in order advance this progress a compatible union between digital world and people is necessary.

      1. Rohit Pande

        There is an internet saathi initiative as well – Tata folks signed up with google a day ago.

        What is the Akshaya center?

    2. Rohit Pande

      You tell! It sure looks promising. Let’s for a while forget about the cynicism that surrounds the execution aspect of this game. The theory looks robust.

      1. Sajina Ban

        @rohith
        Akshaya centre is the project , 1st started in rural malappuram district of kerala, now spread all around the states, was the first district e litracy project in india and one of the largest known Internet protocol based wireless network in the world.

        1. Satyajeet Panchal

          What is Internet Saathi?

      2. Srinath Sundareswaran

        As Dewang Mehta said,”Roti, Kapda Makan and Bandwidth “

[op-ed snap] The need for doing digital

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Science & Technology | Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level:Internet of things, blockchain tech, big data, etc.

Mains level: Importance of digital technology is well known. UPSC is known to ask questions on such kind of topics.


News

Context

  1. The article effectively explains how digital leadership and digital transformation can be beneficial for companies and also in other fields like agriculture.

Why is Digital Technologies important for India?

  1. India is particularly poised to take advantage of digital technologies
  2. Because they have the potential to add economic value of $550 billion to $1 trillion per year by 2025, and create millions of well-paying, productive jobs

When is digital leadership important for companies?

  1. Digital leadership is effective for companies only when it creates value—for their customers, partners and employees

What was the issues in deploying digital technologies in companies?

  1. The business process improvement strategy was often overlooked as the technology teams typically jumped into operations deploying a set of digital tools
  2. This mindset is precisely what led to failed implementation and reduced business value in the past
  3. What is going wrong in solving this issue: Organisations, in their attempt to solve their problems, have rushed to adopt various isolated technology components before defining the problem they were trying to solve

How is today’s situation is different from the above issues?

  1. Today, the entire thought process has been changed
  2. Addressing design is now the first port of call in the new-age digital businesses that intelligently connect people, things and business, to create a good experience for their customers
  3. The result is simultaneous growth in revenue and reduction in costs
  4. Retail chains are experiencing the impact when they turned its online sales platform into a unique mobile experience
  5. And moved its infrastructure to the cloud, leveraging a digital platform that combined several digital tools, including the Internet of Things (IoT), machine learning, blockchain and big data analytics to create a better experience for its users

Benefits of digital technologies in other areas

  1. Production at an agriculture farm can be monitored digitally, thereby allowing informed, intelligent decisions that can prevent crop spoilage, increase efficiency with sustainability
  2. For large manufacturing companies, digital technology can empower the workforce to fix critical problems in real time

How digital leadership can accomplish above mentioned targets?

  1. By using IoT, machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain and big data analytics
  2. All these technologies provide tremendous value

The way forward

  1. Technology is core to digital transformation
  2. Digital leaders realise that digital transformation needs to be viewed in a holistic manner
  3. In a manner that impacts end-to-end business processes, creating delight at every user interface, and delivering real business value

Back2basics

To know more about the IoT tech, Click here

Worried SC calls for robust data protection regime

Image Source


Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Data protection has more important after the recent judgement of the SC on the Right to Privacy


News

What did the SC say?

  1. The SC has urged the government to put in place a robust mechanism for data protection
  2. According to the SC, dangers to personal data originate not only from the government but also from private players

Panel report and Government’s stand on the issue

  1. The Centre has undertaken in the court that the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology would work with the panel(constituted by Government)
  2. Government will hand over all necessary information to it within the next eight weeks, after which the latter will start its deliberations
  3. The government has already indicated in the court that the panel is framing a data protection Bill similar to the “technology-neutral” draft Privacy Bill
  4. This bill was  submitted by an earlier expert committee  to the Planning Commission of India in 2012

Centre mulls changes to BPO scheme on tepid response

  1. The Centre is mulling changing some of the clauses in its scheme to promote BPOs in smaller towns across the country
  2. Reason: Following tepid interest received from companies until now
  3. The India BPO Promotion Scheme (IBPS), under Digital India Programme, was introduced to incentivise BPO firms to extend operations beyond the metros
  4. With an outlay of about Rs.500 crore, it aims to incentivise establishment of 48,300 seats, providing about 1,45,000 jobs considering 3-shift BPO operations
  5. Against this, the government has so far been able to allocate about 13,000 seats
  6. Reasons: Both companies and employees are reluctant to move to smaller towns

In Raichur, an employment exchange for the digital age- II

  1. C-EOL enrols educated youth from the district at a fee of Rs. 100
  2. It keeps watch on vacancies and job-openings in public, quasi-government and private sectors
  3. It closely coordinates with the HR wing of employers & recruitment camps are arranged at its office
  4. The Centre updates candidates on job opportunities, based specifically on their profiles
  5. C-EOL also has a training and skill-development mechanism to make candidates more job ready

Discuss: Where all, do you think, you can use this case study? Digital India, employment initiatives… anything else?

In Raichur, an employment exchange for the digital age- I

  1. In Karnataka’s dry and impoverished Raichur district, an administration-led initiative is linking youth with private sector jobs, throwing in skill development also into the mix
  2. The Centre for Employment, Opportunities and Learning (C-EOL) has been launched by Raichur Deputy Commissioner
  3. It is registered under The Societies Registration Act
  4. It has placed 153 youth in private companies over the last two months

Govt to spend $7.2 bn on IT in 2016

  1. Source: A report by Gartner Inc
  2. Driven by the Digital India initiative, Govt’s spending on information technology (IT) products and services might reach $7.2 billion in 2016, up 2.4% against last year
  3. This is $200 million more than what was projected in June
  4. The e-governance initiatives to simplify digital channels and data-driven initiatives are driving investments in the government and are anticipated to grow through 2020
  5. Background: Govt’s IT spending has gradually increased from $6.4 billion in 2014, when the Narendra Modi-led government rolled out Digital India, to $6.8 billion to 2015, to reach $7.2 billion by 2016

Local language internet users to jump to 400 million by 2020: Google

  1. The number of internet users in India will jump 85 per cent from 350 million in 2016 to 650 million by 2020
  2. As the same time, people accessing the Internet in local language will more than double from 150 million at present to about 400 million (61% of Indian users) by 2020
  3. It pointed out that it has seen 10x growth in local language queried over the past one-and-a-half-year
  4. Hindi content consumption on the internet is growing 5 times the rate at which English content is consumed

Discuss: India’s internet use growth rate is almost 5 times that of global average. How can India capitalise on this digital advantage and what are the challenges it faces?

[op-ed snap] Why India must leverage digital finance tech

  1. Theme: Digital finance could provide a boost of up to USD 3.7 trillion to emerging economies by 2025
  2. Recently, a McKinsey Global Institute report, Digital Finance For All: Powering Inclusive Growth In Emerging Economies was released
  3. It is about the convergence of the two trends – financial inclusion and growing internet penetration
  4. These trends would result in improving private sector and govt. efficiency through ways such as decreasing leakages (as in direct benefit transfer), or decreasing cost of service for financial institutions
  5. Increasing financial inclusion would also result in increased funds for investment.
  6. Knock-on effects: First, digital payments leave a data trail and better tax administration.
  7. Second, crunching data will yield useful insights for policy making, e.g. spending patterns for poor etc.
  8. Third, new business models are enabled, e.g. e-commerce and peer-to-peer lending.
  9. India has a good infrastructure in place, e.g. the Jan Dhan Yojana and Unified Payments Interface
  10. But many challenges remain, particularly changing the behavioural patterns and preferences.

A background to Andaman connectivity project

  1. Currently: The only medium of providing telecom connectivity between the Mainland and Andaman & Nicobar Islands is through satellites
  2. Problem: However, since satellite bandwidth is very costly and its availability is limited, future bandwidth requirement cannot be met solely through it
  3. Lack of bandwidth and telecom connectivity is hampering socio-economic development of the islands
  4. Hence, it is essential to have submarine optical fibre cable (OFC) connectivity between the mainland and Andaman & Nicobar Islands

Undersea cable to link Andaman, mainland

  1. What? Union Cabinet approved a proposal for improving telecom connectivity in Andaman & Nicobar Islands
  2. How? By connecting the union territory with Chennai via an undersea optical fibre cable at a cost of Rs.1,102.38 crore
  3. Advantages: The connectivity would allow the implementation of e-governance initiatives, establishment of enterprises and e-commerce facilities in the islands
  4. It would also allow for support to educational institutes for knowledge-sharing and availability of job opportunities
  5. The project is likely to be completed by December 2018

Indian smartphone sales to double by 2020: Report

  1. Source: Euromonitor International
  2. However, the sale will be less than half the number sold in China
  3. The US smartphone market will shrink in the coming years, letting India overtake it in 2018
  4. India will become the world’s second largest smartphone market by value in 2019
  5. Most handsets sold in China and the US now are repeat purchases, unlike in India where sales are driven by buyers switching from feature phones to smartphones
  6. Most handset makers, including market leader Samsung, have launched cheap smartphones in India to tap this segment

What are Common Service Centres?

  1. CSCs are a strategic cornerstone of the Digital India programme
  2. They are the access points for delivery of various electronic services to villages in India, thereby contributing to a digitally and financially inclusive society
  3. These are also positioned as change agents, promoting rural entrepreneurship and building rural capacities and livelihoods
  4. They are enablers of community participation and collective action for engendering social change through a bottom-up approach with key focus on the rural citizen
  5. CSCs enable the three vision areas of the Digital India programme:
  • Digital Infrastructure as a Core Utility to Every Citizen
  • Governance and Services on Demand
  • Digital Empowerment of Citizens

CSCs may assemble LED lamps to boost rural economy

  1. Aim: Tapping the 2.29 lakh Common Service Centers (CSCs) in the country to boost rural economy
  2. CSCs can be a great system for generating revenues and employment in rural India
  3. Through these centers, Govt will also provide tele-consultation services for animal healthcare as well as legal issues in rural areas
  4. Kits for testing of dieseses such as malaria and dengue will also be made available at these centers

Fund disbursements under USOF for regional connectivity

  1. About Rs.10,000 crore will be spent in the current financial year from the USO Fund to execute various digital infrastructure projects to boost connectivity in rural areas
  2. In the last fiscal, about Rs.3,000 crore was spent from the USOF
  3. As on date, the total available fund in USOF is more than Rs.47,411.56 crore
  4. The total collection since the scheme was started in 2002-03 stands at about Rs.78,587.31 crore
  5. Total amount disbursed for various initiatives to boost rural connectivity is about Rs.31,175.75 crore

All you want to know about Universal Service Obligation Fund

  1. Aim: To provide universal access to telecom services, i.e., focus on providing telecom services to rural and remote areas at affordable and reasonable prices
  2. Exclusively for meeting the above objectives
  3. One amongst the inclusive development strategies of the government
  4. Created under: Department of Telecommunications, Ministry of Communication and Information Technology
  5. Statutory support: Indian Telegraph (amendment) Act, 2003
  6. Where does the money come from? A Universal Access Levy charged from the telecom operators as a percentage of various licenses fees being paid by them
  7. It is a non-lapsable fund i.e., unspent amount under target financial year does not lapse, accrues for next years’ spending
  8. All credits to the fund require parliamentary approval

A fact check on connectivity in remote areas

  1. No coverage: As per official data about 4,700 villages in Himalayan States (Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand), and 2,138 villages in Border States (Rajasthan, Gujarat, Punjab and Haryana) are not yet connected
  2. Further, 5,41,939 villages out of total 5,97,608 villages in the country are already covered with mobile services, leaving 9.31%, without coverage
  3. States: Odisha has the highest number of villages which do not have mobile coverage, followed by Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh
  4. In states such as Kerala and Karnataka all villages have coverage

Other schemes for remote area connectivity

  1. LWE connectivity: Another scheme, funded by the USOF, to connect Left wing extremism-affected areas in ten identified states in on the verge of completion
  2. Bharat Net Project: The Centre is also in middle of executing this project
  3. It aims to connect all of India’s households, particularly in rural areas, through broadband by 2017
  4. Together, these will help take forward the Digital India drive

Mobile access scheme for remote areas soon

  1. News: Govt will soon unveil a new scheme to provide mobile phone access to over 55,000 villages, particularly those in border states and in the Himalayan region
  2. Aim: To push forward the flagship Digital India programme
  3. Funding: The scheme will be funded by the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF)
  4. Grouping: Villages have been divided into Himalayan regions such as Jammu and Kashmir, Uttrakhand and Himachal Pradesh
  5. The second set will be those states which share borders with other nations

Digital Locker Authority soon to push paperless governance

  1. News: Govt will appoint a Digital Locker Authority to establish, administer, and manage Digital Locker system
  2. Aim: To preserve and retain information for efficient delivery of services to the users
  3. Functions: Granting licenses and to authorise a private entity to offer these services
  4. Prepare standards and guidelines, while also ensuring compliance by service providers
  5. Guidelines include those for data retention and migration, audit and security and privacy
  6. Notify the fee or service charges a subscriber will have to pay for availing Digital Locker services from authorized service providers
  7. Currently, the services are offered for free

Electronics manufacturing policy may soon get nod

  1. News: NITI Aayog has finalised ‘Make in India- Strategy for Electronic Products’- a long-term policy to boost manufacturing of electronic products by providing a host of incentives to attract investment
  2. 10-year tax holiday: For companies investing over $1 billion that can also create 20,000 jobs
  3. This would help bring some large foreign firms to India
  4. Duty-free market: We need to forge free trade agreements (FTAs) to create duty-free market for electronic goods
  5. Set up coastal economic zones (CEZ) which may be up to 200-250 kilometres wide from the coastline
  6. Globalise: Big success requires operating in a large world market- therefore India must reorient its policy to ensure the industry becomes competitive in export markets
  7. Stats: India’s domestic consumption of electronics hardware in 2014-15 was $63.6 billion while imports accounted for 58% of this figure

India ranks 39th in Asia Pacific on fixed broadband

  1. News: India ranks a low 39th in terms of fixed broadband adoption among Asia Pacific countries, with just 1.3% of its citizens subscribing to such a service in 2015
  2. Report: ‘State of ICT in Asia and the Pacific 2016: Uncovering the Widening Broadband Divide’ by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP)
  3. India ranks lower than countries such as Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in fixed broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants in ESCAP countries in 2015

Indians online to hit 730 mn by 2020

  1. Context: The Future of Internet in India report compiled by Nasscom and Akamai Technologies
  2. Findings: The number of Internet users in India is likely to more than double to 730 million by 2020
  3. There were about 330 million Internet users in the country as of December 2015
  4. India, which has an Internet user base next only to China, will remain the fastest growing market
  5. Rural: 75% of the new users would come from rural areas
  6. Vernacs: Interestingly, a majority (75 per cent) of new users are expected to consume data in local languages
  7. E-commerce market: Valued at $17 billion in 2015-16, is expected to double to $34 billion by 2020

Forecast of growth in different IT services

  1. IT service: Including consulting, software support, business process outsourcing, IT outsourcing, implementation, and hardware support is expected to grow 8.8% in 2016 to reach $1.6 billion
  2. BPO: Business process outsourcing sub-segment will grow by 22%
  3. Software: Govt spending will total $938 million in 2016, a 9.9% increase from 2015
  4. Telecom services will be at $1.5 billion, with the mobile network services sub-segment recording the fastest growth of 3.5 percent in 2016 to reach $793 million
  5. Driver: The ‘Digital India’ initiative is driving the investments in the government sector

Govt. IT spending in India to reach $7 billion in 2016: report

  1. Context: A report by information technology research and advisory company Gartner
  2. Govt will spend $7 billion on IT products and services in 2016, an increase of 3.1% over 2015
  3. Included: Expected spending to be made by various state, local governments and the Centre
  4. Services: Internal services, software, IT services, data center, devices and telecom services
  5. Also, the software market will be led by growth in infrastructure

PMO website launched in six regional languages

  1. Context: The official website of Prime Minister’s Office in six major regional languages
  2. Languages: Gujarati, Marathi, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu and Bengali
  3. Aim: To reach out the people and communicate with them
  4. Also to enhance the interaction between people from all parts of the country and the Prime Minister on various issues concerning their welfare and development

Digital vans all set to take-governance to rural areas

  1. Context: A new campaign by Govt to increase the awareness about various e-governance services in rural and semi-urban areas
  2. Campaign under Telecom Ministry
  3. Period: It will run from May 30, 2016 to March 31 2017
  4. 66 vans equipped with Internet and audio-visual facilities will go to 657 districts and cover 13 lakh km by March 2017
  5. Aim: To reach out to more than 10 lakh citizens and register over 1.5 lakh rural citizens for MyGov, digital locker, Aadhaar and other digital services
  6. Also to educate rural people, especially the youth, about the various Digital India Initiatives
  7. Facility: Rural citizens will be informed about the services offered at CSC centres in 14 languages

A digital wallet for all your e-spends

  1. News: National Payments Corporation of India has developed Unified Payments Interface, which makes the existing mobile based money transfer simpler
  2. Features: Money transfer is possible in both send mode and collect mode, as compared to present system of mobile payments which offers only send mode
  3. Impact: It would end the need to have different wallets for different e-commerce sites
  4. Statistics: There are about 35-36 wallets in the payments system, which the banking regulator has approved
  5. Future: These wallets will have to recreate themselves with some novel feature

Cisco to lay 22,500-km long Internet fiber network in Andhra Pradesh

  1. Context: Digital India initiative aims to connect 250,000 gram panchayats with high speed Internet by 2017
  2. News: Cisco will design and implement a broadband project in Andhra Pradesh
  3. The project includes laying 22,500-km-long broadband network which will cover 2 million households
  4. Achievement: With the fiber optic rollout, AP becomes the first Indian state to bring all its households online
  5. Positive: The project cost came significantly down as govt. opted for aerial fiber network

Learn more about BharatNet

  1. Also called: National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) project
  2. Conceived: in 2011 to connect all 250,000 gram panchayats in the country through optical fibres, using the networks of BSNL, RailTel Corp. of India Ltd and Power Grid Corp. of India Ltd
  3. Aim: bridging the connectivity gap between gram panchayats and blocks and providing broadband connectivity
  4. Services: Telcos, ISPs and cable TV operators can launch various services in rural areas using OFC while the government expects to provide access to e-health, e-education and e-governance services

Optical fibre cable push misses target

  1. Target: connecting 150,000 village councils by the end of 2015
  2. Achievement: OFCs have been laid in about 32,000 gram panchayats across the country till November 2015
  3. Good progress: As compared to last year, the progress is quite good
  4. Momentum: While the project is still 80% behind schedule, there seems to be momentum building

Students to take digital literacy to the masses

  1. News: Statewide Digital Empowerment Campaign is all set to be rolled out
  2. Context: Seeks to bridge the digital divide and maximise the potential of ICT (Information and Communication Technology) in day-to-day life
  3. Aim : Making people capable of using e-mail, accessing online government services, online utility payments and bank transfers
  4. Student police cadets: Students from 280 schools in 14 districts of Kerala enlisted for campaign, expected to help 3 million people in State
  5. Equipments: Tablets preloaded with special software to train, monitoring will be done by training process on real time basis using the software
  6. Nodal agency: Kerala State IT Mission (KSITM)
  7. Way ahead: President is expected to declare Kerala a ‘Digital State’ on the strength of its digital infrastructure and e-governance initiatives

Fibre grid: Centre to replicate AP model

  1. Context: Improving Internet connectivity in the country as part of the Digital India programme
  2. Background: In order to develop fibre grid, the Andhra Pradesh govt connected cables to electric poles to reduce the project cost from Rs.5,000 crore to Rs. 320 crore
  3. News: Centre will replicate this model in other parts of country to improve internet connectivity
  4. Future: The govt had set a target to increase the number of internet users from 40 crore to 50 crore by 2017

Digital India: 3 applications launched for Indian Railways

  1. Context: The Ministry of Railways has launched 3 IT (Information Technology) enabled apps to bring transparency in Indian Railways on the sidelines of Digital India initiative
  2. Hand Held Terminals: Pilot project of Northern Railway that will help in updating status of passenger list of the whole train
  3. Based on the list food-chart/occupancy chart will be manually prepared
  4. Paperless Ticketing: It can be used for booking unreserved tickets on many suburban and some long distance routes on mobile application
  5. E-booking: Allows passengers to avail bedroll kits through online booking and from IRCTC setup select outlets on the station

Cable can link 50 crore to Web: TRAI chief

  1. Background: BharatNet aims to provide broadband connectivity to 2.5 lakh village panchayats at a cost of Rs. 1,09,000 crore
  2. Challenge: The lack of adequate connectivity could undermine the potential advantages of transformational programmes such as Aadhaar
  3. Suggestion: TRAI Chairman suggested to use cable TV networks to connect the people
  4. How?: We have 100 mn homes with cable TV and these pipes can deliver up to 10 Mbps speed with assured connectivity
  5. Impact: It has potential to connect 50 crore people to the Internet and reduce the load on wireless spectrum

Digital payments set to take off this year: TRAI chief

Telecom operators have 18 months to commence operations and many are expected to start this year.

  1. A low-cost model would attract even those at the bottom of the pyramid to digital payments and banking.
  2. This is now possible with the RBI recently issuing payment banks licenses to 11 companies.
  3. The problem in the digital world is that of establishing an identity which can be solved by using Aadhaar as it can help do a secure transaction at a very low cost.
  4. To promote cashless payments, which includes a mandate to switch all central government receipts and payments to paperless form by the end of 2016.

All 5,631 gram panchayats in State to get high-speed internet access

  1. All 5,631 gram panchayats in the Karnataka are expected to be connected with high-speed optical fibre cables by March this year.
  2. The project was taken up by BSNL and it offers a bandwidth speed of 50 Mbps.
  3. It is sufficient to access govt services at the gram panchayats, without going to the town or district headquarters for availing such services.
  4. Project is taken up under the Digital India mission and is nearing completion.

PMO sets ambitious paperless target

  1. The PMO has set an ambitious target to shift at least 90% of all govt. payments and receipts, to online mode by the end of 2016.
  2. Transactions involving payments or receipts from citizens and businesses will be shifted to electronic or paperless mode
  3. It will replace the use of cash, demand drafts, cheques and challans in government offices.
  4. The govt. has asked departments to consider ‘innovativeincentives to encourage users to make payments electronically.

Ministry of HRD launches ‘e-pathshala’

  1. The Ministry of HRD has launched ‘e-pathshala’ as a part of the Digital India Campaign.
  2. It is a single point repository of e-resources containing, NCERT text-books and various other learning resources.
  3. It will also reduce the cost of books as there will be cost of only internet to download the book.
PIB

Regional languages are the lynchpin to India’s Internet boom

Rural web access will grow on availability of content in regional languages.

  1. By 2018, approximately half the users will reside in smaller towns and villages and will access the Internet through local languages.
  2. The Indian languages account for less than 0.1% content on the worldwide Web.
  3. This could change rapidly as companies are investing heavily in building up the Indian language Internet.
  4. Last year, Google India initiated an Indian Language Internet Alliance, a group of companies who will help push regional language content online.

India’s Internet user base to touch 402 mn by December, surpassing U.S.

  1. A report released by Internet and Mobile Association of India and IMRB International shows that no. of Internet users in India is expected to touch 402 million by December.
  2. It will be a 49% jump over last year, making India home to the 2nd largest online user base after China.
  3. Currently, India has the 3rd largest Internet user base in the world after China and the U.S.
  4. The report points that 71% male and 29% female are Internet users in India.
  5. Internet users in rural India are expected to reach 117 million by December.

Asia’s foremost Information Security Conference: Ground Zero Summit, 2015

Summit is organized to deliberate upon issues related to cyber security challenges emerging due to the latest technological developments.

  1. Theme for the Summit is Digital India – ‘Securing Digital India’.
  2. Summit is organized by the Indian Infosec Consortium (ICC).
  3. ICC wants to consolidate the cyber security resources in country and protect its cyberspace.
  4. Summit is collaborative platform in Asia for cyber security experts to address emerging cyber security challenges and demonstrate cutting-edge technologies.
  5. Summit will showcase indigenous cyber security products and technologies and Make in India Exhibition of Indian cyber security start-ups.
PIB

All govt. financial transactions to be made digital

The Centre is planning an e-route for all govt. transactions, including receipts and payments, as part of Digital India programme.

  1. The department will create a common application that can be used by all ministries.
  2. Citizens can transact with all the departments digitally using e-payment gateways and banks.
  3. To make it an inclusive programme and accessible to all, govt. is planning to bring 100 government websites in 3 languages.
  4. The govt. is also working with mobile phone manufacturers to support at least 3 vernacular languages in feature phones.

Digital India sectors attracting flow of foreign funds in big way

Recent reports have said that India has outstripped China in terms of FDI, this is a limited view.

  1. In fact, China’s gross FDI inflows are far higher than India’s.
  2. While FDI inflows into ‘Make in India’ industries have increased, the export focus of the campaign seems to have been diluted in favour of the Digital India sectors.
  3. FDI inflows into the automobile sector, have been growing and focussing more on domestic demand rather than on export growth.
  4. The profile of recent FDI flows is indicative of investments done to tap the domestic household consumption rather than catalyse exports.

Microsoft plans to take technology to 5 lakh villages

Intending to become a partner in the ambitious Digital India programme

  1. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, said his company will take low-cost broadband technology to some five lakh villages across the country.
  2. Microsoft’s plan is to partner with the Indian Government to bring in low-cost broadband connectivity to 500,000 villages in India.
  3. Low-cost broadband connectivity coupled with the scale of cloud computing intelligence that can be harnessed from data can help drive creativity, efficiency and productivity in India.

[Discuss] Fallout of digital inclusion

Is digital inclusion dividing rather than connecting people? Are efforts such as the National Digital Literacy Mission (NDLM) and Common Services Centre (CSC) schemes making people’s lives more convenient or just miserable?

  1. In our villages, there are only a few interfaces where people experience the interventions of digital tools, and most of them end up making their lives not only miserable but also snatch away their basic rights, such as freedom, access and entitlements. How?
  2. The NDLM makes it mandatory to have an Aadhaar number. If you don’t have one, you cannot become a training partner or a trainee.
  3. The demand for an Aadhaar number not only excludes many truly deserving candidates from receiving digital literacy but also violates fundamental rights and breaches the Supreme Court interim order of 2013.
  4. Besides an Aadhaar number, the mission requires the training partner to make an additional investment in a biometric machine.
  5. That is why, large difference in the number of people enrolled for digital literacy and those who have got certificates.

Fear is that, digital inclusion efforts will end up sending the bulk of the population into a state of exclusion that will result in a divided society on a scale that the country has never seen before.

Can you suggest some solutions to make Digital India successful?

Boosting digital footprint in rural areas

  1. IIT Bombay has set up India’s first pilot test-bed which uses unused TV spectrum to provide broadband Internet connectivity.
  2. The project tries to create an alternative to optic fiber cables, which is a very difficult as well as an expensive option to connect villages.
  3. This technology is capable of providing coverage within the radius of 1-10 km from the access network much like WiFi zones and access points.
  4. The Department of Telecom has also granted an experimental licence to IIT-B to conduct tests in TV’s UHF band.

 

What are these different band types? Do you know any interesting trivia information on them?

Govt. extends scheme to boost the electronics industry

  1. Govt. extended Modified Special Incentive Package Scheme (M-SIPS) by 5 years and added 15 new product categories.
  2. Electronics sector has potential to attract $100 Billion investments and provide jobs to 28 million people. MSIPS is supposed to bolster the ‘Make in India’ and ‘Digital India’ initiatives.
  3. Some of the new product categories are smart cards, consumer appliances (like washing machines, air conditioners), optical fibres and Internet of Things (IoT) products etc.
  4. The scheme was originally approved in July 2012 for 3 years to provide capital subsidy of 20 per cent in SEZ or 25 per cent in non-SEZ units engaged in manufacturing of electronics items.

 

 

 

Digital India: 10 key initiatives that you should know

One way to get a feel of what’s going on is this – We are broadly trying to automate most of the mundane processes online.

Crudely speaking – on one hand, Govt. wants to use tech as a tool to facilitate some of the services (which are already in play) – eg: E-signatures, Digital Locker, Scholarship info at one place and so on.

On the other, Govt. has to lay down some basic infrastructure to extend its digital capacities so that we maximise on our long term vision – Internet of Things, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan etc.


 

  1. Digital locker System – To minimize usage of physical documents and enable their e-sharing via registered repositories.
  2. MyGov.in – The “Discuss, Do and Disseminate” approach – engage citizens in decision making.
  3. Swachh Bharat Mission Mobile app to achieve the goals. We wonder how that will pan out?
  4. An e-Sign framework to allow citizens to digitally sign documents online using Aadhaar.
  5. National Scholarship Portal for beneficiaries from submission of application to verification, sanction and disbursal.
  6. Bharat Net Program  A high-speed digital highway to connect all 250,000 gram panchayats of country. This would be the world’s largest rural broadband project using optical fibre.
  7. BSNL’s Next Generation Network to replace 30-year old telephone exchanges to manage all types of services like voice, data, multimedia and other types of communication services.
  8. Centre of Excellence on Internet of Things (IoT) – A joint initiative of the government agencies and private institutions such as Nasscom.
  9. Broadband Highways as one of the pillars of Digital India to address the connectivity issue while enabling and providing technologies to facilitate delivery of services to citizens.
  10. Outsourcing Policy to create such centres in different northeastern states and in smaller towns across the country.

Govt plans Internet green channel: Javadekar

We are thinking of launching an Internet green channel. We are also looking at starting one-hour-long programme based on green practices on DD Kisan channel.



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