The Ministry of Electronics and IT (MEITY) is celebrating 5 years of Digital India with the theme of Digital Bharat and Aatma Nirbhar Bharat.
Addressing the distinguished audience at Electronics Niketan, New Delhi, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Union Minister, Law and Justice, Electronics and IT, and Communications, Government of India, said there has been strong economic growth across India. Digital entrepreneurship has been on the rise. All the digital and other platforms have become milestones of success. We need to complement MEITY. Aadhar has had to fight many battles. This has been a real journey. There is a reason to have a modest feeling about success. The communications department has been working very efficiently. By focusing on Digital India, we have successfully taken on the challenge provided by Covid-19. Digital governance has come to be the core of India’s response.
He requested the industry to also look at digital education. Can we create a good digital platform for doing this? Can we have a common platform like GeM? A farmer has all the facilities and information with the click of a button. We also need to apply AI for education and agriculture. We must also become a big sector for electronics manufacturing. We need to have goods and apps made by India. He requested the industry to encourage the large number of startups, intelligent minds, etc. There is tremendous capability in India. Let us take this as an opportunity. Let us make India a big center for Made in India apps.
There are tasks that must be doable. On the communications side, we have broadband and the BharatNet, etc. India is also a big sector for landlines. There should be a proper telecom policy in place to provide broadband via landlines and cable. Let us also carry the journey of digital inclusion forward. We can make India a base for stronger products as well.
India is in the areas of digital delivery of services, empowerment, etc. The way the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi has supported and guided, is an inspiration. These five years are very well deserved. We must scale to greater heights in the future. The way India’s app economy is rising has been excellent. The $1 trillion economy is easily achievable. Let us also make this public-private partnership in language translation. There will be bigger smiles on our faces.
Ajay Prakash Sawhney, Secretary, MEITY, said there is fair amount of activity happening for Digital India. It has brought about a large, well-knit ecosystem. We have made efforts to bring broadband to all parts of the country. We have huge data centers across the country. We have also built various kinds of services via the e-governance projects. There is repeated and relentless focus on inclusion. The Minister has ensured we do not lose sight and work towards building the country.
Common service centers (CSCs) are spread across the nook and corner of the country. There is thrust on taking e-commerce all the way to the villages. It has been a wonderful journey so far. We have built a wonderful foundation for a digital platform under the guidance of our Honorable Prime Minister and the Honorable Minister.
India has launched the public digital national platform on top of the huge foundation that exists today. We also take tremendous inspirations from Aadhar. It is one of the finest digital platforms across the world. We take inspiration from UPI. We take inspiration from DigiLocker. GSTN has been an amazing success.
The One India, One Market, One Ecosystem has been facilitated via GeM. The Government e Marketplace (GeM), was created in a record time of five months. It facilitates online procurement of common use goods and services required by the various government departments / organisations / PSUs. GeM aims to enhance transparency, efficiency and speed in public procurement. It provides the tools of e-bidding, reverse e-auction and demand aggregation to facilitate the government users, achieve the best value for their money.
We have an amazing range of projects as well, which have been implemented by the Central Government, State Governments, Departments, etc. But, all of these are standalones. It is not knit together in any way. Knitting these together is very important. We now have the Agile India Enterprise Architecture in place.
We should also have a platform that is of nationwide scale. We have a massive country, population and market. It is the mothership of technologies and innovation. The public digital national platform is there. It gives us the opportunity to make use of each emerging technology that comes our way. Having another dozen, digital platforms would be very remarkable for us.
Four pillars of governance
Nandan Nilekani, Non-Executive Chairman of Infosys, said Digital India and MEITY have been central. The entire digital platform was made possible only because of the infrastructure that India has today. The Government has been the enabler, as a customer, technology, collaborator and providing solutions. MEITY was even present at the formation of Nasscom. The software technology park idea was also driven by MEITY.
India has a current account surplus, thanks to the software exports. All this is because of the support of MEITY. The National E-governance plan has many projects. We have also been able to use the latest technology. This has all happened, thanks to the Government as a customer.
The Government has also played a significant role in platform provision. Aadhar, DigiLocker, UPI, etc., are all fine examples. The private sector can be a collaborator and bring in new things. An example is the Aarogya Setu. The private sector and Government can collaborate even further. We must further continue in global leadership. Technology can be used for ease of business. We also have the Government role in creating lot of entrepreneurs.
There is also a huge role of AI for India. Our focus has been on transactional efficiency. We are going to create massive data in the public space. AI can be applied in a big way to derive insights. MEITY is greatly focused on AI. The Supreme Court launched Suvas, a language translation tool. The official multilingual mobile app of the Supreme Court was launched last year. It is the ”Supreme Court Vidhik Anuvaad Software’, a machine-assisted translation tool trained by AI. Ease of doing business and AI will play a crucial role.
Key role of digital initiatives
Sanjay Dhotre, Union Minister of State for HRD, Communications and Electronics & IT, Government of India, Today, the event is being organized digitally, within this Covid-19 pandemic. Digital initiatives have played an important role for India. IT has served as a blessing in disguise. Digital India has been successful in establishing a world-class digital infrastructure. It has always been focusing in meeting the needs of the common man.
Digital empowerment was, and is, the major purpose of Digital India. The majority of the Indian population resides in villages. CSCs are giving service to the villages. A total of 116 districts were direct beneficiaries. The initiative will be accelerated with Digital India. As a partner of Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan, there is also focus on economic development.
The recently launched Scheme for ‘Skill Development in ESDM for Digital India’ should be taken up by the private sector to boost electronics manufacturing. Leap of digital India should focus on emerging technologies. Digital India has delivered a strong foundation for our future.
Digital India startup ecosystem
Earlier, Debjani Ghosh, NASSCOM, spoke on Digital India Start-up ecosystem. Digital India has been a priviledged journey for all of us. All of India was locked up. However, we were working, studying, shopping, etc. This was because of the infrastructure that India has.
The startups have brought the innovation needed to make Digital India. The digital warriors have been very busy with the grassroot levels. What is required that we quickly adapt. At least 50% of the Indian startups are also changing their business models. The need of the hour is to change.
It is clear that India today has the world’s largest payment system. Prakash Kumar made a presentation on GSTN. Praveena Rai made a presentation on digital payments. We have been moving on from project to project. We have been using IT for providing better service for citizens. Transformation, empowerment and knowledge have been the three key words. Lot of programs have also been launched. The users should have one government experience for availing all of the services.
India is also working in agriculture, land, education, emerging technologies, etc. We also need to launch initiatives in Industry 4.0 as well. There are a number of areas for us to consider. We also have the next level of opportunity. We also have a vision to boost electronics manufacturing. We have launched two schemes. The Scheme for Promotion of Manufacturing of Electronic Components and Semiconductors (SPECS) is one of them. We can really take the role of being global leaders in electronics manufacturing.
BSNL has partnership with companies like Nokia, and provides the Nokia FTTH modem to the subscribers. The modem and the FTTH service are far better than expectations. There was also a film to mark the first five years of Digital India.