Governance in Digital India: A Civil Services Perspective

It is the single most ambitious Digital Transformation program in the world today. The Digital India Programme begun in 2014 by the Government of India wants to get 1.3 billion citizens to be digitally connected. India’s broadband usage has begun to grow exponentially. Digital India is the Government of India’s programme to create smooth and efficient governance across the country by taking an inclusive approach that uses internet technology so that the people of

India can benefit richly from India’s IT revolution.

Digital India’s goals are envisioned through 9 pillars: broadband highways, mobile connectivity, public access to internet, governance, e-delivery of services, information availability, manufacturing, job opportunities and short-term goals such as common Wi-Fi access, biometric attendance and e-books for schools. The main backbone of Digital India—National Optic Fibre

Network (NOFN) venture—is now on fast track under the Prime Minister’s personal supervision. It will be implemented through state-run public sector corporations like Bharat Sanchar Nigam, Power Grid Corporation and RailTel. The launch of the National Optical Fibre Network will take broadband to 600,000 villages, making it the single largest digital rural network in the world.

Digital India Programme is a Rs 1.13 lakh crore initiative that will transform India into a connected economy to attract investments in electronics manufacturing and thereby create millions of jobs and support trade. Digital India will also make India a connected knowledge economy that offers world-class services with a single click.

According to Prime Minister Modi: “From computing to communication, entertainment to education, from printing documents to printing products, and, now to the internet of things, it’s been a long journey in a short time. From cleaner energy to better healthcare and safer transport, everything is converging around the work you do… But for all this, we must bridge the digital divide and promote digital literacy in the same way that we seek to ensure general literacy. We must ensure that technology is accessible, affordable, and adds value.”

Technology today is enabling the Indian government to deal with massive volume of data and generate responses in a short amount of time. The Digital India Programme aims to transform governance, making it more accessible, accountable, participative and transparent. For India’s civil services cadre, Digital India offers the opportunity to take governance to its next level of effectiveness.

So what are the digital technologies that will enable governance in India to become more accessible, accountable, participative and transparent? Today digital technologies can be grouped into the following areas:



Analytics is the discovery, interpretation and communication of data to improve governance by using strategic knowledge to make decisions, improvements or changes.


Big Data

Big Data refers to the large amounts of structured, semi structured and unstructured data that the Government can potentially mine for information that leads to decision making.


Cloud Computing

Cloud computing refers to the remote servers network hosted on the Internet to store, manage, and process data to enable collaboration, decision making and knowledge sharing.


Internet of Things

Internet of Things refers to the global network connecting any smart object–electronic, electrical, non electrical–around us to provide seamless communication.


Mobile Computing

Mobile Computing is the distributed system that uses for transmitting voice and data through small, portable devices using wireless enabled networks.


Social Media

Social media refers to digital platforms that facilitate the creation and sharing of information, and ideas via virtual communities and networks. Social media is always a conversation.


Security Intelligence

Security Intelligence is the information relevant to protecting an organization from external and inside threats as well as the processes, policies and tools designed to analyze that information.

Civil services aspirants who commit to a deep understanding and constant learning effort of these digital technology areas will have an added advantage in their careers. Let us take an example here: Cloud Computing. The convergence of mobile, social, analytics, connected devices, 3D printing and cloud computing are all part of a process that enable the Indian government to digitize their processes and their governance models. Cloud computing is the single most disruptive of all the new digital technologies–because of its ubiquity and ease of adoption. It not only provides a source of unlimited and dynamic capacity, but also helps citizens to access services faster.

On November 8 2016, India took the big step to transition to a digital economy through its demonetization initiative which ushered in the era of digital transaction. In one bold move, digital is a force multiplier that aggregates our advancements in various frontiers of development.

India’s digital transformation dates back to the period between the 1950s and late 1970s, when we started innovating with digital computers and digital data storage. Computer science, communication engineering and storage technology have taken quantum leaps since. The introduction of the Internet and the World Wide Web in 1993 was the first sign of things to come. India was an early entrant with its liberalization happening in the early 1990s.

On August 15, 1995, India stepped into its digital age with the inauguration of VSNL. The Digital India Programme was rolled out in 2014, with the goal of putting a smartphone in the hands of every Indian by 2019. For a country with 800 million youth under the age of 35 impatient for change and eager to achieve, Digital India offers a seamless transition to a digital society with information processing, seamless communication and efficient storage. The digital age is unfolding before our eyes, between the forces of social transformation and technological transformation.

So as we have seen, Digital India Programme is a confluence of governance and technology that has a socio-economic-political impact as well as cultural undercurrents. This program networked our society and accelerated our country like no other program. It has connected our lives and put our country on the fast path to development.

Digital India Programme is a new way of life. It influences our systems, our processes and the way we run our country. Our experiences are becoming more citizen-centric and user driven in a digital scenario. As a democratic nation and people, our governance processes are getting more transparent, measurable and effective, especially for our people below the poverty line. For this reason, Digital India is all set to play a key role in enabling India to become a powerful world leader in our 21st Century. And, Governance—more specifically, eGovernance—holds the key to our attainment of that national goal.

– Joseph Fernandez

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