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IT to Play a Dominant Role in Digital India Initiative's Success

Archana Sharma, Director, Xavient Information Systems
Tuesday, March 15, 2016
Archana Sharma, Director, Xavient Information Systems
Headquartered in California, Xavient is an IT consulting firm that provides enterprise solutions and operational support services like customization, enhancement, OSS/BSS applications, infrastructure & security management and many others

The Digital India Initiative is ambitious and aspirational. It aims to create a 'Digital' India wherein the world looks upon us for the next big technological revelation. The digitization in India, also known as the Internet of Everything (IoE) is expected to generate new market growth opportunities and various jobs. The IoE is a mesh of physical objects driven by the latest technologies in the market and is growing day by day. Thus, IT may have a special role to play in the Digital India Initiative as this is steering the whole initiative. Efforts are being made in portraying India's future as a technology powerhouse and to connect India's 600,000 villages to the Internet through the Digital India program. Technology will be central to the realization of the 'Digital Bharat' dream. The program is expected to cost approximately Rs.1,130 billion. However, timely implementation of schemes and adequate funding are essential. Investment in information and communication technology (ICT) is a prerequisite, as it positively affects jobs, productivity, GDP growth and innovation.

The Internet of Everything will play a transformational role in enabling the Digital India. From a technology point of view, in India we are reaching an inflection point for the Internet of Everything to occur. We are experiencing a humungous increase in processing power, storage and bandwidth at very low costs, the influx of data and the rise of applications. The government's 100 smart cities program and its vision of a digital India in a time like this, is definitely something to look forward to.

Government has developed a framework of nine pillars for the Digital India program, detailing the targets, estimated timelines and costs associated with end-goals namely Broadband Highways, Universal Access to Mobile Connectivity, Public Internet Access Program, e-Governance: Reforming Government through Technology, e-Kranti - Electronic Delivery of Services, Information for All, Electronics Manufacturing, IT for Jobs and Early Harvest Programs. Each of these areas is a complex program in itself and cuts across multiple Ministries and Departments. These are expected to facilitate the government's engagement with the public, enable provision of e-services on demand, allow wider access to internet, mobile connectivity, banking infrastructure and ensure overall availability of key digital resources to all citizens.

The initiative focuses on bringing internet in rural areas to educate the rural population. Digital knowledge needs to move beyond the urban, English-speaking population in the big cities. The connected devices need to first permeate to every level of society, which calls for not only affordable mobile phones, but also affordable smart vehicles that can alert authorities in the event of an accident, inexpensive smart homes that automate safety and are connected to law enforcement and, smart electricity grids that minimize the risk of tampering with electricity consumption. Data security issues also need to be given enough attention to be dealt with care in order to safeguard citizen's data. The Private IT companies will have an equal role in developing measures for data and cyber security. Also, the role of ITin making labor skill specific through training by video conferencing is inevitable under this program. The initiative aims at concentrating on instilling skill training to our IT engineers. At last, the IoT and OTT market which is quite amateur in the country is to be developed and the role of IT is prominent in the same. For automation and robotics, the country looks upon its IT youth and the out of the box technology startups. It will be interesting to see what is in store for the Digital India initiative in the coming years.
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