Indian Prime Minister on the progress made by Digital India initiatives

The Indian Prime Minister, Mr Narendra Modi, earlier in June talked to a number of with the beneficiaries of Digital India schemes from across the country, through a video bridge.

An official press release stated that the video bridge connected over 5 million beneficiaries, including representatives from Common Service Centres, National Informatics Centres, and National Knowledge Network, the Business Process Outsourcing sector, mobile manufacturing units and MyGov volunteers. The virtual meeting was the sixth instalment in the video series conducted by the Prime Minister.

While addressing the beneficiaries, the Prime Minister said that the Digital India initiative was launched to promote digital literacy and ensure that all citizens, especially those from rural areas, are digitally empowered.

He added that the government has worked on a comprehensive policy to be able to connect villages through fibre optic, digitally educate a large number of the rural population, provide service delivery through mobile phones and promote electronic manufacturing in the country. 

Regarding the technology in India, the Prime Minister said that being digitally proficient has increased people’s standard of living and has made it easier for people in remote areas to gain access to decent healthcare and education; he said that the government is working to ensure that the advantages of technology are available to all sections of the society.

Through a number digital projects, services like online payment of bills including the India Interface for Money (Bharat Interface for Money- BHIM APP), online booking of railway tickets, and electronic delivery of scholarships and pensions to bank accounts are now affordable and are easily available to the general public.

The Prime Minister discussed the progress being made by Common Service Centres (CSC) in remote areas of the country. Common Service Centres function as access points to deliver government digital services such as e-learning, e-banking, insurance, and healthcare. CSCs have helped Village Level Entrepreneurs (VLE) in rural areas and have generated job opportunities for more than 1 million people. There are around 292,000 CSCs in rural India that provide opportunities to access various digital government and other services across 215,000 village councils (Gram Panchayats).

The Prime Minister also said that the move towards more digital payments reduced the need for intermediaries. Digital payments in India have grown significantly in last four years, making the Indian economy digital and transparent. 

Digital India has also transformed the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) sector. BPOs were earlier confined to urban areas and cities; now because of the digital revolution, the sector has spread to smaller towns and villages, creating more employment opportunities for people that are closer to home.  

The India BPO Promotion Scheme (IBPS) and the separate BPO Promotion Scheme for the Northeast were implemented under Digital India and are expected to create employment opportunities for over 200,000 people in North East regions and in rural areas.

The Prime Minister said that over the last four years, India has come far in Electronics Hardware Manufacturing. To promote electronic manufacturing in India, the government has started the Electronic Manufacturing Cluster (EMC) scheme, under which 23 EMCs are being opened in 15 states. The project will provide job opportunities to around 600,000 people. India has established 118 more mobile phone manufacturing factories since the two that were set up in 2014. These units have created directed and indirect employment to more than 450,000 people in the country. 

The National Knowledge Network (NKN) plays a significant role in building a strong digitally empowered India. The National Knowledge Network connects about 1,700 major Research and Educational Institutes in India and in doing so has provided a large platform for around 50 million students, researchers, academicians and government officials across India. 

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