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Cabinet approves Digital India programme

21 August 2014

The union cabinet at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday gave its approval for `Digital India', a programme to transform India into digitally-empowered society and knowledge economy. 

The programme, envisaged by the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY), aims to seamlessly integrate departments or jurisdictions across the country so as to provide easy and single-window access to all citizens.

''Digital India is transformational in nature and would ensure that government services are available to citizens electronically. It would also bring in public accountability through mandated delivery of government's services electronically, a Unique ID and e-Pramaan based on authentic and standard based interoperable and integrated government applications and data bases,'' an official release said.

The programme will be implemented in phases from the current year till 2018.

Digital India envisages electronic infrastructure as utility to every citizen and hence high speed internet as a core utility will be made available to all gram panchayats.

The programme will ensure a unique cradle-to-grave authenticable digital identity.

To enable easy access to services, individuals can use mobile phones and bank accounts to access digital and financial transactions. All government services will be made available online in real time and on mobile platforms as well.

Common Service Centre within the locality will ensure easy access to a sharable private space on a safe and secure cloud-based and publically operated cyber space in the country.

The aim is to seamlessly integrate departments or jurisdictions to provide easy and a single window access to all persons so as to ensure governance and services on demand.

Besides making available all citizen entitlements on the cloud to ensure easy access, government services will be digitally transformed for improving ease of doing business and making financial transactions above a threshold, electronic and cashless.

All government documents/ certificates will be available on the cloud. These services will be availability in all Indian languages and all entitlements for individuals will be made portable through cloud computing.

Interactive digital platforms will be made available for participative governance thereby making technology central to enabling change.

Digital India is the umbrella programme which covers many departments and jurisdictions and weaves together a large number of ideas and thoughts into a single, comprehensive vision, so that each of them is seen as part of a larger goal. Each individual element stands on its own, but is also part of the larger picture.

The programme will pull together many existing schemes, which would be restructured and re-focused and implemented in a synchronised manner. 

Digital India aims to provide the much needed thrust to the nine pillars of growth areas, namely:

  • Broadband Highways
  • Universal Access to Mobile Connectivity
  • Public Internet Access Programme
  • e-Governance: Reforming Government through Technology
  • e-Kranti - Electronic Delivery of Services
  • Information for All
  • Electronics Manufacturing
  • IT for Jobs
  • Early Harvest Programmes

The programme will fully utilise the existing common and support ICT infrastructure established by the government of India even as the existing and ongoing e-governance initiatives would be revamped to align them with the principles of Digital India. 

Besides, the scope of the present infrastructure will be enhanced through process reengineering, use of integrated and interoperable systems and deployment of emerging technologies like cloud and mobile to enhance delivery of government services to citizens.

Adoption of Unique ID would be promoted to facilitate identification, authentication and delivery of benefits.

States would have flexibility to identify for inclusion additional state-specific projects, which are relevant to their socio-economic needs. The centre would, however, promote e-governance through a centralised initiative to ensure citizen centric service orientation.

Public-private partnerships would be preferred wherever feasible.

Restructuring of NIC would be undertaken to strengthen the IT support to all government departments at the centre and state levels.

The positions of chief information officers (CIO) would be created in at least 10 key ministries so that various e-governance projects could be designed, developed and implemented faster.

DeitY would create necessary senior positions within the department for managing the programme.

Central ministries / departments and state governments would have the overall responsibility for implementation of various mission mode and other projects under the programme. Considering the need for overall aggregation and integration at the national level, it is considered appropriate to implement Digital India as a programme with well defined roles and responsibilities of each agency involved.

A programme management structure would be established for monitoring implementation. Key components of the management structure would consist of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) for according approval to projects, a monitoring committee headed by the prime minister, a Digital India advisory group chaired by the minister of communications and IT, an apex committee chaired by the cabinet secretary and the expenditure finance committee (EFC) / committee on non-Plan expenditure (CNE).

Wednesday's meeting was a follow-up to the key decisions on the design of the programme taken during the meeting on Digital India programme held on 7 August 2014, aimed at sensitising all ministries to this vast programme touching every corner of the government. 

All e-Governance projects are at present funded through budgetary provisions of respective ministries/ departments in the central or state governments. Requirements of funds for individual project(s) for Digital India will be worked out by respective nodal ministries/ departments, according to the release.

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