Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the ‘Digital India’ week on Wednesday in the presence of senior ministerial colleagues and top industry honchos, a move that aims to give a ‘digital push’ to governance and jobs. Right from his first day in office, the Prime Minister has always exhibited interest in a digitizing campaign for India, something which he feels would bridge the gap between government initiatives and its beneficiaries. With increasing internet penetration in India, a digital India campaign is the need of the hour.
To know more about the campaign, its strengths and its flaws, here are five stories that you cannot miss.
The PM has said that the digital India initiative is a good complement to the government’s flagship scheme ‘Make in India’ which aims to give an in-situ thrust to the manufacturing sector. He said the campaign will not only help in rooting out corruption but provide a broad roadmap for India’s development.
Top industrialists including Reliance Industries’ chairman Mukesh Ambani and Vedanta chairman Anil Agarwal have pledged investments amounting to Rs 4.5 lakh crore for the PM’s Digital India programme. While Ambani announced investments of Rs 2,50,000 crore, a part of which will go into a retail network of 1.5 lakh stores, and rest help set up a start-up fund, Vedanta’s investments will include set up of a LCD panel fab unit, which he expects will employ 50,000 people and reduce India’s electronic imports by 20 per cent.
While the campaign itself may have got off to a rousing start, there are some hurdles, in connection with the National Optical Fibre Network, a vital component of the initiative. According to officials involved in the exercise, the NOFN project — envisaged as a Centre-State joint effort where states were expected to contribute by way of waiving off right-of-way charges — is way behind schedule and unlikely to be completed by its deadline of December 2016.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, one of the senior most members of the Modi cabinet, stressed that the campaign will help in furthering economic growth in India and empower the country. He pointed to the success of the Jan Dhan Yojana, the financial inclusion programme, and said that this campaign will be similarly successful.
The launch of the Digital India week also saw the announcement of new projects as part of the campaign. Digital Locker system, MyGov.in and Swacch Bharat Mission mobile app are some of the projects revealed to the public. Governance remains a focus area of the nationwide campaign.