70 years of Independence
Special Feature – I-Day 2017
Digital Revolution in India
Evolution of technology has been the foundation stone of progress and has over the centuries changed the way societies function. Technological inventions have revolutionized each sector of the society by reducing human labour, brining efficiency and increasing productivity. Be it introduction of information communication technologies in education, digitization in the media and services sector, automated devices for health care ; each sphere of society gets a boost with the touch of technology. For a country like India that has a perfect blend of rich traditional heritage and one of the fastest growing economies with the largest ‘young ‘population; there is an immense opportunity to change the face of the society with technological revolution. While the country has seen implementation of technological inventions in various fields in several decades after independence, the present Government has acted as a catalyst in not only speeding up the process of digital revolution in the country but also taking an initiative in bridging the digital divide in the country. The past three years have not only witnessed a swift rise in exploration, implementation and utilization of digital technologies but also focused on taking digitization and its benefits to the grass root level and especially to the less privileged sections of the society.
Digital revolution in India is significant as it promises to bring a multi-dimensional metamorphosis in almost all sectors of the society. From digitization in governance to better health care and educational services, cashless economy and digital transactions, transparency in bureaucracy, fair and quick distribution of welfare schemes all seem achievable with the digital India initiative of the present Government. A look at Government initiatives in various sectors in past three years show how digital revolution in India is not only changing the way society functions but also bridging the gap between the haves and the have-nots of the country.
The quality of education in any society forms the foundation stone for the very fabric of the society. Keeping in mind the importance of education, the digital India initiatives puts together a number of digital services for improving the dissemination of education in society. Be it primary level, secondary level or higher education and research facilities, the various digital schemes in this sector are revolutionizing the education system in the country. While there are a number of schemes in the education sector, to mention a few –‘SWAYAM’ scheme provides an opportunity to students to access courses taught in classrooms from ninth standard to post graduation, that can be accessed by anyone, anywhere at any time. This digital scheme not only brings education at the door step of numerous students but also aims to bridge the digital divide as students who cannot join mainstream or formal education can access this application. Another digital scheme is ‘ePATHSHALA’ which disseminates all educational content through website and mobile app. Next in row are schemes like ‘ Mid-Day Meal Monitoring App’, ‘Shaala Sidhi’ and ‘Shaala Darpan’ that focus on quality of school administration and evaluate the schools and kendriya vidyalas to improve the quality of education. Promoting research skills is the ‘OLABS’ digital scheme. OLabs i.e. online labs for school lab experiments provide students with ease of conducting experiments over internet. In the area of higher education Government has the ‘National Scholarship Portal’, ‘eGranthalya’, ‘National Knowledge Network’ to name a few. These digital initiatives not only look at improving the sector of education but are reaching out in bringing education to the underprivileged, thus utilizing the digital revolution to bridge the gap between haves and have-nots of education.
While education sector constructs the fabric of the society, Health care is an equally important sector for a society that has a secure and stable future. The various digital initiatives of the Government in the health services include- ‘ Digital AIIMS’ a project that aims to create an effective linkage between UIDAI and AIIMS; the ‘e-hospitals’ scheme that is an open source health management system; ‘mRaktkosh’ – a web based mechanism that interconnects all blood banks of the state into a single network. Besides health and Education the present Government has also taken various initiatives to digitize governance. For instance the ‘UMANG’ aims to bring one stop solution to all government services; ‘e-panchayat’, ‘eDistricts’, eOffice; are also some of the services to digitize governance and administration in the country. Besides these the ‘National Voters Service Portal’ and ‘ECI-EVM Tracking Services are also bringing about transparency in governance. The AADHAR scheme and BHIM app are also significant in speeding up the process of digitizing the economy.
Unique to India’s character is the agriculture sector. The Governments’ Digital India initiative is also proving a number of schemes for the benefit of the farmer. Some of the schemes in the agriculture sector include, ‘mkisan’, ‘farmer portal’, ‘Kisan Suvidha app’, ‘Pusa Krishi’, ‘Soil Health Card app’ , ‘eNAM’, ‘Crop Insurance Mobile APP’ , ‘Agri Market app’ and ‘Fertilizer Monitoring App. Keeping in mind women’s safety, applications like ‘Nirbhaya app’ and ‘Himmat app’ have been launched that facilitate sending of distress calls. There are also apps for law enforcement agencies, courts and judiciary.
Thus, several initiatives by Government in various sectors are not only an attempt to revolutionise the society but also focus on utilizing the digital technologies to elevate the down trodden and bridge the gap between the different social strata.
*The author presently teaches in Panjab University. Earlier worked as a senior correspondent in major newspapers.
Views expressed in the article are author’s personal.
(This Feature has been contributed by PIB Chandigarh)