Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Do-IT-India, 'Dig-IT-al'l !

“What do you want?”

I asked him out of curiosity. He was a lean naughty boy aged around ten sitting next to me in the bus and constantly peeping into my cell phone while I was busy shuffling the playlist with the earphones plugged.

“Akka you have games also in your mobile?”

The bright eyed fellow asked.

‘Patttt’ came a blow on his head from behind.

‘Aye! Aye! Do not ask such things!’ shouted his mother who was sitting right behind us.

Why not? I mean if we do not encourage kids or the know-nots to ask about things they are eager to know or if we fail to answer their questions in the right manner, I do not see the India Tomorrow with all the Information Technology we proudly brag about.

“That’s okay” I said. “I do have games, but I don’t play them always, I mostly use the phone  to talk to my mom or dad when I am away from home” I added. He looked at me and smiled; he looked at his mother and smiled more.

This was just one of those instances we face. It is not that people in the villages do not have mobile phones, it is not that students from certain schools do not have access to the Internet. Whilee the lack of it is one issue, the provision of these facilities without letting people know its best use is the most grave of all problems.The very reason I began this post on 'DIGITAL INDIA' with the stumbling blocks it has in this endeavor of progress. The increasing crime rates; mobile thefts, cyber pornography, hacking and online bank thefts for instance are proof to this matter

“Mangana kaige manikya” goes a saying in Kannada which means a gem in the hands of a monkey. Well you know what happens next! This is exactly the feeling when I see every second person with a smart phone crossing a busy traffic road. 

On what it is supposed to be….


We now have an evolving platform with the national programme ‘DIGITAL INDIA’ to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy. The three key components of this initiative are:

1.      DIGITAL INFRASTRUCTURE-100 smart cities, National Optical Fibre Network, broadband highways, electronics manufacturing

2.      DIGITAL SERVICES- money transfers, online cash, bookings, digital lockers for PAN card, passport, educational, housing and medical records

3.      DIGITAL LITERACY- E education, E entrepreneurship and start ups 

With a 17.5 % population of the world, we 1.3 plus billion with the second largest mobile population in the world, 3rd largest information technology exporter in the world, with 74 % people who can read and write, with some of the world’s best engineers, scientists and doctors it is surprising to note that only 15 % of us Indians are Internet users (Source: MUFT INTERNET) With the growing disparity between the rich and poor, the urban and rural, educated and the knowledge deprived, the vision of DIGITAL INDIA is a challenge, but if we strive enough and in right direction it shall soon see the light of the day. As much as what we expect from our government we all ought to know and educate each other what this mammoth mission is all about.

[A picture does speak a thousand words. This collage based on the theme India 2020 was made by me and my friend Goutam back in medical school during a college fest, we were kind of good at it;-) so much so that we ended up getting the first place every year, collage was somehow our event, magazines were devoured by us quite literally. I stood by technology then, stand by the future it holds now]


Our prime minister Narendra Modi’s address in the Indian Digital Summit of 2014 is an apt summary of what we should be aiming at, his and our vision for a DIGITAL INDIA:

I dream of a Digital India where – High-speed Digital Highways unite the Nation

I dream of a Digital India where – 1.2 billion Connected Indians drive Innovation

I dream of a Digital India where – Knowledge is strength – and empowers the People

I dream of a Digital India where –Access to Information knows no barriers

I dream of a Digital India where – Government is Open – and Governance Transparent

I dream of a Digital India where – Technology ensures the Citizen-Government Interface is Incorruptible

I dream of a Digital India where – Government Services are easily and efficiently available to citizens on Mobile devices

I dream of a Digital India where – Government proactively engages with the people through Social Media

I dream of a Digital India where – Quality Education reaches the most inaccessible corners driven by Digital Learning

I dream of a Digital India where – Quality Health care percolates right up to the remotest regions powered by e-Health care

I dream of a Digital India where – Farmers are empowered with Real-time Information to be connected with Global Markets

I dream of a Digital India where – Mobile enabled Emergency Services ensure Personal Security

I dream of a Digital India where – Cyber Security becomes an integral part of our National Security

I dream of a Digital India where – Mobile and e-Banking ensures Financial Inclusion

I dream of a Digital India where – e-Commerce drives Entrepreneurship

I dream of a Digital India where – the World looks to India for the next Big Idea

I dream of a Digital India where – the Netizen is an Empowered Citizen.

Here is a link to the video which inspires every Indian to dream digital.

Private sectors like Intel with the idea of skill development and innovation haves started a number of initiatives to digitally empower the citizens of India. The‘Digital Skills For India’ is intended to help five million people by the end of 2015.It has modules on digital literacy, financial inclusion, health care and cleanliness in five Indian languages. This application is available free on the Google Android Play Store. The Intel Innovate for India Challenge is for students, interested individuals and entrepreneurs from all over India. This aims to inspire the vast tech- savvy community in India to architect, design and develop novel applications in numerous areas such as Consumer Electronics, Digital Security Surveillance, Medical, Storage and many others. Also under the National Optic Fiber Network roll-out in India this year, Idukki in Kerala has become India's first district to be linked to this major step up in digital development, this is an ambitious government project to offer high-speed broadband connectivity in all the villages across the country. A truly literate state it is becoming, 'Manasilayo'? ;-)  Digital literacy training to key resource persons in the first 1,000 Panchayats is another important component of this programme. The multidimensional approach in this programme, the contribution to every aspect of digital growth is something that gives us a push. While such multiple schemes, policies and plans simultaneously happening we as citizens have a responsibility of using this opportunity and an obligation of making this programme contribute to our own digital development. 

Imagine a India where:

Every child has access to every book he should read online
Every citizen can vote from wherever he or she is online.
Every document of public interest can be accessed online.
Every personal information from bank accounts to passport is safe online.
Every medical record and supply is available online.
Every complaint can be filed online.
Every inquiry can be made online...

This and more…across India irrespective of who you are, where you come from and what you do is something to look forward to. I defer from posting a picture of a farmer sitting under the heat of the sun with a mobile phone or a group of kids sitting with a teacher in front of a computer which is switched on only when the photograph is clicked. It would only increase the TRPs of this post. My idea of E-governance is this, at the grass root level or at the level of policy making or implementing, whatever one is up to professionally or personally, let us use internet to the best possible extent wisely and judiciously. I as a doctor look at Internet with hope for integrating and accessing my patient records in my hospital, constant scientific research, keeping in pace with the latest diagnostic and treatment guidelines, and connecting to my scientific peers. I know there is no stop to the possibilities. We have just began the progress. Do share your views on the same. It is time to make the lines of Tagore’s poem true”….Where the knowledge is free….into ever widening thought and action…let my country awake”

PS: This post is written as a part of #DigitalIndia intiative of Indiblogger and Intel
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