Digital India Week’ was recently launched by the Prime Minister of India to provide a thrust to the ‘Digital India’ campaign. A million-dollar question is that, how far we would be able to achieve the objectives of being Digital through this initiative. Many believe that the launch is a forward looking step from the government that will give impetus to certain milestones of Digital India initiative like promotion of Mobile Governance and local manufacturing of electronics.
Apparently, the Digital India initiative aims to provide thrust to nine pillars identified as growth areas. These pillars include – broadband highways, everywhere mobile connectivity, public internet access program, e-Governance, e-Kranti, information for all, electronics manufacturing, IT for Jobs, and early harvest programs. Let’s have a look at some of the initiatives planned and the role of IT in their success:-
Certificates issued by the government — education, residential, medical records, birth certificates, etc. — are to be stored in individual ‘digital lockers’ and a communication protocol established for government departments to access them without physically having to see the hard copy. Digital lockers will store highly sensitive information and citizen documents which will provide the capability for sharing the documents to respective government agencies for getting various citizen services.
Government Process Reengineering
Bring about a significant transparency and efficiency to plethora of government services including tax filing, license & permit issuance, and many more which should be automated using Agile Workflow Management System which will provide the essential enablers for e-Governance initiatives by setting up a continuous improvement platform in a smaller time.
Due to ubiquitous proliferation of mobile technology, there is high adoption of mobile phones/tablets in Indian government organizations which will be utilized by government to enable real-time, two-way communication with citizens for providing various citizen centric services. Government agencies have the need to deploy a configurable, end-to-end mobility platform that integrates citizen centric applications with multifarious backend systems which are essential to manage and track the delivery of citizen services.
Digitize India Platform (DIP)
This initiative has been formed for large scale digitization of records in the country which would facilitate efficient delivery of services to the citizens without requiring the physical citizen documents.
However, the roadmap for Digital India which is being scripted in the government corridors require dedicated efforts from government, not only in the form of vision statements they release but also through allocation of sufficient budgets for the development of IT sector particularly for IT innovation in India.
What should be at the forefront of this progamme?
Digitization holds the key to transform this ‘Digital India’ dream into reality. Secured and Certified digitization of the information wedged in large volumes of government paper documents and files is critical for paperless Digital India. Documents once digitized and stored in central archive, can be made available any-time, anywhere to all key stake holders that can be limited by right based access. This gives impetus to the whole decision making process and results in faster delivery of services to citizens.
Critical Success factors of Digitization
While the government agencies open their doors for myriad forms of Digitization platforms and solutions, it is important to bear a few of these aspects in mind:
- Ensuring Quality of Digitization output
- Ensuring Authenticity of Important Documents
- Adherence & Compliance with open standards for long term archival
- Scalable & Manageable Archive of documents through efficient Document Management System
Although the program is fairly extensive, it has a number of elements in it and a number of other smaller proposals and programs that would roll out gradually. But if the government can follow up on its proposals, it may significantly change the lives of people in the country. Initiatives such as m-Governance, Digital Lockers, Government Process Re-engineering etc would have various challenges which the government needs to overcome through efficient use of Information Technology having hand in hand with various IT companies in India which have already formulated various solutions and frameworks for m-Governance, Digital Locker and for other initiatives.
So IT innovation along with change management policies can accomplish the goal of ‘Digital India’ in its true sense. Meanwhile, the Government should also look to introduce special monetary incentives for the Indian software product companies that invest heavily on research & development to create world-class software products. They are not just creating major revenue streams that bring in foreign exchange and reduce the fiscal deficit, but are also developing technology assets that can make us a Digital Superpower. Transforming India into a digital hub comes with some serious obstacles, the need for right infrastructure and technology platform being the foremost, without which ‘Digital India’ will be just another ambitious programme of the Indian government.