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Digital India programme

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Rajeev Chandrasekhar
The world is slowly emerging out of the worst ever pandemic witnessed in the history of mankind. It widely disrupted lives, livelihoods and economies across the globe. India too, home to almost 1/6th of the world’s population, faced enormous challenges over the last 24 months.
It is said that the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. India, under the leadership of PM Narendra Modi, garnered Global respect for its remarkable Covid Management &resilient response during the pandemic.
Prime Minister led from the front, stood firmly with the frontline warriors, encouraged scientists in their efforts in developing Made in India vaccines and gave this country a new vision, a new economic thought – Atma Nirbhar Bharat or Self Reliance. The threats and belligerence at the borders by China too was responded with determination and confidence. This sets the tone for Amrit Kaal – India’s journey for the next 25 years towards the centenary Independence Day celebrations.
This resilience was in no small measure due to the reforms and policies of the Govt during the years before the Pandemic. Programs like Digital India, cleaning up the financial sector etc were big factors in ensuring India’s resilient response. As a result of reforms and well calibrated stimulus packages announced during the pandemic, India is now the fastest rebounding economy in the world, receiving its highest ever FDIs and setting new records in exports of goods and merchandise.
India is also one of the most vibrant and fastest growing startup ecosystem with over 60,000 registered Startups including 88 Unicorns. In the year 2021 alone, India created 42 Unicorns and the trend continues in 2022. India’s ‘bounce back’ – as the world now calls it, is largely due to the early investments made by the Narendra Modi government in Technology sector.
The Prime Minister had launched the Digital India Programme in 2015 with three clear objectives i.e to transform lives of Citizens, to expand economic opportunities and to create strategic capabilities in certain technologies.
India has become one of the world’s pre-eminent nations in the use of technology not just in conventional areas of R&D, tech development & innovations, but in the use of tech to empower and transform citizen’s lives.
With World’s largest Digital identity programme – Aadhaar (132 crore enrolment), World’s largest technology driven Covid Vaccination programme (over 180crore shots delivered) World’s largest Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) programme and being a global leader in Digital Payments( Rs. 76 lac crore in FY 22 ) & FinTech technology, we can clearly say that the first two objectives have been largely met.
It is clear that Post Covid, the rate and acceleration of digitization of economies, of consumers’ lives, of Government are only going to intensify. Technology, innovation, and supply chains are witnessing deep changes and represent a significant opportunity for India’s goal of building and crossing over $1 Trillion Digital Economy.
To capitalise on this window of opportunity and to give further impetus to the Digital India Programme, Ministry of electronics and IT has chalked out an elaborate 1000 days vision plan with 6 clearly defined goals.
PM Narendra Modi has rightly called the coming years as India’s ‘Techande’. It is the right time to re imagine technology in Government and Governance. The Government is soon going to roll out the Next Wave of Digitalization in Governance to take public service delivery to a new level. Platform level initiatives have delivered major impact, It is time to adopt “Digital Government” approach, which will make Government even more efficient, minimise papers and files, make Governance more responsive and citizen’s experience with Government improved.
An important goal envisages connecting all Indians to Open, Safe and Trusted and Accountable Internet. India has 82 crore internet users, 60 crore Smartphone users making it the largest connected democracy in the world. We intend to continue expanding Digital Infrastructure (viz. cloud, data centre, etc), broadband speed, availability, and accessibility that shall pave the way for 650,000 villages to become Aatma Nirbhar.
Our Digital Economy expansion are being driven by large Tech companies and our Startup Innovation Eco-system pursuing opportunities around the Internet and consumer Tech on one hand and a number of emerging new areas like Data , Block chain, AI, Electronics design, Semiconductor, Supercomputing etc. Under PM Modi, India has become the second largest manufacturer of mobile phones in the world. India has bigger ambitions in Electronics and Semiconductor manufacture as the post-Covid world order seeks new trusted value chains in Electronics.
The government so has re-imagined its Electronics ambitions with broaden and deepen strategy which will increase electronics manufacturing from USD 75 Billion today to expand it to $300 billion by 2025/26. In addition, PM Modi has sanctioned a 76,000 Crore package to build a semiconductor ecosystem in India. These are big opportunities for India that we are pursuing strongly and state governments are partnering to pursue the same.
In the coming decade, the competitive advantage of countries will hinge on technology prowess and speed with which it develops and deploys futuristic technologies. The strategic technology areas where India seeks leadership include Blockchain, AI, cyber security, Web3.0 (Blockchain), Semiconductors, Next Gen Electronics systems, supercomputing, quantum computing, etc.
We are living in Interesting times – the world around us is undergoing tectonic changes post Covid and post the recent Russia – Ukraine conflict. India that is emerging post-Covid is a more confident country and its new ambitions are being energized by the energy and passion of crores of young Indians.
PM Narendra Modi’s vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat and India’s Techade is spotlighting this bright future runway of opportunities for Indian youth. These opportunities and his impetus on skilling means that we can be confident that every young Indian has a very good opportunity to realize these opportunities and build a brighter future for themselves and their community and India. This is the time – for India to emerge as a global Technology and Trade power – a New India that provides global standard digital products and services to the world and uses Technology to transform Indian Democracy and Governance to the best in the world.
(The author is Minister of State for Electronics & IT, Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Government of India-PIB)

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