[Gist of Kurushetra December 2020] Digital India

• 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 and enables its citizen to access and avail the government services electronically and with ease-of-use.

• The initiative aims in strengthening the IT-infrastructure, enhancing the digitalised-solutions and internet connectivity. India’s digital landscape and its economic sustainability is greatly impacting rural and sub-urban areas, through resource-optimisation.

• It is also bridging the gap of digital-divide. In today’s life, enabling the accessibility to good internet connectivity is the crucial responsibility of government, as basic necessity, due to the fast-growing smart phone penetration and consistently declining data-rates across India.

• To uplift rural economy, this digitalisation drive needs to be expanded equally in rural India with services in e-governance, banking, financial, education, healthcare; and services along with mobile, DTH recharge, e-ticketing, online shopping. Public Private Partnership (PPP) model is playing a vital role in connecting government and private sectors with collaborative synergy for the spread of digital services in attaining digital empowerment. The government is playing the role of enabler by establishing a better connect between the service-providers and citizens by implementing effective e-governance systems, through SMART approach for all its stakeholders.

• Further initiatives like e-health, e-education and a wide-ranging variety of citizen services, large-scale skill development programmes are adding great value to the rural economy. And also promotes inclusive rural entrepreneurship and innovation especially for rural youth and women. Recently, the education sector and its vast network was severely affected by COVID-19. However quicker adoption of digital education and virtual learning by using government-run TV channels, has enabled access to the last-learner in remote villages, with realistic and adoptable innovations for enabling e-learning.

• The National Digital Health Mission (NDHM) is also one of the landmark initiatives of the government, adhering global best practices for embracing digital solutions. Under this scheme, user’s health account is created with details of all
diagnostic-tests, diagnosis of diseases/disorders, doctors’ consultation, medicines prescribed and progress achieved, etc. This digital-information is significantly useful, as it is portable, easily-accessible anywhere but safe-secure as well.

• Indian economy s growth prospective lies in adoption of digitalisation technologies for empowering agriculture, rural sector, agri-food value chain and processed-food industry. These interventions will transform farming community, through cost-optimization, increased farm incomes and enhanced productivity, income-security and sustainability.

• The current scenario of pandemic has proved that the future of agriculture sector depends on its digital transformation like farmers making data-driven and profitable decisions during the entire agri-cropping cycle by using Internet of Things (IoT)-based solutions like precise weather forecasts or using sensors for Water’ fertilisers’ Pest-disease management. This can be strengthened by robust policy support, adequate and timely financing and active contribution of major stakeholders so that the desired benefits can percolate down to the every farmer and last mile citizen in the rural India.

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