Digital India : Opportunities Beyond Imagination


The Digital India is a flagship programme of the Government of India with a vision to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy.

e-Governance initiatives in India took a broader dimension in the mid 1990s for wider sectoral applications with emphasis on citizen-centric services. The major ICT initiatives of the Government included, inter alia, some major projects such as railway computerization, land record computerization, etc. which focused mainly on the development of information systems. Later on, many states started ambitious individual e-governance projects aimed at providing electronic services to citizens.

Though these e-governance projects were citizen-centric, they could make less than the desired impact due to their limited features. The isolated and less interactive systems revealed major gaps that were thwarting the successful adoption of e-governance along the entire spectrum of governance. They clearly pointed towards the need for a more comprehensive planning and implementation for the infrastructure required to be put in place, interoperability issues to be addressed, etc to establish a more connected government.

e-Kranti: National e-Governance Plan 2.0
The national level e-Governance programme called National e-Governance Plan was initiated in 2006. There were 31 Mission Mode Projects under National e-Governance plan covering a wide range of domains, viz. agriculture, land records, health, education, passports, police, courts, municipalities, commercial taxes, treasuries, etc. 24 Mission Mode Projects have been implemented and started delivering either full or partial range of envisaged services.

Considering the shortcomings in National e-Governance Plan that included lack of integration amongst government applications and databases, low degree of government process reengineering, scope for leveraging emerging technologies like mobile, cloud, etc, Government of India has approved the e-Kranti programme recently with the vision of ‘Transforming e-Governance for Transforming Governance.’
All new and on-going e-Governance projects as well as the existing projects, which are being revamped, should now follow the key principles of e-Kranti namely ‘Transformation and not Translation,’ ‘Integrated Services and not Individual Services,’ ‘Government Process Reengineering (GPR) to be mandatory in every MMP’, ‘ICT Infrastructure on Demand’, ‘Cloud by Default’, ‘Mobile First’, ‘Fast Tracking Approvals’, ‘Mandating Standards and Protocols’, ‘Language Localization’, ‘National GIS (Geo-Spatial Information System)’, ‘Security and Electronic Data Preservation’.
The portfolio of Mission Mode Projects has increased from 31 to 44 MMPs. Many new social sector projects namely Women and Child Development, Social Benefits, Financial Inclusion, Urban Governance, eBhasha, etc have been added as new MMPs under e-Kranti.

Vision of Digital India
The vision of Digital India programme is to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy.

Vision Areas of Digital India
The Digital India programme is centred on three key vision areas:

Digital Infrastructure as a Utility to Every Citizen:
Availability of high speed Internet as a core utility for delivery of services to citizens.
Cradle to give digital identity that is unique, lifelong, online and authenticable to every citizen.
Mobile phone and bank account enabling citizen participation in digital and financial space.
Easy access to a Common Service Centre.
Shareable private space on a public cloud.
Safe and secure cyber-space.

Opportunities: A well-connected nation is a prerequisite to a well served nation. Once the remotest of the Indian villagers are digitally connected through broadband and high speed Internet, then delivery of electronic government services to every citizen, targeted social benefits and financial inclusion can be achieved in reality. One of the key areas on which the vision of Digital India is centred is ‘digital infrastructure as a utility to every citizen.’

A key component under this vision is high speed Internet as a core utility to facilitate online delivery of various services. It is planned to set up enabling infrastructure for digital identity, financial inclusion and ensure easy availability of common services centres. It is also proposed to provide citizens with ‘digital lockers’ which would be sharable private spaces on a public cloud and where documents issued by government departments and agencies could be stored for easy online access. It is also planned to ensure that the cyberspace is made safe and secure.

Governance & Services on Demand:
Seamlessly integrated services across departments or jurisdictions
Availability of services in real-time from online & mobile platforms
All citizen entitlements to be portable and available on the cloud
Digitally transformed services for improving ease of doing business
Making financial transactions electronic and cashless
Leveraging Geospatial Information Systems (GIS) for decision support systems & development

Opportunities: Over the years, a large number of initiatives have been undertaken by various State Governments and Central Ministries to usher in an era of e-governance. Sustained efforts have been made at multiple levels to improve the delivery of public services and simplify the process of accessing them. E-governance in India has steadily evolved from computerization of Government Departments to initiatives that encapsulate the finer points of Governance, such as citizen centricity, service orientation and transparency.
The National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) was approved in 2006 to take a holistic view of e-governance initiatives across the country, integrating them into a collective vision. Around this idea, a massive countrywide infrastructure reaching down to the remotest of villages is being developed, and large-scale digitization of records is taking place to enable easy and reliable access over the Internet. The ultimate objective was to make all government services accessible to the common man in his locality, through common service delivery outlets, and ensure efficiency, transparency and reliability of such services at affordable costs to realize the basic needs of the common man.

Six elements are crucial for ensuring that governance and services are made available on demand to all citizens and other stakeholders in the country.

Digital Empowerment of Citizens:
Universal digital literacy
Universally accessible digital resources
Availability of digital resources / services in Indian languages
Collaborative digital platforms for participative governance
Citizens not required to physically submit Govt. documents / certificates.

Opportunities: Digital connectivity is a great leveller. Cutting across demographic and socio-economic segments, Indians are increasingly connecting and communicating with each other through mobile phones and computers riding on digital networks. The Digital India programme itself promises to transform India into a digitally empowered society by focusing on digital literacy, digital resources and collaborative digital platforms. This also places emphasis on universal digital literacy and availability of digital resources/services in Indian languages.

digitalindia22-8-15We want to have one mission and one target: Take the nation forward- Digitally and economically.
Shri Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India

How Digital India will be realized: Pillars of Digital India

Digital India is an umbrella programme that covers multiple Government Ministries and Departments. It weaves together a large number of ideas and thoughts into a single, comprehensive vision so that each of them can be implemented as part of a larger goal. Each individual element stands on its own, but is also part of the larger picture. Digital India is to be implemented by the entire Government with overall coordination being done by the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY). 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 and Early Harvest Programmes. Each of these areas is a complex programme in itself and cuts across multiple Ministries and Departments.


All the initiatives, including establishing and expanding core ICT infrastructure, delivery of services, etc under the Digital India programme have definitive completion time targets. Majority of the initiatives are planned to be realized within the next three years. The initiatives planned for early completion (Early Harvest Programmes) and citizen communication initiatives (Information for All) have already started going live and are being completed.

The Digital India programme aims at pulling together many existing schemes. These schemes will be restructured, revamped and re-focused and will be implemented in a synchronized manner. Many elements are only process improvements with minimal cost implications. The common branding of programmes as Digital India highlights their transformative impact. While implementing this programme, there would be wider consultations across government, industry, civil society and citizens to discuss various issues to arrive at innovative solutions for achieving the desired outcomes of Digital India. DeitY has already launched a digital platform named as ‘myGov’ ( (link is external)) to facilitate collaborative and participative governance. Moreover, several consultations and workshops have been organized to discuss the implementation approach of the vision areas of Digital India.

Driving the PM’s vision of ‘Digital India’ forward, Videocon Telecom takes an initiative to digitally connect all its subscribers, offers free data to non-data users and sets up a helpline to educate these customers.  The telco also sets up a free helpline and extends demonstration stations at all its exclusive branded ‘Videocon Connect’ Retail to educate them on the knowhow of data usage. With a trial offer of 750 MB of free data for all such subscribers valid for 2 months, the telco plans to give away over 1500 tera byte of free data to such subscribers.

The telco conducted a study on these non-data users to understand their reasons for not using data, and found out that over 86% of these non-users having data-enabled handsets aspire to use data but are reluctant to do so. The study suggested the 2 key reasons being 1. Inadequate knowledge and initial hesitation to ask someone on knowhow, and 2. Perception of data cost being high.

The telco’s plans to address both these concerns by educating such first time users thru a newly set up digital helpline and demonstration stations at its exclusive branded ‘Videocon Connect’ stores. These first time users will be extended basic knowhow of using mobile data including browsing the net, using search engines, setting up various social media accounts, etc. The telco will also be offering free data of 750 MB valid for 2 months as a trial offer for all such subscribers. To avail this free data, subscribers will just need to give a missed call on a pre-defined number, and based on eligibility, the subscriber will be extended free data followed by a call from the Digital Helpline on the knowhow.  With the initiative, the telco is also expecting customers to upgrade their handsets to data-enabled handsets.

videocon_arvind-baliMr. Arvind Bali, Director & CEO, Videocon Telecommunications Ltd. said, “It is said that charity begins at home, and as a part of PM’s ‘Digital India’ initiative, we wanted to initiate something for our own customers to start with. We have been taking initiatives to increase our data penetration month on month, and as we speak we have a good mobile internet penetration of 64% odd on customers with data-enabled handsets. Yet there is a set of customers who despite owning a data-enabled handset have not used data since they came aboard on our Network. Our customer study on these set of subscribers suggested initial hesitation and their perception on the cost of data being the key reasons for not using data.  I am sure with this initiative we will be able to address these two key reasons and get majority of these subscribers to use data.. This initiative shall address both the first time mobile users primarily from rural belts and the existing mobile users who have been using mobile primarily for voice. The target segment is huge and I am sure this will go a long way in digitally connecting every subscriber. The whole world comes to your fingertips once you start using data, you can practically search and learn anything. This initiative will empower people. India boasts one of the highest mobile penetration in the world and contributes to over 14% of the world’s mobile users, and the best and fastest way to ensure data penetration is thru this medium. I am sure that if all telecom and the related companies take similar initiates, it is not long before the PM’s vision shall become reality.”

“The vision of a digital India is grand. If successful, it could transform citizen access to multimedia information, content and services. It also gives the government access to a great deal of information. However, laying cables doesn’t ensure they will be used.

The startup ecosystem is waiting for such initiatives. Absence of startup-friendly policies has made many successful startups shift their bases outside India. This initiative can be the start of a big change. I am very optimistic about it.”

“It’s high time India competed with global products. We need to think about designs being equally important as making the product in India. Great to see our Prime Minister pushing the idea of design ahead. Almost every e-governance project that India needs has been successfully piloted somewhere in the country. The daunting task for Digital India will be to take successful pilot projects, replicate and scale them up. With a push for e-governance, a lot more ideas and startups will start around it. It can be road towards a better future. Much awaited initiative.” Who said this?

On India’s average Internet speed that was ranked 115th globally earlier this year among countries studied by services provider Akamai Technologies.

“After years of broadband and nationwide fibre-optic infrastructure targets, India remains stuck at a total of 15 million wire line broadband users. Yet mobile broadband use has exploded, currently standing at 85 million users, driven by apps like Facebook and WhatsApp, and the sharing of images and videos. Experience shows that it is communications and content, not empty pipes that drive network usage. And manufacturing content is not a government’s strength. This project needs content and service partnerships with telecom companies and other firms, with new entrepreneurs.”

Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft

microsoft_satya-nadellaMicrosoft is proud to be a part of Digital India launch and believe that technology can uniquely support the government’s initiatives in key areas including: rural Internet connectivity, digital cloud services for all its citizens, and communications and productivity services for the Government. At Microsoft, our focus is on empowering every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. Likewise, the Digital India initiative is focused on harnessing the power of technology to help India transform.

In fact, to help drive this transformation, we are bringing our marquee cloud services – Microsoft Azure, Dynamics and Office 365 – to local datacenters in India to accelerate cloud innovation, connect every Indian and every Indian business to the world through our global hyper-scale cloud. We believe that the democratizing force of software and digital technology will enable India’s future innovators and entrepreneurs to pursue their dreams, Indian businesses to transform and seize the opportunities ahead and enable the talent and ingenuity of the human capital in India to thrive.

I would like to congratulate and extend my best wishes to the Honorable Prime Minister, and the Honorable IT Minister and every Indian citizen and business on this occasion.

I look forward to seeing how technology can enable India’s transformation in the years ahead.

Intel in collaboration with NeGD 5 lac trained children during Digital India Week
intel22-8-15To reinstate its commitment towards the Government’s Digital India vision during the ‘Digital India Week’, Intel launched the Digital Wellness Online Challenge in collaboration with National e-Governance Division (NeGD) on July 1, 2015. This online quiz is aimed at sensitizing and creating a culture of digital wellness amongst children from classes 6 to 12 by promoting awareness on the benefits as well as the potential threats of Internet-based interactions and familiarizing students with different types of cyber threats, consequences and protective measures.

Speaking about the challenge, Debjani Ghosh, Vice President, Sales and Marketing Group and Managing Director, Intel South Asia, said, “Intel has long been committed to the vision of Digital India and strongly believes that it is the foundation for transforming India into a technology empowered entrepreneurial economy. For this vision to become a reality, enhancing digital awareness is a must amongst our young citizens who will create the future of the country. The Digital Wellness Online Challenge strived to do just that and with the strong support we received from NeGD and DeitY, were able to reach  over 5 lac children in just a week through this Challenge.”

The online quiz is available in Hindi and English. On successful completion of the quiz, the students will be given an option to print/email their electronic certificates. Four winners per state will be declared as ‘Digital Wellness Champions’. These winners will be invited to New Delhi by the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY) and will be felicitated by the government in an award ceremony.

Intel has always believed that technology has the ability to drive inclusive growth by enabling access to education, healthcare and government services and that digital literacy is the first step in empowering citizens to take advantage of these services. It was with this belief that Intel launched the National Digital Literacy Mission in 2012 along with NASSCOM and DeitY. The Program has now been taken over by DeitY to drive mass scale digital literacy in India.

In line with its commitment to the Digital India vision, Intel had recently announced the Intel and DST ‘Innovate for Digital India Challenge,’ which focuses on the creation of products to increase technology adoption in India that will eventually result in the creation of a local technology ecosystem. The Challenge was designed in collaboration with the Department of Science and Technology (DST), with support from the DeitY, and is being managed by IIM Ahmedabad’s Centre for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE). The entries for the Challenge were closed amidst tremendous enthusiasm and encouragement that translated into 1913 entries by the last day on 28th June 2015. A jury is currently going through all the applications to shortlist the top 50 teams that will get a chance to present their ideas. These will then be shortlisted to the top 20 who will enter the accelerator phase where they will be mentored extensively to get their ideas from ‘mind to market.’

Speaking about the Challenge, Shri Gaurav Dwivedi, CEO, said, “Innovation and entrepreneurship have emerged as a vital cornerstone of today’s knowledge economy. The Innovate for Digital India Challenge is a great leap towards fostering innovation, through which several ideas will be mentored. We are delighted with the response we’ve received for this Challenge and we’re sure that in the coming months, we will see some innovative ideas reaching fruition to serve as a base for developing innovation and entrepreneurship focused at realizing the Digital India vision.”

Intel has been closely working with the ecosystem to help push inclusive growth and increase the domestic technology adoption across the three vision areas of Digital India namely 1. digital infrastructure as utility to citizens, 2. governance and services on demand and 3. digital empowerment of citizens.

For several years now, Intel has been powering critical back-end infrastructure from Data Centres to High Performance Computing to enable seamless execution of critical utilities for citizens. For example, India’s National Stock Exchange leverages the Intel Xeon processor E5-2600 v2 product family, delivering 1.55 times higher throughput to provide a world-class trading experience to Indian citizens and contributing to a vibrant economy.

Intel India with a strong focus on innovation and community volunteerism encourages employees to utilize their talent and creativity to come up with solutions that help address big community problems for India. An example of this is the Swachh Map App that is developed by two Intel India employees (Vijay Kumar & Arpit Goyal). Swachh Map is an Android-based crowd sourcing app that empowers any citizen to contribute towards better waste management solutions, efficient utilization of resources and garbage pickups.

Understanding the importance of digital empowerment and its relevance in achieving the overall vision of Digital India, Intel also worked with the NASSCOM Foundation to train over 10,000 citizens with digital literacy skills during the ‘Digital India Week.’

The Government of India has formally launched the ‘Digital India Week’. Regarding the campaign

Mehul Lanvers – Shah, Managing Director, Hannover Milano Fairs India

The Digital India programme unveiled by Prime Minister Modi is an exemplary initiative by the government to deliver this country into a new era of digital empowerment. The five elements of this programme — Digitize India Platform, Digital Locker, National Scholarship Portal, e-Hospital and e-Sign — will not only offer a digital backbone to connect the common man with the government, but will also provide a concerted impetus for inflow of foreign investment in the country. Globally, the IoT market is burgeoning and poised to reach USD 300 billion by 2020, wherein the Indian share is expected to touch USD 15 billion. Indian dominance in the field of manufacturing, design and innovation, will be truly driven by the government’s Make in India mission. Formulation of the Centre of Excellence for IoT, as a combined initiative of Department of Electronics & IT, ERNET India and NASSCOM, is a welcome move to promote a vibrant IoT ecosystem that may help India attain a leadership role in this field. Strong presence of industry leaders signifies a significant role of public private partnership to action the Digital campaign. While today’s announcement lays the cornerstone for India’s digital journey, we look forward to a detailed framework from the Government to realize its digital dream.

Mr Pramod Saxena, Founder & CMD, Oxigen Services
Digitizing India is the only sure way to reach the benefit of growth to India’s masses and that will create the multiplier to ensure the target 8% to 10% sustained GDP growth. The call for Digital India is certainly the most appropriate call for transforming India into a vibrant and strong global economy.

Mr Rohit Raghav, Co-Founder, Phone Warrior

Digitalization must be accompanied by democratization. Indians need and deserve a visionary approach to public services like Digital India initiative. However, one of the fundamental lacunae in British-era bureaucracy systems in our country is lack of feedback systems for government policies and execution. Service that will go completely digital will become faceless to a large extent and run the risk of big gaps in delivery quality. Ubiquitous mobile phones could be ideal partner for government and people in facilitating very fast, simple and accurate real-time feedback. True democratization means true empowerment and it can begin now.

Mr Keshav Bansal, Director – Intex Technologies

intext_keshavDigital India is a huge step towards building a truly empowered nation. The initiative aimed at providing accessibility to essential services will lead to the holistic growth of the country, from literacy to employability to GDP growth. At Intex, the 2nd largest Indian mobile phone brand, we are not just excited but will help support this initiative by introducing technology and products that will be instrumental in bridging the digital divide. Today, we at Intex are even more committed towards supplying to this new demand of digital connectivity. We are proud to be part of this historic moment.

Dr Chandan Chowdhury, Managing Director-India, Dassault Systemes, India

The Digital India Initiative is a welcome move by the government to take India closer to becoming a digitally empowered society and a more robust knowledge economy. The initiative will facilitate greater inclusiveness and connectivity of individuals with relevant information and resources for their benefit. Projects such as Digital Locker System, Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) Mobile app, are all efforts towards bridging the digital gap in our country. Today, we thrive in the age of consumer experience and digital India initiative through various programmes is focusing on offering a high end experience. The initiative will enable people to get engaged in the innovation process—it is the next level of growth which the economy will need to move to.

Mr Ankit Agarwal, Alankit Assignments Ltd

Alankit congratulates PM Modi’s ambitious initiative ‘Digital India’ Campaign and believes it would surely give the desired digital push to the Governance, at the same time bridging the gap between govt initiatives and its beneficiaries.
Alankit Limited, one of the affiliated companies of Alankit Group, has actively been involved in the delivery of various e-Governance services with an objective to help people gain benefits from the use of latest technology, at the same time making govt services available to the citizens electronically.
The online services of Alankit provides an easy platform for people to get access to various e-Governance services like applying for a PAN Card, enrolling in National Pension System, opening e-insurance account for storing insurance policies online, etc. Creation of relevant platforms online and on mobile platforms to enhance efficiency and delivery of the e-Governance services is the core objective. The advanced technology used by Alankit ensures quicker and efficient delivery of the said services.
Continuing with the successful implementation of many e-Governance Projects, Alankit is also doing Aadhaar enrolments of Indian residents across 12 states in India. Now, Alankit is offering printing of Plastic Aadhaar Cards as well using the eKYC service of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI)., a health and wellness initiative from Alankit, is a web-based health portal which aims at securing and leveraging health records of their users in order to provide them hassle free healthcare services.

Keeping up pace with the changing needs of its extensive customer base, Alankit has also developed an Online Pharmacy App where customers will be able to place their orders for Medicines & other FMHG (Fast Moving Health Goods) products online.

Shalin Y. Shah, GM, India Operations, UTStarcom

Digital India is great initiative by Hon’ble Prime Minister and has the potential to put India on a global platform of digital technology. UTStarcom aims to cater to the rapidly growing demand for bandwidth from cloud-based services, mobile, streaming and other applications which are required to support this forward-looking initiative. We are already working with BSNL for the execution of NGN technology for their fixed lines. Going forward, we believe that Wi-Fi, NOFN and updated broadband infrastructure are going to create new platforms to support initiatives like Digital India.

Snapdeal launches #SDforDigitalIndia campaign

Snapdeal’s vision is to build the most impactful digital commerce ecosystem in the country. Digital Inclusion and enabling the larger community to leverage the power of internet has been one of the key focus areas for the company. The company has undertaken many initiatives towards this.


• India’s first special e-commerce zone was launched in Dharamshala in June 2015. Snapdeal launched multi-dimensional digital initiatives aimed at invigorating the local economy by creating e-commerce entrepreneurs, Snapdeal Technology Lab, outsourcing to local BPOs and promoting traditional state handicrafts
• In May 2015, Snapdeal introduced in – kind donation on its marketplace through ‘Snapdeal Care’ – an India first initiative. The company partnered with the leading NGOs for this initiative.
• Partnered with National Institute of Electronics and Information Technology (NIELIT), Department of Electronics and IT (DeitY), Ministry of Communications and IT in April 2015, to roll out digital marketing courses for small and medium sellers and artisans across India and enable them to take advantage of e-commerce opportunities.
• Collaboration for Financial inclusion: Snapdeal is an active partner for USAID coalition to drive financial inclusion/digital payments in the country.
• In partnership with FINO Paytech, Snapdeal introduced and assisted e-commerce for residents in rural and semi urban areas.
• Snapdeal has also partnered with various government bodies, industry bodies and social enterprises like RAJSICO, NEHHDC, NEISBUD, Tamil Nadu Govt, TRIFED, DharaviMarket etc to digitally enable the artisans/ SMEs who are covered by these organizations and provide a national market for the local art/ handicrafts.

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