Digital India is a very ambitious umbrella program with comprehensive vision that will be implemented across the country simultaneously. If it is implemented properly and as per envisaged vision, this single government program is capable of transforming the economic, administrative and social setup of this country. It will bring about a complete change in economic structure of India particularly rural India.
The vision of Digital India is centered on three key areas:
- Digital infrastructure as a utility to every citizen. Government would provided high speed internet, universal mobile coverage, mobile banking, and easy access to common service centers to everyone across the nation and would bridge the digital gap between the urban India and rural India.
- Governance and services on demand. There will be integration across departments, services would be provided in real time from online and mobile platform and online citizen entitlements through electronic transaction would be made available to everyone.
- Digital empowerment of citizens. To empower citizens, government seeks to achieve the goal of universal digital literacy, universally accessible digital resources, all documents and certificates available online.
To achieve these goals, an investment of around 4-5 lakhs crore of rupees is expected in few years by different government agencies and private sector. According to reports by McKenzie and Deloitte, this investment would add around 60 lakhs crore rupees to GDP by 2025. This offers huge business opportunities to the private sector that would eventually increase employment opportunities by creating around 10 lakhs jobs and disposable income of citizens resulting in higher demands for goods and services. This would eventually result into vicious economic circle.
Even in times of WiMax, 3G and 4G, mobile and internet connectivity in rural India is an issue. Even today there are around 42,300 villages where there is no mobile network and government plans to install required facilities for mobile connectivity in these villages and it is possible to connect each and every village optically as the example Idukki in Kerala is very encouraging as this district has become India’s first district to be linked to the National Optic Fiber Network (NOFN).
Similarly providing training and capital to youths in rural/ semi urban areas to set up internet kiosks in the interiors will promote rural entrepreneurship and will make villages economically self dependent and their dependency on money order economy will go down. Gyandoot has proved the same. It is a project in Dhar district of Madhya Pradesh that connects villages throughout the district through numerous cyber-kiosks run by local entrepreneurs. More such projects in are needed in different districts throughout the country to promote the culture of rural entrepreneurship to make villages economically more viable and self dependent.
The availability of efficient mobile and internet network at affordable cost will open the gates of E-commerce to the rural citizens which would facilitate the online selling of local goods such as herbal products, gardening supplies, traditional art etc while shopping for stuff such as electronics goods, solar energy panels etc. If this becomes reality Indian economy in general and rural economy in particular will be revolutionized.