DIGITAL INDIA : CHALLENGES & OPPORTUNITIES
I dream of a digital India where the world looks to India for
the next big idea
– Narendra Modi (2015)
Dr. Priyanka Murria
Mr. Vikrant Salaria
Ms. Neetu Singh
Mr. Anshul Singhal
Institute of Innovation in
Technology and Management,
Affiliated to Indraprastha
University, New Delhi
Digital India is the beginning of
digital revolution. It is a dream which is created by the Government of India
to ensure that government services are made available to citizens electronically,
even in remote areas, by improving online infrastructure and by increasing
Internet connectivity. The main vision of Digital india initiative is
to ‘transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy’. The
initiative aims at enabling Indian masses to get engaged in the innovative
processes which will help in upliftment of economy and will pave its way to
move forward. But on the implementation front, it is indeed a great challenge. There are many roadblocks in
the way of its successful implementation like digital illiteracy, low internet
speed, lack of proper coordination among departments, poor infrastructure,
issues pertaining to taxation etc. These challenges need to be addressed in
order to realize the full potential of this programme. This paper attempts
to highlight the different challenges faced by the Digital India Programme. It
describes the different opportunities of the programme for the people of India.
Digital, Implementation, Opportunities, Roadblocks, Revolution
the world, information and communication technologies (ICT) continue to accelerate
at an incredible speed. Digitalization is one of the most fundamental period of
transformation we have ever witnessed (Dua, 2017). Digital India was
a flagship programme launched on 1st July 2015 by the Prime Minister
of India, Shree Narendra Modi, with an aim of connecting rural areas with
high-speed internet networks and improving digital literacy. The vision of this
programme is to transform India into a digitally empowered society and
knowledge economy. It is one of the biggest step by government of India to
motivate the citizens of the country and connect Indian economy to knowledge
savvy world (,).
number of research papers and articles provide a detailed insight about the
role of digital India and the implications of this project in India.
Gupta and Arora (2015)
studied the impact of digital India project on India’s rural sector. The study
found that many schemes have been launched in digital India to boost
agriculture sector and entrepreneurship development in rural areas. Digital
India programme has also set the stage for empowerment of rural Indian women.
concluded that the digital India project provides a huge opportunity to use the
latest technology to redefine India the paradigms of service industry. It also
pointed out that many projects may require some transformational process, re-engineering
and refinements to achieve the desired service level objectives.
Pichai, Musk and Nadella
(2015) asserted that Digital India initiative is a major initiative towards
creation of job oppurtunities in the information sector.
Kunkolienker (2015) concluded that while new investments into electronics
manufacturing is welcome, government shoud encourage existing IT hardware
manufacturers. He also added that the present moving pace of India if combined
with broadband highway today will lead to innovative India tomorrow.
that Digital India is a huge step towards building a truly empowered Nation.
The initiative aimed at providing accessibility to essential services will lead
to a holistic growth of the country, from literacy to employability to GDP
(2015) concluded that
the government will need to deploy scale out architectures which can scale as
the data volumes grow. Digital India’s success would also be a function of the
underlying technology infrastructure with data becoming the nucleus of this
(2015) said that Make
in India is an integral part of Digital India. IESA is proud to be associated
with the Digital India initiative and will leverage the collective value of its
members to realize Digital India and Make in India.
concluded that digital India is a great plan to develop India for knowledge
future, but its improper implementation due to inaccessibility and
inflexibility to requisite can lead to its failure. So we Indians should work
together to shape the knowledge economy.
Singh (2016) began
with the overview of Digital India and led to a discussion of the structure of
the programmes and examined the impact of this initiative on India’s
technological sector. He proposed that this initiative has to be complemented
with amendments in labour laws of India in order to be successful.
The paper is
based on the secondary data and the information is retrieved from the internet
via research papers, articles and
OBJECTIVE OF THE PAPER
1. To study
the concept of digital India programme.
2. To study
the opportunities of the programme for the people of the country.
3. To study
the various challenges faced by the Digital India Programme in its
4. To find
out practical solutions and innovative ideas regarding the successful implementation of the programme.
Pillars of Digital India Programme
The Government of India hopes to achieve growth on multiple
fronts with the Digital India Programme. Specifically, the government aims to
target nine ‘Pillars of the Digital India’ that they identify as being4 :-
1. Broadband Highways
objective of this pillar is to cover 2,50,000 village Panchayats under National
Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) by December 2016. Nationwide internet infrastructure
(NII) would incorporate the network and cloud infrastructure in the country to
provide high speed internet connectivity and cloud platform to various
government departments up to the panchayat level in the villages.
2. Universal Access to
objective of this pillar is to amplify network penetration and to provide
mobile connectivity to 44000 villages by 2018 with investment of Rs 16000.
Figure 1 : Representation
of Nine Pillars of Digital india
3. Public Internet Access Programme
To each and
every gram panchayat, One Common Service Centre (CSC) would be provided and 1,50,000
Post Offices are put forward to be converted into multi service centers.
4. eGovernance – Reforming
Government through Technology
eGovernance, IT would be used to deliver the government services more
effectively. There would be a better coordination in services and
platforms-UIDAI, Payment Gateway, Mobile Seva platform, Public redressal etc.,
through IT. All information would be made
available in electronic form.
delivery of services
includes technology for education, technology for health, technology for
planning, technology for farmers , technology for security, technology for
financial inclusion and technology for justice.
6. Information for
for all includes online hosting of information & document. Government
pro-actively engages through social media and web based platform to inform
citizens about MyGov.in and 2 way communications between citizens and
government and online messaging to citizens on special occasions/programmes.
government is focusing on zero imports of electronics by 2020 through local
manufacturing of items such as smart energy meters, micro ATMs, mobile,
consumer and medical electronics. Government is also taking several steps to
promote manufacturing and investment in electronics sector by providing clarity
on taxation, incentives skill development etc.
8. IT for
objective of this pillar is to train 10 million people in towns and villages
for IT sector jobs in five years. It also aims to provide training to three
lakh service delivery agents as part of skill development to run viable
businesses delivering IT services. It also focuses on training of five lakh
Rural Workforce on Telecom and Telecom related services and setting up of BPOs
in each North-eastern state.
Harvesting Programmes, the Indian goverment plans to install Wi-Fi facilities
in all universities across the country. All books will be converted into e
books. Email is the primary mode of communication within the government.
Status of Digital
Services Deployed under Digital India
most important component of Digital India, after Infrastructure, is Digital
services. By now, the Indian Government has taken various steps for
implementing these services for the Indian masses. Some services like MyGov and
DigiLocker had witnessed high adoption rates by the citizens, but several other
services are lagging behind as they are less user friendly and difficult to
use. Here are some of the services5 :-
Table 1 : Status of Services Deployed
under Digital India
eSign service allows us to do digital
signatures with the help from our Aadhar information
– Implemented and deployed
– Used for online business documents and
It is an innovative engagement mobile
application where citiznes directly engage with the government by
channelizing their ideas, comments, etc
Service is rolled out with about 5,00,000
downloads till date
DigiLocker is a platform for issuance and
verification of documents & certificates on a public cloud.
Over 1 million downloads till date
Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan
This app came after launching the Swachh
Bharat campaign. It is used by the people and government organsations
Available on Play store
Over 500 thousand downloads
The government plans to install wifi
routers in public places
31,518 hotspots till date
It is an initaive to address the needs of
the educated employed in Jammu & Kashmir
10,555 J youth joined UDAAN tillJUly
2017, out of which 4984 youths are placed.
A CBSE initiative, Saransh is a tool for
comprehensive self-review and analysis for CBSE affiliated schools and
Deployed and active
It provides effective, timely medical
Customer service using internet
It provides high-tech education in remote
places and urban areas using smartphones, apps and internet services.
India’s online education market is to grow
to USD 1.96 billion and around 9.6 million users in 2021 from USD 247 million
and around 1.6 million users in 2016
Source : Digital India – Unlocking the Trillion Dollor Opputunity
DIGITAL INDIA PROGRAMME
2 : Representation of the Benefits Digital India
Digital India programme is the beginning of
digital revolution. It is a big initiative to empower people of the country. The
main benefits of this programme are :-
Availibility of Services – The digital India mission would
make all the government services available to the Indian masses through common
service delivery outlets. With this, there will be an inclusive growth by providing
access to healthcare, education and government services to all the citizens of
Transperancy- The transperancy level increase as all the
data would be made online which can be accessed by all the citizens of the
eGovernance – eGovernance will help in reducing corruption
and getting things done quickly.
Digital locker – Digital locker facility will
help citizen to digitally store their important documents like Pan card, passport,
mark sheets, etc, which help in getting things done easily. For example, whenever
we need to open an account, we will give official details of our digital locker,
where the bank can verify our documents. Thus, it will be more convinient for
the citizens as a lot of time will be saved by not standing in long queues.
Eco-Friendly – It
will greatly reduce paper work and documentations.
Cashless economy – With demonitisation in effect in
the country, Digital India will promote cashless transactions and more and more
people will be aware of it.
Online Marketing – It can help small businesses to
expand as people can use online tools.
More than three years has been passed
since Digital India mission has been announced but it is facing multiple
challenges in successful implementation. Few of the challenges are :-
1. Digital Illiteracy – Digital
illiteracy is the biggest challenge in the success of Digital India programme.
Low digital literacy is a key hindrance in adaptation of latest technologies.
The latest report concludes that India had 36.74 crore (367.46 million)
Internet surcribers in september 2016.6
Making Digital India scheme
known and creating an awareness among common masses about its benefits is also
a great challenge.
2. Connectivity – It is a tremendous task
to have connectivity with each and every village, town and city in India.
Connecting 2,50,000 Gram Panchayats through National Optical Fibre is not an
easy task. Till now 1,44,430 km of optic fibre has been laid.5
3. Low Internet Speed – A key component under this vision is
high speed of internet as a core utility to facilitate online delivery of
various services. India has low internet speed. According to first quarter 2017
Akamai report on internet speed, the average internet speed in india is 6492
Taxation and Regulatory Policies – According to ASSOCHOM-Deloitte report,
the issue pertaining to taxation and regulatory guidelines have proved to road
block in realizing the vision of Digital India. Some of the common policy
hurdles include lack of clarity in FDI policies have impacted the growth of
Poor Privatization –
The private participation in government projects in India is poor because of
long and complex regulatory processes.
Delayed Infrastructural Development – The biggest challenge faced by Digital India programme is
slow and delayed infrastructure development. India’s digital infrastructure is
comprehensively inadequate to tackle growing increase in digital transactions.
India needs over 80 lakh hotspots as against the availability of about 31000
hotspot at present to reach global level, according to ASSOCHOM-Deloitte report.5
Mobile Connectivity –
Many request proposals issued by government are not picked up by competent
private sector organizations since they are not commercially viable. Currently
Over 55000 villages remain deprived of mobile connectivity because providing
mobile connectivity in such locations is not commercially viable for service
providers, ASSOCHAMDeloitte report pointed out.5
Language Barrier – India has 1600 languages and dialects.
Non availability of digital services in local languages is a great barrier in
9. Cyber Security Issues –
Security issues are one of the most critical
challenges faced by stakeholders of the digital payment ecosystem. With more
and more users preferring digital payments, the chances of getting exposed to
cybersecurity risks like online fraud, information theft, and malware or virus
attacks are also increasing. Lack of awareness and poor digital payment
ecosystem are some of the many prime reasons that have led to an increase in
Digital India campaign can’t be
successful on its own. Policy changes are needed to make digital India a
reality. Few of the suggestions are : –
1. To make this programme successful, a
massive awareness programme should be conducted. There is pressing need to
educate and inform the citizens, especially in rural and remote areas, about
the benefits of internet services to increase the growth of internet usage.
2. Manufacturing content is not
government’s strength. This mission needs content and service partnerships with
telecom companies and other firms.
3. PPP models should be analysed for
sustainable development of digital infrastructure.
4. Private sector should be encouraged for
development of last mile infrastructure in rural and remote areas. To encourage
private sector, there must be favorable taxation policies, quicker clearance of
5. The success of digital India project depends
upon maximum connectivity with minimum cyber security risks. For this we need a
strong anti cyber crime team which maintains the database and protects it round
6. Cyber security courses should be introduced at
7. There is need for effective participation
of various departments and demanding commitment and efforts. Various policies
in different areas should support this goal.
The vision of digital India is grand.
It is a huge step towards building a truly empowered nation. A digitally connected India can help
in improving social and economic conditions of people through development of
non-agricultural economic activities apart from providing education, health and
financial services. If successful, it will transform citizen access to
multimedia information, content and services. However, the goal is still far
away since most of the nine pillars of digital India mission are facing serious
challenges in implementation. It is imperative that focused persistent attention
must be given to each and every pillar so that this program does not end up in a
failure. We all know that overall growth and development can be realized
through supporting and enhancing element such as literacy, basic
infrastructure, overall business environment regulatory environment, etc. The government continues its regime of
internet filtering and the authorities have stepped up surveillance online and
put pressure on internet service providers to collude in the filtering and
blocking of content which may be perfectly legitimate.
Neeru and Arora Kirandeep (2015). Digital India: A Roadmap for the development
of Rural India. International Journal of Business Management, vol(2)2,
pp1333-1342. Retrieved from www. ijbm. Co .in
Rahul (2016). Digital India: Barriers and Remedies . International Conference
on Recent Innovations in Sciences, Management , Education and Technology.
Retrieved from http:// data. Conference world .in/ICISMET/P256-261. Pdf.
4. Digital India Programme : Importance and
Impact. Retrieved from http://iasscore.in/national-issues/digital-india-programme-importance-and-impact
Retreived on 14th Jan 2018
Source : Digital India- IJSTM