India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Silicon Valley has created a lot of buzz lately. While addressing the CEO’s of the top tech companies of Silicon Valley in San Jose, Modi said, “Digital India is an enterprise for the transformation of India in a scale unmatched in human history. Nothing else will do in a country with 800 million impatient youngsters waiting for change.”Highlighting the importance of being connected, he called Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – The ‘new neighbourhoods of the world’.  This address by Modi was received well by the CEOs.

Shantanu Narayan from Adobe while opening the event said India’s embrace of technology has changed its destiny and is competing in the world with its greatest asset, its people. Sundar Pichai of Google, referring to the fast growing start-up culture if India, also stated, “India is the fastest growing start-up economy in the world. They are not just Indian success stories, but global success stories.”

Digital India programme has been welcomed by the rest of the world. People have great expectations from it. But what exactly is ‘Digital India’ all about? Why is Narendra Modi being appreciated for it so much?

The Basic Idea – 

The Digital India programme is an initiative of Govt. of India aiming to integrate the government departments and Indian citizens.  In the past, E-governance initiatives started gaining importance around 1990s. Although these initiatives were citizen centric, they did not make an impact as required due to their limited features and lack of public awareness.  They also lacked in their planning, management and infrastructure.

The Digital India programme is being launched with the same vision, but with a lot better implementation, planning and infrastructure.  The government plans to introduce an entirely new surrounding for Public services in India through the use of IT technology.  The vision of the programme is to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy.

Features of the initiative –

The initiative includes connecting rural areas with high speed networks. This will act as the backbone of the whole system. Digital India has mainly three components – The creation of Data infrastructure, Delivering services digitally and Digital literacy. It is targeted for completion by 2045.

This programme aims for all the ministries/ departments like Healthcare, Education, Judiciary etc  to leverage the common and support ICT infrastructure laid down by govt. The programme aims to connect each department directly to the consumer so that enquiry, grievance registering and other primary functions are simplified. Dept. Of electronics and information technology (deity) is responsible for laying down and evolving standards and policies, provide technical and handholding support etc. The existing e-governance initiatives will be revamped according to the current technologies by applying the emerging technologies like cloud &mobile. The programme also encourages public – private partnership wherever feasible.  A unique ID will be devised for identification, authentication and delivery of benefits provided.  Along with this positions of Chief Information Officers in at least 10 ministries would be declared so that the implementation of the programme is faster.

9 key points of Digital India Programme have been released. Universal access to phones, Public Internet Access Programme, Broadband Highways and Early Harvest Programmes are some of them. The Early Harvest Programmes are the projects which are to be implemented in a short time. These include IT Platform for Messages, e- Govt. greetings, Bio-metric attendance, Wi-Fi for all universities and a secure email system within the Govt.

So What next? –

The greatest challenge before the GoI, in order to implement the initiative is to connect each department/ ministry to the targeted citizens. With such a large population connectivity is the biggest problem. Apart from this, the spread of awareness of working with technology and Infrastructure is also an indispensable need. Rural India is still yet to achieve the knowhow of using the latest technology. Digital India has the same challenges and problems as faced by concept of Internet of Things.

Currently, Digital India is still in progress till November 2015. GoI has launched a digital locker named Digi Locker. The current government headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken special initiative to spread the awareness about the programme through launching Digital India Week. As truly stated by Sundar Pichai, Modi has driven India’s effort to become the next hotbed of innovation.