Recent Digital India and smart city initiative gathered attention of IT sector and general population. People are expecting speedy paperless Government services which will reduce corruption. Another advantage of Digital India initiative is that it plans to connect Indian rural areas with high-speed broadband. Currently residents of select metro cities have the option for high-speed broadband (>20 Mbps). This connectivity will make life of rural and sub-urban population lots easier than what it is right now. Electronic communication within different Government branches will reduce time for various services such as healthcare, education, judicial, social.
This project has three core parts:
- Developing digital infrastructure.
- Delivering Government services electronically.
- Digital literacy and digital empowerment
The whole initiative is set to complete by 2019, and it will contribute to the growth of Indian economy and create job opportunity. The initiative is for the overall good for the people, but there are several challenges before this. Here are the Top 5 Challenges Digital India initiative is going to face in upcoming days:
The very first problem Digital India initiative will face is lack of existing infrastructure (Road ways, railways). To build nation wide Optical fiber network and to connect 250,000 villages require sufficient roadways and railways beside which the fibers can be laid down. Due to delay and complication in the whole process of land accusation for other projects it’s expected that this initiative will also face the same sort of problem. Even if the Government manages to solve land issue, currently Indian Public sector and private sector combine does not have the capacity to lay down that vast amount of OFC.
Estimated cost of the project is one lakh crore, which is not a small amount for a developing country. Current economic slowdown and an imbalanced budget made the situation worse to manage funding for the project. Central Government will have to source funding by delaying other developmental project. They also need financial help of State Government as well as private sector corporations to successfully implement the project nationwide. The private sector will be reluctant to invest in this because there is no surety that the project due to Governments controlling nature.
3. Poor digital literacy
The third problem the Government will face is the lack of digital literacy. India may have more than 100 million mobile subscribers, around 25% of the population are illiterate and cannot read or write. To introduce them to digital India and make them digitally literate Govt. Need to make them literate first. Poor internet penetration and extremely poor rural population cannot afford computers. Currently more than 90% of Indian population cannot operate computers. Though things are changing rapidly and improvement in computing technology, hand-held devices and cheap computers accelerating the change. Several private corporation including Intel is trying to help the government in this initiative.
2. Security (Hardware and Software)
Making India digitally connected is not enough, you need to maintain a secure environment so that it does not disrupt the business and services relying on this. Recent attacks on digital infrastructures of developed countries like US and UK reminds us how serious security is. There is hope, in the words of Oracle vice-president John Fowler
People will want to look at using new hardware and software to build a secure infrastructure for Digital India and that is where we want to try to help as we build very complete hardware and software solutions that work in very highly scaled and highly secure environment
1. Privacy and mass surveillance
Currently India has poor regulation for data protection, privacy protection, and e-commerce sector. Central Government need to table and implement several bills key for the success of this initiative. Along with that India also has a poor reputation for its mass surveillance program using C-Dot. Sometimes C-Dot is compared with the NSA of United States. Though currently Indians have not paid attention toward privacy and mass surveillance, but it’s going to be a huge problem for the Government unless it drops the surveillance program. In-fact Digital India initiative will make surveillance lot more easier for the Government, and there lies the problem.
For success of DI initiative Indian Government need to overcome above problems along with they need to show dedication toward serving the people. Will current NDA Government will be able to deliver this before 2019, let us know in the comment section.