Digital empowerment in India challenges and opportunities, The digital wave in India is poised to create great strides in the functioning of the government and delivery of its services to citizens, helping transform the life experiences of 1.2 billion Indians and drive the India growth story. The road to digital empowerment in India has thrown up some great challenges and opportunities
1. Effective co-ordination, efficient monitoring system, and capacity building are all real challenges. A high degree of cooperation and commitment among the various departments is essential. Only a stable government with a strong conviction can help achieve this
2. All panchayat members, teachers in government schools, health workers, and government employees must be made digitally literate first.
3. The budget for this project is insufficient. Greater participation of all stakeholders namely, the corporates, citizens, NGOs and the government is the need of the hour.
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4. Lack of ICT infrastructure is a major hurdle. A sound digital infrastructure that provides smooth exchange of information is required. The existing ICT infrastructure has to be deployed to its full potential.
5. Digital transformation means that all processes of various government departments and agencies have to be revamped and reengineered. This must be done at a rapid pace to meet the expectations of the people.
6. Lack of standardisation is a major hurdle in digital empowerment. Different manufacturers use different operating systems that lead to problems in data transfer and interoperability of e-government applications. Standard communication platforms need to be built so that sharing of data becomes easier.
7. A weak monitoring and evaluation system will paralyse the ambition of digital India. Continuous and close scrutiny of its functioning needs to be ensured for the program to be on the right track.
8. Lack of last-mile internet connectivity is another major challenge. Internet penetration has to take place at a rapid pace. High speed broadband connectivity must be ensured to all 2.5 lakh gram panchayats through the National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) project within the timeframe.
9. Library professionals have to be trained to accelerate the transformation of traditional libraries to digital ones. There are challenges to integrate information technologies, digital library tools and software, models for resource development, IT training needs, content development, and copyright management. More than creating digital libraries, their management is a big challenge. It involves hardware, software and collection management, preservation/archiving, financial management and access management that require substantial planning, both financial as well as technical.
10. Data security is a big concern. When everything is connected to the internet, it is a great challenge to manage the security because of inter-wired connections and exchange of information. All security and privacy concerns must be considered and precautionary measures should be taken while entering into agreements with the cloud computing service provider.
11. Digitisation metrics include ubiquity, affordability, reliability, speed, usage and skills. India is currently classified as a constrained digital economy and is lacking in all these and will have to take a quantum leap to compete globally.
12. Many citizens may not be comfortable with the rapid pace of empowerment. Political parties, unable to digest these developments, are likely to throw up complications and retard the progress. This requires a strong commitment and coordination of all stakeholders. A stable government will go a long way to achieve this.
13.The digital divide between urban and rural areas must be bridged to ensure sustainable development. There are budget and power generation constraints, high initial and recurring expenditures, and social, cultural and economic problems that make access to digital information difficult for majority of the population
14. E-waste management, impact of digitisation on climate change are to be borne in mind when implementing Digital India Programme
There are great opportunities for manufacturers in the electronic field, for farmers, for businesses, for women in particular, and the medical, financial and other sectors. With bigdata, huge opportunity awaits business analytics. All government services will be done digitally, with plenty of opportunities for software and hardware professionals. IT and IT related jobs will be in great demand.
Digital literacy provides enormous opportunities to the education sector. Regional language keyboards are vital for deeper internet penetration. Also, translating features have to be enhanced to provide better user experience. The ‘e’ of everything is going to create a class of entrepreneurs, capable of providing employment rather than seek jobs. Knowledge networking provides unprecedented potential to every individual in a truly networked India. Digital empowerment will also ensure that citizens have a say and participate in governance.