'Digital India' introduced at Internet Governance Forum


NEW DELHI: The new government had embarked on a very ambitious initiative called Digital India - which aims to transform India into a digitally empowered society and a knowledge economy.

While elaborating on the component of Digital India, Department of Information Technology secretary RS Sharma also talked about National Optical Fiber Network (NOFN), National Information Infrastructure (NII) and other efforts of the government.  

Speaking at the ninth meeting of the Internet Governance Forum, 2014 in Istanbul, Turkey, Sharma noted, “25 per cent of the people in India amount to around one billion people. More than 800 million mobile subscribers are connected to the telecommunication backbone. All possible steps are being taken to connect everyone to the Internet.”

The fact that just around four billion people around the world have access to internet should be treated as an opportunity and not a challenge, he added.

The Main Focus Panel at the meet was ‘Policies enabling access, growth and development on the Internet.’ Nigerian Communication Minister Omobola Johnson, deputy assistant secretary of state & U.S. coordinator for international communications Daniel A. Sepulveda and Neelie Kroes, vice-president of the European Commission, commissioner for digital agenda were also present at the panel discussion. 

Other important components of Digital India, all of which contributed to the improved access mentioned were: Cradle to Grave Digital Identity to every person, mobile phone and bank account to everyone, creation of digital resources in Indian languages and setting up of Common Service Delivery Centres in each panchayat. This will allow transparent and efficient electronic service delivery. In this regard regulations related to Electronic Service Delivery are being prepared and will be implemented in the near future. Additionally, post offices will also be used as Common Service Delivery Centres. Many countries have appreciated India’s excellent public delivery system model. 

Sharma also emphasised that the problem of access should not be looked merely from the perspective of creation of infrastructure. There are many issues like capacity building, content creation, especially in local languages, business models for service delivery and coordination among various agencies which will need to tackled in a coordinated manner. 

He also mentioned about the Digital Literacy Programme, an on-going project which aims at building capacity among potential users of the internet. In addition to this, the government has also launched e-Bhasa project or e-Language project which would ensure availability content in local languages. 

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