The Digital India programme 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.
The National e-Governance Plan (NeGP)
The National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) was launched in 2006 with a vision to make all government services accessible to the common man in his locality, through common service delivery outlets and ensure efficiency, transparency & reliability of such services at affordable costs to realize the basic needs of the common man.
31 Mission Mode Projects covering a wide range of domains, viz. agriculture, land records, health, education, passports, police, courts, municipalities, commercial taxes, treasuries, etc. were initiated. Most of these projects have been made operational and have started providing services. However, despite the successful implementation of many e-governance projects across the country, e-governance as a whole has not been able to make the desired impact and fulfill all its objectives especially in ensuring anytime anywhere availability of services and their seamless integration. Even though India is known worldwide as a powerhouse of software, the availability of electronic government services to citizens is still comparatively low.
A lot more thrust is required to promote inclusive growth that covers electronic services, products, devices and job opportunities. Moreover, electronic manufacturing in the country needs to be strengthened. Currently, India imports around $100 billion worth of electronic goods which may reach $400 billion by 2020. India today is at the tipping point where technology has to be leveraged more holistically to meet the aspirations of its 1.2 billion citizens. The stark differences between digital haves and have-nots need to be bridged to ensure that the government services reach the doorstep of every citizen and create a long-lasting developmental impact.
In order to transform the entire ecosystem of public services through the use of information technology, the Government of India has approved the ‘Digital India’ programme with the vision to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy.