The National Informatics Centre (NIC) hosted a two-day technology conclave earlier this month.
The conclave was organised by the NIC’s Technical Advisory Group (TAG), to help the senior Government officers keep abreast of emerging technologies in view of the rapid advancements in ICT.
Tech experts from the IT industry attended the conference and discussed the adoption of emerging technologies and their applications.
The theme of the conclave was ‘Technologies for NextGen Governance’. The participants explored the uses of big data, advanced analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, deep learning, cloud-native scalable applications, micro-services, software-defined infrastructure, and cybersecurity.
Speakers said that India needs the right kind of alliances to implement blockchain technology, an important step toward smart governance.
According to a press release, the use of digital technologies can cut the requirement of resources by a factor of a hundred, making it possible to quickly and positively impact intractable problems, like healthcare and education.
Participants suggested that the NIC should adopt a ‘platform’ mindset by creating open APIs and tap into the creativity and enterprise of Indians.
Scaling 22 places in 4 years to 96th rank, India managed to land a spot in the UN’s e-Government Index (EGDI) rankings in 2018.
The UN credits this to the Digital India programme, the country’s flagship programme to promote digital inclusion.
The EGDI survey is released once in two years. It assesses among others, government development at the national level based on telecommunications infrastructure, human capital, and national online presence. It maps how digital technologies and innovations are changing the public sector and people’s lives for the better.
The EGDI considers the weighted average of three normalised indices – the Telecommunications Infrastructure Index (TII) based on data provided by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the Human Capital Index (HCI) and finally, the Online Service Index (OSI) to assess the nation’s online presence.
Among the 193 UN member states, India ranked top 15 in the e-participation sub-index but performed poorly in the Telecommunication Infrastructure Index and in the Human Capital Index.
Digital India has launched initiatives like the People’s Wealth Scheme (Jan-Dhan Yojana, Aadhar, mobile phones), DBT (Direct Benefit Transfer), and smart cities, among others.
To ensure these projects are as effective as possible, the Government needs to develop a proper regulatory framework. This should include regulations on net neutrality and the use of digital payment methods (cash cards and wallet services, etc.) Well-defined guidelines will increase credibility and encourage citizens to use these services.
Additionally, the Government should use security protocols (256-bit AES encryption, etc.) and formulate relevant privacy policies to avoid the misuse of citizen data. For efficient tech implementation, it needs to focus on workforce skill enhancement, through training programmes or by hiring private sector professionals.