Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY) envisaged programme ‘Digital India’ received an approval from the Cabinet yesterday. The programme will be implemented in phases from now till 2018 and will aim to ensure that all Government services are made available electronically and bring connectivity to every citizen.

Focus on 3 key areas: The focus of the Digital India programme is to enable digital infrastructure for every citizen with high speed internet in all Gram Panchayats, sharable privates spaces in a public cloud, digital identity for citizens etc., bring governance and services on demand with single window access to all government departments, real time online availability of government services, making transaction above a threshold cashless etc., and digitally empowering citizens with universally accessible digital resources, support for Indic languages, availability of government documents/certificates online, collaborative and participative governance etc.

Impact: According to a presentation on the program by DeitY, the impact of Digital India will bring broadband to 2.5 lakh villages, 400,000 public internet access points, Wi-Fi in 2.5 lakh schools and universities along with public wi-fi hotspots for citizens among other things. The program is estimated to create 1.7 crore direct jobs and more than 8.5 crore jobs indirectly.

Management and funding: A programme management structure consisting of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs for according the approval of projects, and a Monitoring Committee headed by the Prime Minister will be established for monitoring the implementing the programme. The source of funding for most of the e-Governance based projects will come through budgetary provisions made by the respective Department/Ministry in the Central or State governments.

Overall DeitY alone estimated the cost of its ongoing schemes at Rs 100,000 crore and has identified Rs 13,000 crore for new schemes and activities.

Budget Announcements: During the budget presentation, earlier this year, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had proposed an allocation of Rs 500 crore for e-governance; to bring connectivity at every village, greater transparency in government processes and increased production of indigenous IT hardware and software via the Digital India program. Funds were also provided to other IT related projects including

– Rs 100 crore was allocated for setting up virtual classrooms to exploit the reach of the IT industry to further education.

– Rs 100 crore was allocated to the Startup Village entrepreneurship scheme for rural India.

– E-visa’s for specific countries and an online platform for bill payments were to be implemented. Full coverage here.

Other e-initiatives:

The Indian government’s official in-house advertising placement agency, the Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity had previously extended its online advertising pilot yet again, now into its fourth year.

MSME Ministry had launched a dedicated jobs portal targeted at unemployed skilled persons in July.

Multiple government services launched e-portals including tickets for Taj Mahal, online students grievance redressal system by the UGC and forest clearance web portal among others in July this year.

The Kerala Legislature had moved to open source software following the expiry of Windows XP support period.

Updates: Typo in headline corrected