The Government of India has been proactive in exercising the digital transformation of governance in the country. And, major initiatives have been taken under an umbrella programme ‘Digital India’ launched by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY). Shedding light on this Dr Rajendra Kumar, Additional Secretary, MeitY, Government of India, addressed the Governance Leadership Summit 2021.
Dr Kumar delivered his special address emphasising the importance of technology and how digitalisation has transformed the governance in India. Addressing the existing technology framework of the government, he said, “As we all are aware that the current digital framework of the government in India is under the umbrella programme ‘Digital India’. It was launched in 2015 and it has been by far the most important programme for ensuring that technology can be deployed effectively by all stakeholders including the private sector to transform their overall interface for citizens and businesses.” Digital India broadly talks about leveraging technology for transforming governance but it is also a vision to ensure India can leapfrog its development initiatives using technology, he added.
Speaking on the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) initiatives to transform governance, Dr Kumar said, “Before Digital India, there was a bouquet of e-governance projects in various domains of governance for transforming their service delivery paradigm. The Digital India programme brought all these different e-governance projects together. Under Digital India, we have worked on the JAM trinity – Jan Dhan Yojana (an initiative to ensure bank accounts for all), Aadhar (biometric-based identification system) and Mobile (using mobile as a platform to extend citizen services).” MeitY had also taken up large initiatives in the past five to six years to help transform the paradigm of governance to benefit citizens. An example could be Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) which utilised the government’s e-governance framework based on Jan Dhan, Aadhaar and Mobile to directly transfer the government benefits and subsidies to the concerned beneficiaries, he added. Dr Kumar named a few more such initiatives by MeitY like Government e-Marketplace (GeM), MyGov, e-Hospital, Open Government Data Platform, GIS-based initiatives, DigiLocker and more.
Also Read: Transforming Governance in India post-COVID
Elaborating on DigiLocker, he said, “This is a secure digital platform where citizens can store all their documents and ID cards. Also, respective government departments are using this to add documents in the digital locker of the citizens rather than delivering a hard copy of the same. This has helped in transforming the governance into a completely paperless, faceless and presenceless form.” This has been one of the core ideas that the Ministry has been propagating to all the government departments to ensure that citizens need not have to visit offices to avail any services, said Dr Kumar.
“In 2019, MeitY has unveiled its vision to achieve a $1 trillion digital economy by 2025. Under this vision, all the departments have been brought on board, have been encouraged and being extended complete support from the Ministry to introduce digital interventions and transform their own domains of governance, their interphases with businesses and citizens, so that we can leverage technology to achieve our goal,” told Dr Kumar.
Addressing emerging technologies, he mentioned that “we have a large initiative on emerging technologies. This is a major area where we’re promoting all the government departments and other stakeholders to use emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Internet of Things (IoT), etc. to ensure that not only citizens but also the private sector can benefit from the emerging opportunities.” He added, “I called this opportunity because the Indian IT sector which is already known for its competitiveness can work in this domain and be a world leader.”