Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) on March 9 put out a presentation on the proposed Digital India Act, 2023. This act will replace the currently enforced Information Technology Act (IT Act) of 2000. The presentation portrays a comprehensive approach to legislation and administration that may enable more innovation while also providing much-needed digital security in the age of information.
Ministry in the given presentation highlighted the reasons for replacing the pre-existing legislature, the primary reason being that the IT Act, 2000 was crafted in the early days of the internet, it was originally designed to protect e-commerce transactions and define cybercrime. It did not deal with the nuances of the current cybersecurity landscape adequately nor did it address data privacy rights.
In the age of information, legislation to regulate digital spaces is imperative. India right now has a huge market for digital services and products. India has the most prominent YouTube audience by country globally. Mobile data rates in India are some of the lowest around the world. Probably that’s why our monthly data usage on average stands at about 8.4GB per month which is the highest in the world.
India in 2023 has around 600 million smartphone users. India in the last few years has gone through a data and Smartphone revolution. If we look back, we can see how it all started, on July 1, 2015.
The Digital India Campaign
Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Digital India campaign in 2015. There are three components at the core of the digital India campaign
(a) Creation of Digital Infrastructure: This includes connecting rural parts of India with high-speed internet. Bharat Broadband Network Limited, the governmental body is responsible for the execution of the National Optical Fiber Network project under the Digital India campaign.
(b) Delivery of Digital Services: A major component o the Digital India campaign is to deliver government services and other services digitally. For instance, the launch of the Unified Mobile Application for New-age Governance (UMANG) in 2017 was a step in the same direction as modern governance. The app provides more than 1668 e-services and over 20,197 bill payment services all on people’s smartphones.
(c) Digital Literacy: For full participation in the digital age, the people of India needed to be literate about the digital world. The basic behaviour, knowledge, and skills required to effectively use digital devices are mandatory.
Achievements of the Digital India Campaign
Unified Payment Interface (UPI)
UPI is the most popular digital payment platform. It has onboarded 390 banks and facilitated 750 crore transactions totalling Rs 12.3 lakh crores by February 2023. The surge in UPI transactions has also made it convenient for authorities to monitor the funds because the money leaves a digital trail, making it difficult to siphon off black money.
In addition, MeitY launched the "Digital Village Pilot Project" in October 2018. The initiative will cover 700 Gram Panchayats (GPs)/Villages, including at least one Gram Panchayat/Village per District in each State/UT. Digital health services, education services, financial services, skill development, solar panel-powered street lighting, and government-to-citizen (G2C) and business-to-citizen (B2C) services are among the digital services provided.
Pradhan Mantri Gramin Digital Saksharta Abhiyaan (PMGDISHA)
The PMGDISHA project, which was established in 2019, aims to promote digital literacy in rural India by covering 6 crore rural households. It has 6.63 million enrolled applicants, of which 5.69 million have been trained and 4.22 million have been certified.
In conclusion, the Digital India Campaign is a transformative undertaking that has the potential to bring about a substantial shift in the country's socio-economic landscape. The programme intends to use technology to reduce the digital divide, empower individuals, and promote innovation and entrepreneurship. The initiative has achieved great success over the years in terms of building digital infrastructure, boosting internet adoption, and encouraging digital literacy among residents.
The project has also aided in the creation of new digital solutions with the potential to transform industries such as healthcare, education, agriculture, and governance. Yet, there is still more work to be done, and the government must continue to work to guarantee that the advantages of digital technology are available to all. Through persistent efforts and public-private partnerships, the Digital India Campaign can become a driving force behind India's growth and development in the years to come