PM Narendra Modi launched the Digital India week in Delhi yesterday, wherein schemes worth Rs 1 lakh crore were unveiled, to be implemented by the Ministry of Communications and IT. The program spoke at length about investments in India and digitisation of multiple government services. However, conspicuously absent was any reference to the net neutrality debate or an open internet in the midst of digitising its services.
Note that in February this year, the Minister of IT and Communications Ravi Shankar Prasad said that the ministry had approved projects worth Rs 6,000 crore under the ‘Make in India’ program.
Here’s a list of services under the program:
Digital Locker: Where users can make any government applications online, store all documents online and e-signatures in the app.
E-sign: The e-sign framework will allow users to sign documents digitally using Aadhaar as an identification point for the documents.
Online Registration System: The ORS had been introduced under the eHospital application to provide online registration, fee payments, appointments, online diagnostics reports and blood availability enquiry among others.
National scholarship portal: This service, the government claims, will process scholarships end to end including application submission, verification, sanction and scholarship disbursal for all government scholarships.
Digitize India Platform: A DeitY initiative where the government will digitize records on a large scale to facilitate delivery of services.
Bharat Net: Formerly known as the National Optic Fiber Network (NOFN), this initiative will connect 2.5 lakh gram panchayats in India. This will be in 10 states including Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Haryana and Chhattisgarh, which are ready to roll out NOFN. NOFN launched in Kerala’s Idukki district earlier this year.
National digital literacy mission: The website claims that currently, around 280,000 people are undergoing training and around 114,000 people who have been trained under 367 training partners.
Next Gen Network (NGN): BSNL’s NGN will replace 30 year old telephone exchanges with IP based technology to manage services like voice, data, multimedia, video and packet-switched communications.
MyGov: Platform for citizen engagement in governance, also available as a mobile app
PayGov: A platform to make all government payments online
Aadhaar Mobile App: To become digital identity by connecting the mobile number to the Aadhaar number (assisted and self update)
Other initiatives include the large scale deployment of BSNL WiFi hotspots in the country in around 2,500 cities, broadband highways for connectivity and technology provision, outsourcing policy for North Eastern states and smaller towns, electronics development fund for promoting R&D, creating a resource pool and ecosystem of venture funds for self sustaining along with innovation.
Others are Jandhan and Aadhaar mobile (JAM), E-education, E-health, an app which will provide weather, seeds and fertiliser info for farmers, and an app for Swachh Bharat Mission. There is also a National centre for flexible electronics, called the NCFLEXE, inside IIT Kanpur, for research in the area of flexible electronics and a Centre of excellent on IoT, a joint venture between the government and private institutions like NASSCOM.
Last month, The National Informatics Centre developed a new portal called myvisit.gov.in where citizens could book appointments with government officials from central and state departments. The portal claimed that it had 84 departments with 4,873 officers and 40,057 visitors to departments as of last month.
In September last year, the Union Cabinet approved the signing of a Joint Declaration of Intent between the HRD ministry and US Department of State to cooperate on the SWAYAM programme for online education. As part of this initiative, the SWAYAM platform server would be based in India and US universities would be invited to offer post-graduate academic programs with certification on the platform.
Image Credit: DD screen grab