With the unprecedented rise of data usage favored by one of the lowest data prices in the world, more of the Indians commenced exchanging data over the internet and gave rise to a boundless opportunity for the next wave of Information Technology to flourish in India.
The stepwise formulation by the government played a prime role in ensuring the spread of internet usage as a means of deriving services and enriching the country to become a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy. A robust channel of receiving feedback from the people, MyGov, with more than 1crore users, has ensured the active participation of people to maintain Digital India as a people-driven approach. Active involvement of technological advancements in governance and decision-making is the way forward for Digital India.
A clear vision of the Digital India program has stimulated the efficiency of digital service delivery by ensuring development at the grassroots level via the formulation of 796 digital villages and more than 3.6 lakh functional common services centers offering digital access points for the delivery of essential public utility services, social welfare schemes, healthcare, financial, education and agriculture services, apart from the host of B2C services to citizens in rural and remote areas of the country. The ease of service delivery via Digital India has paved the way for the long-term vision of being ‘Atmanirbhar’. It has also been reported recently that the number of internet users in rural India has surpassed that in urban cities.
One of the core pillars of Digital India has been on training the youth for employment opportunities in the IT/ ITES sector. The world’s largest digital literacy program, PMG-Disha, has already trained around 3crore candidates. Transformative reforms like JAM (JanDhan, Aadhar and Mobile) trinity have ensured the plugging of system-wide leakages by facilitating the direct benefit transfers worth more than 11 lakh crores, directly into the bank account of beneficiaries. Not only this but an instantaneous and secure mode of financial transactions is now within the reach of all with UPI experiencing a radical growth crossing ₹2lakh crore amount of transactions last year. Aadhaar Enabled Payment System (AePS) of India Post Payments Bank has brought banks to the doorsteps of the villagers and poor. Since its launch, more than 1.17 Crore AePS transactions have been carried out in which around 95 lakh transactions have taken place during COVID -19 lockdown.
The future of technology-driven Atmanirbhar India can be the corollary of the large asset of Digital India that we have built for many years. While making data-based informed decisions and policy developments, it is imperative to safeguard the data privacy of everyone and ensure the relevance of this new gold. Agile and technology-driven activeness, with public-private involvement, has helped more than 10 crore users to be aware of the current pandemic using mobile apps like Aarogya Setu, Chatbots on various platforms and vernacular content for people all around the country via MyGov. With the active participation of mobile app developers to submit around 7000 entries for the government’s app challenge, there can be an optimistic way-forward to an APP-Nirbhar backbone that may offer a coherent model of service delivery via the involvement of the citizens.