The Indian economy is predominantly Rural with over two-thirds of its population residing in rural areas. Rural India contributes a substantial part to our national income. With a population of 833 million people residing in over 6.4 lakh villages, it is projected that, by 2050, more than half of India's population will still be rural, despite rapid urbanization. Thus, the growth and development of the rural economy is imperative for inclusive development and overall growth of the country.
To reap India's demographic dividend, its existing rural society must be transformed into digitally empowered one. Digitization and technology can facilitate access and availability of more services and products to meet the rising aspirations of the under-served and unreached rural India. This is being strongly driven through the government's Digital India initiative.
The vision of Digital India is to empower citizens with the information, services and create opportunities through digital advancements.
Digital India has three core components. These include:
Creation of Digital infrastructure.
Delivering services digitally to aid effective governance.
Digital literacy to promote awareness and eliminate geographical separation.
It intends to provide thrust through nine pillars of growth areas which are as follows:
Broadband highways to provide village’s with internet infrastructure through National Optic Fiber Network(NOFK).
Universal Access to mobile connectivity and financial inclusion via JAM i.e, Jandhan, Aadhar and Mobile to deliver social benefits via DBT.
Public Internet Access Program aims to make government services available electronically to all Gram Panchayats through (CSC).
e-kranti and e-governance a robust framework aimed at simplifying government business processes and public grievance redressal through IT.
Information for All encompasses online hosting of data and proactive engagement with citizen through social media and web portals such as MyGov.in. e-Hospital and e-Shusrut portal provides ORS for Network Hospitals.
Net Zero Imports by 2020: Local electronics manufacturing to minimize the equipment costs.
IT for Jobs main objectives is to train people in villages for IT sector jobs, setting up of BPO’s in order to foster ICT enabled growth.
Early Harvest Program includes implementation of public Wi-Fi hotspots, SWAYAM Portal to provide quality education through 32DTH Channels & web, Weather alerts via SMS for farmers.
Several other initiatives such as Soil Health Card App and e-NAM portal for selling farm produce have provided new avenues to the agrarian community. With the motto Har Ghar e-Shakshar the 'Pradhan Mantri Gramin Digital Saksharta Abhiyan' have empowered millions to easily adapt these digital initiatives.
The Digital India project, no doubt is one of the grandest projects till date because it embraces all the government machinery and departments in its fold; its aim is to create a truly participatory democracy but it has its own sets of challenges such as Cyber security, language compatibility, poor connectivity, digital illiteracy etc. I suggest that this challenge may be addressed by participation of Private entity through platforms such as Self4Society & CSR, effective policy implementation and monitoring and public participation equally. In conclusion Digital India marks the revolution in many aspects of lives and complete shift in our rural societies.