Govt clears Rs 1 Lakh Crore for ‘Digital India’ project

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Moving ahead with its pre-poll promise, the Narendra Modi-led NDA Government has approved an umbrella programme—Digital India—comprising various projects worth about Rs 1 lakh crore to transform the country into a digitally-empowered knowledge economy.

The Digital India programme includes projects that aim to ensure that government services are available to citizens electronically and people get the benefit of the latest information and communication technology (ICT).

“The Cabinet has approved the Digital India initiative of PM Narendra Modi. The PM had promised to bring everyone under the umbrella of ‘Digital india’. India’s talent plus information technology are India’s tomorrow,” said Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said after a Cabinet meeting.

The programme, which has e-governance as its focus, will be implemented in phases from the current year till 2018.

“This scheme will include projects of all ministries. The budget of this programme will go up to Rs 1 lakh crore. Already budget provision exists for various programmes. If there is more requirement, then it will be given consideration by the government,” Prasad added.

The vision of government under Digital India project includes creation of ICT infrastructure like high speed Internet at gram panchayat level, on-demand availability of government services like health, education etc, and digital empowerment of citizens, specially through digital literacy.

The programme will monitored by a committee headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) will accord approval for projects. A Digital India Advisory Group will be formed and will be chaired by the Minister of Communications and IT. There will be an Apex Committee which will be chaired by the Cabinet Secretary and the Expenditure Finance Committee (EFC) or Committee on Non-Plan Expenditure (CNE).

The Digital India programme is a transformed version of the already running National e-Governance Plan.

The project aims to provide thrust to nine pillars identified as growth areas. These pillars include broadband highways, everywhere mobile connectivity, Public Internet Access Programme, e-Governance, e-Kranti (which aims to give electronic delivery of services), information for all, electronics manufacturing, IT for Jobs and early harvest programmes.

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