Can the success of ‘Digital India’ campaign become the deciding factor for Modi Government in 2019 elections?

Smart Cities, Smart Cities in India, 100 Smart Cities, eGovernance, eGovWatch, Amritsar Smart City

By Bala Navuluri, Chief Operating Officer, YASH Technologies Private Ltd.

India is in its seventh decade of independence, on a wave of significant changes, transformations that could lead to unprecedented growth and development across all sectors. Studies reveal that over the past two decades, India’s GDP has risen more than predicted, in the process bringing millions of citizens into a new league termed as the emerging middle class. While the finance minister announced the final budget for the current government, speculations are rife about the factors that will influence the elections 2019. The major push on agriculture has acquired major newsprint. However, budget 2018 has also doubled the allocation on the Digital India programme to Rs 3,073 crore with an evident focus on accelerating the pace of digitization process in the country.

The government’s impetus on digitizing the rural hinterlands, focus on smart cities and commitment to Blockchain technology, will encourage the promotion of digitization across the country, thereby making India truly digital. The strong impetus on digitalization by the present Government and the tremendous focus on digitizing the society and the size of investment pumped in the sector leave many speculating if this initiative will influence the general elections for the Union Government scheduled in the future.

Impact of the Digital India Campaign
The launch of the Digital India programme in 2015 ushered the country into the league of nations that are transforming their economies and governance with the power of technology. Since then, Digital India has touched upon nearly all aspects of our lives, ranging from work, travel and communication to healthcare, education and shopping. The push for e-governance and Digital India comes from the booming telecom sector, increasing Internet penetration and proliferating mobile devices. he programs strives to provide equal benefit to the user and service provider. The Digital India programme aims to provide Broadband highways, universal access to mobile connectivity, public internet access programme, e-Governance, eKranti – electronic delivery of services, Information for all, electronics manufacturing, IT for jobs and early harvest programmes. India has created the largest digital identity platform in Aadhaar; and built the world’s largest rural broadband network, the world’s largest direct benefit transfer system and the world’s largest citizen engagement platform in MyGov.

The Government’s emphasis on the development of physical infrastructure as well as software and security infrastructure to realize their vision of providing infrastructure as a utility to every citizen. To increase the speed of development and adoption of digital services, the government needs to encourage participation from the private sector. The public -private partnership will not only bring
efficiency but best ideas and technology to make India a truly digital destination.

According to analysts, the Digital India plan could boost GDP up to $1 trillion by 2025 and can play a key role in macroeconomic factors such as GDP growth, employment generation, labor productivity, growth in the number of businesses and revenue leakages for the Government. This campaign can also become a deciding factor considering the impetus and investment done by the current government.

Advantage Demographic Dividend
Digital India is an initiative that can unify the skill sets of our youth. Aimed at creating a digitally converged society, the Digital India programme provides the greatest opportunity that we have ever had to make rapid and solid advances in social and economic development. By 2030 India is expected to have 28% of the world’s workforce, a billion-person labor force, and the world’s largest population of 1.4 billion citizens. Today, two-thirds of India’s population is under the national average of 26, and the focus is more towards services & manufacturing.

This is where the spotlight is on Digital India to make acquiring and promotion of skills seamless, aiming to remove the ignorance of the people by making education and training available in their consumption schemes. There is a $20 billion market opportunity for companies that can bridge the skills gap. This would be the largest national development effort any democracy has ever attempted.

Digital India catapults Smart City Campaign

The ambitious 100 Smart City Mission naturally syncs with Digital India Campaign because technology plays a key role here. With a Rs 7,060 crore allocation in the Budget, the smart cities initiative has garnered the maximum attention from the IT sector as smart cities are technology-driven. The government aims to provide the citizens of this country access to internet, broadband services, e governance and ensure that information is easily available to the public. The Smart Cities Project is working on the principle of convergence which will bring together several key policies. Digital India campaign will catapult this initiative of rejuvenating Indian cities.

India is finally on a journey of technological transformation and the likelihood of realizing any vision hinges tightly on the efforts and commitment of all stakeholders. India is poised to transform itself and improve the lives of its citizens at an unprecedented speed. With proper planning and execution, India could serve as an example for much of the developing world. Many countries with emerging economies are seeking inspiration and a democratic model for such accelerated development. The coming century will become India’s to lead, and a lot depends on whether the Digital India campaign will change the way people perceive the upcoming elections.