Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Digital India - a dream , a vision, a plan!

Digital India - a dream, a vision, a plan! Image Source

The Government of India recently came up with an initiative to integrate the different sections and departments of the Government and the people of India.  The ultimate goal is to ensure the availability of the government services to people through the electronic medium. The initiative labelled as 'Digital India' also aims at  establishing a high-speed internet network zone in rural areas. Of course, change is inevitable  but to see a change certain actions have to be taken. The government of India has rightly started the Digital India programme to digitize India by making good use of technology to enable  access of services from Government sectors to the citizens. Be it Banking, Education, Healthcare, Agriculture or any core sector  for that matter  is the key focus area under this programme.  It is chaired by our honorable Prime Minister. 

“Today, when diagnostic machines have replaced the doctor’s expertise to a large extent, I want companies to come to India and manufacture expensive equipment needed for medical treatment, I want FDI to come into the sector. If hospitals like this are part of the network providing medical advice through telemedicine, quality health care can reach people living in remote areas for which Digital India can come in handy. I want the Digital India initiative to be effectively used for improving medicare and education."

- Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India. 

He has a great vision for the benefit of the nation and its citizens. The concept of Digital India is also linked in establishing various smart cities in India. With a booming economy, great innovations and advancements in technology, we need to act responsibly and smartly to ensure that we reap useful things from what technology has to offer us.  It is also tipped that in the upcoming next few years this would definitely prove beneficial for consumers, business and society. The ultimate value add that it has to offer is to connect the market and the 
consumer through a digitized system.  But there are few points that need to be highlighted to attain a Digital India dream. 

1. Facilitate and ensure affordable access with easily available data enabled services in form of Internet plans. Implementation of a channelized system such as mobile wallets that involves digital transactions and easy payments. Mobile wallet could be an ambitious plan and it would definitely work positive for the citizens. Low cost internet and internet enabled devices will always help! There should not be a disconnect between Rural and Urban India in terms of digital infrastructure facilities. High speed network coverage is a must in rural areas in order to give life to the Digital India plan. Also the government should motivate and incentivise Telecom players to provide cheap and affordable data plans.

2. Online distance education plan that provides free education to everyone wishing to avail education. We should feed our nations dream of 100% literacy and this point would prove beneficial to achieve this dream.

3. An e-governance mechanism to facilitate all stakeholders to function effectively

4. Ensuring an environment that allows consumer and market to  venture and connect with each other

5. Creating a digital workforce.

6. Creating awareness among  people residing in rural India emphasizing the advantages of Internet and thereby educating them to enroll in various digital education programmes. 

7. Connect tier 1,2 and 3 cities by harnessing the potential of the internet.

8. Creating a common access channel for public access to internet. Internet has always been acting as a messiah since the last 2 decades and a lot has been said about it. One needs to harness the best out of it!

9.  Create a  repository of personal data in forms of certificates and belongings through a private  secure cloud network. A unique pin or an identification number would be generated for a person. Using this digital identification number , the person can access his private cloud network that would have access to all his details. So during important government activities, he or she doesn't needs to provide the entire list of documents. They just need to provide their unique cloud identity number that would contain his document details.

10. All transaction and services to be done from online and mobile. Digital India aims  to provide governance and services on demand. All the different departments of the Indian Government would provide online facilities to people to connect.  Another important goal or vision is to make financial transactions electronic and cashless. Few of the above points has already implemented such as  online  and mobile banking. It seems to be an ambitious project and a lot of efforts  have to be taken to bring this into reality.

Let's talk about the different areas or sector  that can be coupled with the dream of having a Digital India. Healthcare, Banking, Education, Judiciary , Agriculture  are few of the areas that can be considered under the Digital India programme

1. Healthcare
The healthcare sector is lagging in our country. A comparison with the Western countries reveals great facts. Being a healthcare consultant, I am very much aware of how healthcare can be a golden fish and help in raising the standard of the nation. US has various reforms  such as the meaningful Usage MU2 and others that have various facilities and provisions to citizens. Unfortunately, we are lagging behind with this. A large population of our country resides in rural areas where medication facilities are sub standard.  Electronic Healthcare is ambitious, but it provides hope to raise the standard of living. How about developing  online clinics with the help of technology. A patient record  through means of a unique Medical Record number could be stored in an Electronical Medical Record system which is basically an online storage repository to store patient medical  and health details. All the details could be stored in the online cloud created for the particular patient. Through an online clinic, the physician would get access to all his patient records. In case, the physician  or the doctor needs to prescribe medicines to the patient, then he could prescribe medications through the EMR that would send the medications details to an ePharma tied up with the eClinic. The ePharma would send the medicines to the patient's house and the amount would be deducted through  the patient's electronic money wallet. All the records would be available in the cloud and the doctor would be having access to the cloud. This concept is actually complex and is  ambitious. There are lots of disconnects when it comes to delivering health care and a better access to quality healthcare is everyone's  right.  

A sample e-healthcare system - Source 

Various departments of the Government could act as interfaces and help in easy transaction! Suppose in rural area, a woman is pregnant and has delivered a baby. Her financial condition is tight and later on such a crisis situation it would be dificult for her to manager her children. In such a case, the child welfare department could store all the new born details on its database. The finance department or an  equivalent ministry could provide money to the family so as to help in the growth of the child. Thus in such a way healthcare sector can be digitialized.

2. Education
Everyone knows that the education system in India is complex and it needs to be reviewed and revived. Through the Digital India programme, a  digital university could be set up that would work in unison with the various universities, schools and colleges across India. It would be connected through broadband and free WiFi services could be provided to the schools and colleges. Digital Literacy is something that is good from a long term perspective.  Countries like the USA, Singapore, China and Japan have already adopted this!  Through various multimedia and interactive learnings, students develop a good interest level in studies.  eLearning and eEducation should be given high importance as it could be the next big thing. A Digital Library should be set up by the government that will enable access to documents and high-quality materials. Its high time to switch from Traditional Educational system to a Digital System
Image Source - here 

3. Banking
Banking is an important core  sector in India. Most of the key banking features such as online and mobile banking has already been made online but still this needs to be actively used by rural population. However they need to be mentored and educated about how to Bank through internet and mobile. They are still lagging and eBanking is something that would help.

Bank Online - Image Source 

4. Agriculture
It would be great to couple technology and agriculture. Farmers  have been struggling in India since the last few years due to lack of finances and many other issues. You must be thinking how technology could help them.  Real time price information,provision of online cash and loan facilities needs to  implemented for farmers. 

Mentoring Farmers  - Image  Source 

The public grievances and concerns redressal system should be made online. It should contain a utility to map the different sectors, associated officials and geographical location with the concerned ministry. Thereby necessary actions could be taken against the corrupt officials.

A large number of Digital workforce has to be established like I said earlier. This would create  various job opportunities. People from villages could be given job through proper training and mentorship programmes. 

The Road and Transport ministry could also contribute to the Digital India programme by ensuring that a commuter is safe on his journey. A timely reminder about different journey routes, timely region specific traffic updates on SMS basis could also help. 

The Railway Department  has been setting up a good example for the Digital India programe. Through IRCTC, the Indian Railways aims at providing railway tickets to its users. Manual efforts could be reduced. A lot of infrastructural upgrades in terms of large number of servers, managing transactions during  peak ticket booking hours should be addressed. This is a great revenue generating department and hence a lot could be done if things are properly implemented.

The  Income Tax department provides online payment of taxes and filing returns. The Passport and Election departments have their online presence too. 

Recently the Government of India has launched a platform to connect with the citizens so as to provide ideas and plans  as a medium of interaction with the common person. It is called MyGov.in. Do join this and see for yourself. It is a one-stop portal to get access to various Government departments. 

There are lots of advantages of the Digital India Programme. It is indeed an ambitious project. The road to success is never easy. Our country is rapidly developing and every developing economy needs to pay emphasis on technology. Implementation is one of the major challenge. This is a large scale programme and a lot of effort needs to be put in order to materialize it! If everything works well, then our nation would be a digital one. A lot can be said and a lot can be done too! As a citizen of this country , I only think for the betterment of this nation. A technology driven system is something  that could do wonders. 

If the words, programmes and projects  translate into actions, implementation and reality, then one day our country could be a digitalized country. I dream of a Digital India!


  1. Nice ideas to utilize Digital India initiative !

  2. I liked your ideas, especially the ones in healthcare.

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