The Indian horizon saw a new light in 2014 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi introduced the Digital India scheme.
The introduction of Digital India was for simplest of reasons, making India technology savvy, promoting mobile phones, improving connectivity, making services available on the internet etc. This scheme has received special impetus after demonetization and the advent of Jio. Digital India is mainly focused on three main ideas:
- Creation of Digital Infrastructure and Electronic Manufacturing in India.
- Delivery of all Government Services electronically (E-Governance).
- Digital Empowerment of Indian people.
Following are some of the benefits of the Digital India scheme: -
1. Convenience in services.
Many services like payment of bills, booking of seats etc. has become so easy. Earlier, if we had to pay the water bill or say, the electricity bill, we had to stand in long queues. Slowly and gradually the line in front of us would thin and when we reached the counter, it would be lunch break! How frustrating was that! But gone are those days. Now, we can pay these bills in less than a minute. You only require an internet connection and money in your bank with internet banking facility (Now UPI, debit card payment with CVV etc. are also available). The government has also started some services like booking appointments for driving license, passports, Pan cards etc. This has saved plenty of time of the people of this country. Earlier these above jobs were considered very time consuming. It would take days. But today, thanks to digitization, the time has decreased considerably. Another service called DIGILOCKER has been started. One can ‘pull’ important documents like Aadhaar card, Pan card, driving license etc from the Government agencies. More services like filing Income tax returns (or even paying income tax, GST) and RTI etc. can also be mentioned. Services provided by the Government through the electronic means is in common parlance called E-Governance.
Indian courts are starting to get digital. Online case serial number, online filing (for some tribunals) judgments etc. can be viewed online. This has helped expedite the much-needed court process.
Earlier the only type of education that was known was the “classroom education”. This trend has changed. Now, learning can be done anywhere. Many paid applications like BYJU’s, Khan academy etc. provide education on the go. Education has no boundaries now because of Digital India. But education has exponential potential in the regards of Digital India. Some of the redundant laws like mandatory 75% attendance need to be scrapped of by the government and replaced with education through live teaching or recordings etc. We have barely scratched the surface. More improvement can be made with regard to the education sector.
Digital India has resulted in explosion of job opportunities for job seekers interested in computers. The demand for IT experts, computer engineers has increased exponentially. With the advent of technology, cybercrimes have increased. This has resulted in the demand for cyber and forensic experts, cyber lawyer. Digital India has created a new sphere of jobs which was not even thought of in the earlier days
5. E-commerce and e-payments.
Digital India has resulted in flourishing of e- commerce websites like Flipkart, Amazon, Myntra, Snapdeal etc. This has attracted foreign investment and jobs. This has increased competition among the sellers and so the prices have decreased, and more options are now available with the buyer. Overall, it has been very beneficial for the Indian economy. E-payment websites have also flourished under this scheme, especially after demonetization. Paytm, Mobiqwik, Phone-pay, Ola money, Airtel money etc. All these e-payment websites have helped the money market and also provided convenience to the users.
6. Superfast internet speed.
After the inception of JIO, the rates of data have been falling. Earlier, it was Rs 300 for 1GB data for 28 days. Now, it is Rs 300 for daily 1GB data for almost 3 months! Even the data speed has increased almost 10 times. This happened indirectly due to Digital India.
Digital India has been an ambitious and beneficial step in the development of India. Many criticize this move on these following grounds: -
- Killing the jobs of manual workers.
- Birth of new crimes, new instruments available for the criminals to do crimes
- Lack of infrastructure.
Tackling the first argument, we cannot stop something new just because it steps over something old and inefficient. If we use argument (A) everywhere, then nothing new will ever come. Petrol vehicles destroyed bullock carts, writing on paper destroyed inscription on stones etc. New things have to come, even at the cost of something old.
Crimes will always be there. Start with something basic, imagine the invention of a knife. It can be used for cutting vegetables meat etc. Similarly, it can be used to murder someone. Now, take the example of vehicles. It brought a revolution in transport industry. But the same vehicle can be used to run someone over or help a criminal evade the police! There are pros and cons to everything, which does not mean we should stop something. The only issue is that the new thing must be properly regulated (in our case - Digital India) because everything takes time to be perfect. Digital India is hardly 4 years old. There are bound to be problems. It will take some time to solve them. The Government is continuously taking efforts to strengthen the law and order regarding this (KYC guidelines, The Information Technology act, RBI guidelines, etc). It is trying to improve the digital infrastructure, spreading digital awareness etc.
Ultimately, it can be said that Digital India programme has huge potential and if properly regulated it can make India great again.