Digital India is an endeavor to watch for investment, technology, apps and employment to create a synergy for delivery of services to citizens.
PM Modi has announced with great fanfare Digital India Project. This program will entail massive investment in technology and infrastructure build up, but opens a new vista for effective service provision, and convergence of several digital activities, in addition to opening new opportunities for employment generation.
The scheme with a planned allocation of Rs one lakh crore aims to establish a digital platform to connect and deliver Government programs and Services to individual citizens across India, and thereby digitally connect the country and people. The project plans to harness power of information technology for expediting services. To ensure wide coverage and end result a simultaneous plan to cover all villages in country with high speed by 2019 has also been launched.
Personal records of individual citizen will be stored in a virtual central repository or Digital Locker, which can be accessed by authentic person any where any time through secured protocol. It aims to create a digital platform which can serve nine verticals e.g. e-governance, e-kranti, public internet program, broadband highway, information access for all, mobile connectivity, harvest programs, use of IT for employment and also electronic manufacturing that suit a particular segment or all.
The project faces first challenge of bringing p massive Data Centers with mirroring for disaster recovery at a secured alternate site. This will necessitate data back facility and large investment to set up state of art Cat5 Data Centers in various parts of country but interconnected to harness their synergy. Above all these units will need a failsafe and secured physical and cyber security. Some data centers are available for past several years – foreseen in the beginning by NIC when they started computerization of Government offices and records. Their efforts have been assisted by CDOT and several Telecom organization who have built a robust network and hardware facilities over the years. However digitations will need to sort out issues of security afresh as a challenge.
Despite India being a country with largest internet users the penetration percentage continues to be poor (42nd among least connected countries). To avail benefits of digitations individuals must be internet savvy. This can be solved with coverage, improving connectivity issues, and training.
Relevant platforms need to be created to supplement ‘Digital India’ campaign for improving efficiency, governance and most important last mile delivery. A part of this is to build up applications which can ride over this network to facilitate the end result. This opens a new opportunity for new entrepreneurs and telecom industry to come forth and utilize the potentials to each other’s gain.
Security should be cultivated to disallow breach. IT infrastructure has been found vulnerable to severe breaches and sabotage repeatedly by internal as well as external organizations. In addition to commendable efforts made by Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) a robust scheme should be in hand to cope up with such threats. Network and security protocol should be impenetrable and capable to thwart threats of invasion or attack. In a short time volume of data will be in private hands and also too large and so will increase its vulnerability. Securing personal as well as Government data including sensitive data will remain a major hurdle and test for the agencies to ensure success of ‘Digital India’. This issue needs priority for redressed before embarking on this project.
The Government due to storage becomes custodian of private records and data of citizens. It owes its security needs and therefore should ensure prevention of its misuse. Government will need strong cyber laws in force to ensure this – which they lack. Many issues like leaking of personal data, unauthorized access of one’s records, particularly when it can be misused against a person. Even Government agencies can resort to it. What happens to so called VIP racism – when data pertaining to a VIP is tampered with a malicious intent. These need to be taken care immediately.
Data entry, archive, its retrieval and usage in a creative manner needs to be emphasized through effective training program. Protocols of access and security including legal ramifications will be essential to be addressed through training. Difference in geography, topography, languages and large population it should take time and therefore the process of training must start immediately to ensure successful delivery and taking care of teething troubles.
EXTENSIONS OF PROGRAM
Digital India is a big tool in the hands of government. The program is a great opportunity to develop digital backbone of the country. It can be converged with other amenities like e-mail, imaging and messaging services like WhatsApp etc and make it secured and compact. Most of their present servers are outside our country and therefore susceptible to privacy breach and surveillance. These incidents have repeatedly come to surface where even heads of governments of friendly countries have not been spared. Even learning and teaching agriculture including medical care can be blended together to ensure prompt, correct and on the spot delivery.
Sr. Telecom Research Analyst, Outlook