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1. Digital Rural Revolution - Rethinking Education Rural Health


  • The key strategy of rural development mainly focuses on poverty alleviation, better livelihood opportunities, provision of basic amenities and infrastructure facilities through innovative programmes of wage and self-employment etc.

  • It was realized that the challenges like poor public services, unemployment, housing, crime and violence, health, education for all etc. could be successfully addressed through extensive use of ICT applications for the improvement in the processes of government functioning to bring SMART, i.e. Simple, Moral, Accountable, Responsive and Transparent Governance.

  • The government is promoting inclusive and transparent development through digital inclusion by providing mobile and broadband connectivity to the villages and initiating measures like Jan-Dhan account, debit cards, Aadhar Pay, Bharat interface for Money (BHIM) etc. This is effectively putting an end to the middlemen and ensuring that benefits of various government schemes directly reach beneficiaries.

  • As the thrust of government is on cashless transactions through mobile phones, the course content would also emphasise on digital wallets, mobile banking, UPI, Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) and Aadhar enables payment system (AEPS), digidhan mela, e-money and the like.

  • Be it skill development, education, agriculture or infrastructure, the use of information and communication technology has the potential to bring efficiencies in every domain of rural development.

  • With the advent of the new era for technology driven schemes and initiatives, ‘Bharat’ has now started to take a new shape of ‘India’ in an inclusive manner. After 70 years of independence, and tireless efforts to bring the rural development into the mainstream, digital India is undoubtedly the boldest step to make a digitally empowered and skilled ‘Bharat’.

2. E - Governance In Rural India

  • India is at cusp of a revolution which is unfolding now with becoming the second largest country of mobile users having crossed the one billion mark in 2016.

  • The number of smart phones may be less than china and US but with prices of smart phones, attractive network offers and competitive prices, it is making a transition easier to smart phones. Possibilities of graduating from just making a call to innumerable possibilities make the digital revolution a very exciting period in India.


2.1. Vision Areas of Digital India:

  • The Digital India programme is centred on three key vision areas:

  • 1. Digital Infrastructure as a core utility to every citizen.

  • 2. Governance & services on demand.

  • 3. Digital Empowerment of citizens


Rural India

  • 6.5 lakh villages in India 72% of the total population.

  • The rural mass in the nation comprises the core of the India society and also represent the real India.

  • The key strategy of rural development mainly focuses on poverty alleviation, better livelihood opportunities, provision of basic amenities and infrastructure facilities through innovative programmes of self and wage employment. For this, there was a need to improve overall trust relationship between government and citizens.

  • Inefficient governance- In the past, the people lost their faith in governance system because of the hardship they had to endure in form of expenses, inconvenience and multiple visits. For the rural mass, these hardships were more adverse.

  • Hence it was realised that the challenges like poor public services, unemployment, housing, crime and violence, health and education for all etc. could be successfully addressed through extensive use of ICT applications for the improvement in the processes of government functioning to bring SMART, i.e. Simple, Moral, Accountable, Responsive and Transparent Governance.


Need of e-governance

  • It was essential to improve the information flows and encourage active participation by citizens in the policy making process of the government, so as to build up the trust between government and citizens.

  • Hence the complete transformation of the processes of governance using the implementation of ICT is called E-governance.

  • It aims at bringing in

  • Faster and transparent service delivery

  • Accountability

  • Information sharing

  • People participation in the decision making and government processes.

  • For instance- The major ICT initiatives of the government include some major projects such as railway computerisation etc. which focuses mainly on development of information systems. Later on many states started the ambitious individual e-governance projects aimed at providing electronic services to citizens.



  • Though these e-governance projects were citizen-centric, they could make less than the desired impact due to their limited features. The isolated and the less interactive systems revealed major gaps. They clearly pointed towards the need of a more comprehensive planning and implementation for the infrastructure required to be put in place, interoperability issues to be addressed etc. Lessons from previous e-governance initiatives have played an important role in shaping the progressive e-governance strategy of the country.

  • The government accorded the priority to improving the quality of basic governance and in that context proposes to promote e-governance on a massive scale in areas of concern to the common people through a strategic collaborative approach of the e-governance.


National E-governance Plan (NeGP)

  • It was launched in 2006

  • Vision- to make all government services accessible to the common man in his/her locality, through delivery outlets named Common Services Centres (CSC) and ensure efficiency, transparency and reliability of such services at affordable costs to realise the basic needs of the common man.

  • 31 Mission Mode Projects covering areas such as

  • o Agriculture

  • o Land records

  • o Education

  • o Health

  • o Passports

  • o Police etc.

  • Challenge- E-governance as a whole has not been able to make the desired impact and fulfil all its objectives especially in ensuring anytime anywhere availability of services and their seemless integration.

  • A lot more thrust is required to promote inclusive growth that covers electronic services, products, devices and job opportunities. Moreover, electronic manufacturing industries in the country need to be strengthened. Currently India imports around 100 billion dollar worth of electronic goods which may reach 400 billion dollar by 2020.

  • India today is at the tipping point where the technology has to be leveraged more holistically to meet the aspirations of 1.2 billion population.

3. Rural Transformation  And Digital Technology

3.1. Digital India

  • In order to transform the entire ecosystem of public services through the use of information technology, the government of India has launched the ‘Digital India’ programme in 2015.

  • Vision- transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy.

  • Opportunity- Digital India is a huge challenge in rural areas. But delivery of e-governance services to the remote corners in a meaningful and locally relevant manner may result in a successful building of rural India with the advent of the most advanced ICT and by leveraging various existing infrastructures in an integrated manner.


Basic requirement to fulfil this are

  • ICT infrastructure such as broadband connectivity for people, common service centres for consolidated service delivery to citizens through an integrated platform up to Gram Panchayat (GP) level

  • Government offices up to panchayats,

  • Internet, wifi, messaging, video conferencing, skill sets.

  • Uninterrupted power supply

  • Skilled manpower resources at least upto district level

  • On demand scalable and secure cloud infrastructure upto GP level

  • Integration of national data centres, state data centres and other data centres.

  • Common services centre- Creating rural entrepreneurship, redefining governance

  • For consolidated delivery of electronic services, there is a need to integrate all service applications working in silos with a common service centre, now commonly known as Digital Seva.

  • CSC has proven potential to create sustainable rural entrepreneurship redefining governance and to meet the expectations of the government in transforming India into a digitally and socially empowered society.

  • CSC under digital India movement have now become agents of socio economic changes in rural India.

  • CSCs are internet enabled access points for delivery of various Digital Services (e-services) to the citizens. The CSCs enable citizens to avail the government and other services closer to their locality in a transparent and timely manner.

  • CSCs being well equipped ICT enabled centres necessarily play a significant role in enabling universal access to the plethora of e-services for citizens and acting as a cornerstone for the citizen’s digital empowerment.

  • CSC 2.0

  • It was launched in 2015 under pillar 3 of digital India programme. It was to expand the reach to all Gram Panchayats (GP) across the country.

  • This would also include strengthening and integrating the existing one lakh CSCSs already operational under the existing CSC scheme and making operational an additional 1.5lakh CSCs at GP level.

  • CSC 2.0 model is completely based on a service delivery/transaction oriented self-sustainable entrepreneurship model with no viability gap funding for hardware and infrastructure support to village level entrepreneurs (VLEs) from government of India.

  • It was envisaged that the applicant of CSC entrepreneurship should be motivated enough to be the primer driver of social change and dispense his/her duties with utmost dedication.

  • For day to day operation of CSCs and knowledge upgradation on new services, the VLEs are being provided with handholding support through training on enterprise development programme. For increasing the sustainability of VLEs, CSC 2.0 recommends that revenue sharing between VLE and other stakeholders is in ratio of 80:20


Participation of women in CSC ecosystem

  • The government is encouraging women entrepreneurs to set up common services centres.

  • This motivates other women to come forward and set up their CSCs.

  • Also, the government is encouraging women members of SHG to become VLEs.

  • As a result, around 32000 women entrepreneurs have set up CSCs and are delivering services in rural areas.


Functions of CSCs

  • 1. Service Delivery Centres- G2C, G2B, B2C, utility services etc.

  • 1. Permanent Enrolment Centre for Aadhar, and aadhar printing centres.

  • 2. Business corresponding agents

  • 3. Insurance service centres

  • 4. Educational and skill development centres

  • 5. Electoral registration centres

  • 6. Information centre for various schemes of the government for creating awareness

  • 7. Wifi distribution centres (wifi, e-choupal)


Advantages of CSC

  • Transparent and timely delivery of government services. Thus reducing citizens’ efforts and resources in availing services

  • Integrated framework for delivery and dissemination of various government initiatives and benefits through ICT enablement

  • Introducing change agents for skill development, education and training

  • Acting as last mile distribution units for various governments’ direct benefits to marginalised/backward communities

  • Encouraging more and more participation of women to become VLEs and increasing their contribution in the social and economic development.

  • The CSCs are acting a medium for rural citizens to get digitally empowered and interact woth the government and its schemes.

  • During 2016-17, a number of important government services have been added in CSC network such as

  • Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojaan,

  • Food Safety and Standards Authority of India,

  • Soil Health Card,

  • E-district services

  • PMGDISHA to the existing basket of services.

  • CSC has also introduced skill development programme for differently-abled persons.

  • E-commerce platform ‘vlebazaar’ has been launched for showcasing the products of rural India through CSCs.

  • CSC e-governance Service India limited has been given license by RBI for functioning as a Bharat Bill Payment Operating Unit (BBPOU) under Bharat Bill Payment Services.

  • BBPS intends to offer an interoperable and accessible bill payment services to customers though the vast CSC network, enabling multiple payment modes and providing instant confirmation of payment.

  • It will facilitate cashless society through migration of bill payments from cash to electronic channel.

  • GST Council engaged CSC-SPV as a GST suvidha provider.

  • As GSP, CSC-SPV needs to perform various functions supporting various stakeholders. Mainly merchants, establishments and person required to fulfil compliance as prescribed under GST regime.


Wi-fi chaupal

  • During 2016-17, CSC-SPV launched wif-fi choupal, a rural wifi facility, signifying a new era in providing connectivity in the villages.

  • Wi-fi choupal project has been launched to provide wi-fi internet access in rural India through CSCs.

  • Digital Saksharta Abhiyan

  • Through national digital literacy mission/digital saksharta abhiyan, the CSC-VLEs and partners worked with inspiring enthusiasm towards the goal of making at least one person from each family digitally literate.

  • Indirect employment generation through CSCs.

  • The current working model of CSC is completely a transaction oriented self-sustainable model. On an average 3-4 persons are engaged in each CSC kiosk. Hence, it is estimated that around 9.18 lakhs of people are indirectly employed in the CSC ecosystem.



1. Connectivity

  • At present, CSC are functioning based on the available mode of connectivity such as data card, wifi and broadband wherever feasible. However, internet bandwidth is not adequate and stable in far flung and remote areas due to inaccessibility.

2. Support of states

  • One of the key objectives of present CSC initiative is consolidated delivery of e-gov services by integrating all services access portals available at states/UT level with the national level universal and integrated platform of digital seva. For this, continuous support from the respective states/UTs are pre-requisites. For now, few state governments have allowed integration of state portal with digital sewa portal.

4. Revolutionizing Indian Agriculture With Ict

  • It is reported that in 2016, 234million internet users in India were local language users. This is expected to grow at a CAGR of 18%.

  • In rural development, agriculture plays a vital role in India’s economy. 54% of population is engaged in agriculture and allied activities (Census 2011)

  • It contributes 17% to the country’s Gross Value Added.

  • Thus, government has taken several steps to have sustainable development in agriculture.

  • The average villager living in rural India already has a basic awareness of the wonders of the WWW and is willing to explore the internet to satisfy his queries about the world and issues which impact his livelihood.


4.1. National e-governance plan in agriculture

  • It is proposed to be implemented across the country.

  • Aims to offer G2C or GRF, G2B and G2G agricultural services in a integrated manner through central agricultural portal CAP and state agricultural portals.

  • Information in agriculture and marketing channels

  • India’s farmers live in rural areas and agriculture and allied activities still continue to be largest share of India’s employment.

  • It is estimated that 72% farmers do not have access to reliable sources of information and this prevents them from accessing credit and realizing high crop productivity.

  • Around 94% of farmers in India depend upon ‘fellow farmers’ as the preferred source of information, followed by 10% on agri retailers. 4 % on tv/radio and only 3% on agri extension officers.

  • Information provided by extension services are perceived to be unreliable and less actionable due to lack of accuracy.

  • This is a bottleneck for adoption of modern agri-practices; hence crop yields India are still just 30%-60% of the best sustainable crop yields achievable in the farms of developed as well as developing countries.


ICT in agriculture

  • Also known as e-agriculture, it is developing and applying innovative way to use ICTs in rural domain, with primary focus on agriculture.

  • It is seen as an emerging field focusing on the enhancement of agricultural and rural development through improved information and communication processes.

  • In this context, ICT is used as an umbrella term encompassing all information and communication technologies including devices, network, mobiles, services and applications.

  • Digital India envisions empowering citizens with e-access to government and related livelihood services.

  • The project has 3 core components

  • 1. Digital infrastructure

  • 2. Digital services

  • 3. Digital literacy

  • Mobile phone is the preferred delivery medium under digital India with focus on m-governance and m-services. Out of the 7 components covered under m-service, m-agriculture and m-grambazzar directly impact agricultural extension.

  • An end-to-end ICT led agri platform has been crated

  • Pan India teleco and handset neutral agri info service delivered through sms, voice and mobile app

  • 10000 + info services sources managed by team of 300+ on ground agri markets reporters and state/national kevel agri experts

  • Dedicated agri call centre

  • Custom designed CRM and ERP solutions for Indian farmers

  • Agri e-commerce platform with agri produce aggregation and demand/supply matching capability.


Kisan Call centre initiative

  • With the increase in choices of farm inputs, pesticides, herbicides, high yielding varieties of seeds, a farmer today requires guidance of expert agriculturalists more than anything else.

  • Kisan call centre is a pioneering intuitive started in Madhya Pradesh by the Indian society of agri-business professionals. The KCC is a combination of ICT and Agri technology.

  • It uses backend data support system, which is inbuilt into overall MIS.

  • KCC enables farmers to have a direct discussion with the subject matter experts who are able to analyse the problem effectively and provide solution directly



  • It is a pan India electronic trading portal which networked the existing APMC mandis to create a unified national market for agricultural commodities.

  • It provides a single window service for all APMC related information and services. This includes commodity arrival and prices, buy and sell trade offers, provision to respond to trade offers among other services.

  • While material flow continue to happen through mandis, an online market reduces transaction costs and information asymmetry.

  • Major applications of ICT in agriculture


GPS receivers

  • The use of GPS provides benefits in geo-fencing, map making and surveying. Drop in prices of GPS receivers over years make it more popular for civilian use.

  • Geographic information systems

  • Used extensively in agriculture, especially precision farming.

  • Land is mapped digitally and pertinent geodetic data such as topography and contours are combined with other statistical data for easier analysis of the soil.


Smartphone mobile apps

  • The smartphone penetration enhances the multi-dimensional positive impact on sustainable poverty reduction and identity accessibility as the main challenge in harnessing full potential in agriculture.


PM Fasal Bima Yojana

  • It was launched from kharif season of 2016.

  • It envisages a uniform premium of 2% paid by farmers on kharif crops, 1.5% on rabi crops and 5% on horticulture.

  • There is not upper limit on government subsidy for this scheme.

  • Farmers will get full sum insured without any reduction.


Boosting productivity

  • Expand the services of Kisan Call Centre for easy reach to farmers

  • Make provision to enable the companies investing in agriculture technology management agency

  • National programme for space application in agriculture as a comprehensive platform to harvest the advantages of space technology in agriculture and allied sectors.

  • Space and info technologies will be leveraged to improve efficiency, speed and accuracy of crop cutting experiments.

  • Ensure timely settlement of claims of the farmers in accordance with prescribed timelines in guidelines.



  • Agriculture is one of the most important sectors in India and could benefit tremendously with the applications of ICT in improving the socio conditions of poor in backward areas.

  • Though India has a strong and fast growing IT industry, access to ICTs remains very low, particularly in rural areas.

  • If right information is provides timely, it can help to develop the agriculture sector

  • It helps to take timely action, prepare strategies for next season, speculate the market changed and avoid unfavourable circumstances.


5. Smart Villages :

A. Way Forward

  • Most Indian villages are yet to avail the basic necessities to lead a healthy life like access to education, healthcare, drinking water, electricity, toilets-both domestic and public- with proper water facilities and proper road infrastructure.

  • In addition, to keep pace with the modern technological innovations like mobile phone, internet etc. which are essential for making the country digital, Indian villages are lagging much behind in it.


Village empowerment till now

  • The first concrete step to address the issue of empowering the villages was in 1992 with 73rd Constitutional Amendment being adopted. It decreed the organisation of village panchayats so that they can function as the local self-government.

  • In 2002, fundamental duty was added by 86th CA which urged parents to provide opportunities for education to their child.

  • The National Rural Health Mission was launched in 2005 with a vision to provide effective health care to rural population throughout the country.

  • Road connectivity was facilitated through PM gram Sadak Yojana.

  • PM Grameen Awas Yojana ensured housing for all.

  • Many more such schemes have been undertaken by the central and state governments to improve the quality of life in rural India.



  • With improved quality of life comes the need of better living. In the age of digitisation, the concept of smart city was embraced but the need to convert villages into smart villages was also felt.

  • The first step was taken in 2015 to transform rural areas economically, socially and physically sustainable space through Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Rurban mission.

  • This mission aims to develop rural growth clusters which have latent potential for the growth in all states and UTs.

  • This would trigger overall development in the region.

  • These cultures would be developed by providing of economic activities, developing skills and local entrepreneurship and providing infrastructure amenities.

  • The Rurban mission will thus develop a cluster of smart villages.


How to choose cluster?

  • The ministry of rural development is adopting scientific process of cluster selection which involves objectives analysis at the district, sub-district and village level of the demography, economy, tourism, and pilgrimage significance and transportation corridor.

  • Impact

  • The ministry would provide a suggestive list of sub-districts to the state and the state government would then select the clusters following a set of indicated principles included n framework for implementation.


What to have in a cluster?

  • 14 components have been suggested as desirable for the cluster

  • 1. Skill development

  • 2. Agro/processing agri-services/ storage and warehousing

  • 3. Digital literacy

  • 4. Sanitation and provision of piped water supply

  • 5. Solid and liquid waste management

  • 6. Village streets and drains

  • 7. Street lights

  • 8. Fully equipped mobile health unit

  • 9. Upgrading school/higher education facilities,

  • 10. Inter-village road connectivity

  • 11. Citizen service centre

  • 12. E-gram connectivity

  • 13. Public transport

  • 14. LPG gas connections

  • Development process of few of them


5.2. Skill development

  • Under ministry of skill development and entrepreneurship, it aims to enable a large number of Indian youth to take up the industry relevant skill training that will help them in securing a better livelihood.


Digital literacy

  • PM Gramin Digital Saksharta Abhiyan. It is expected to be one the largest digital literacy programmes of word. The course content will have emphasises on digital wallets, mobile banking UPI, USSD and AEPS.

  • Agro based scheme Sampada- scheme for agro marine processing and development of agro-processing clusters

  • Under ministry of food processing, it aims to supplement agriculture, modernise processing and decrease agro-waste.

  • Implementation of scheme will result in creation of modern infrastructure with efficient supply chain management from farm gate to retail outlet.



  • Swachh Baharat aims at making rural India open defecation free by 2019 by encouraging households to build toilets, thus improving level of cleanliness in the country.


Drinking water supply

  • National rural drinking water programme to provide piped water supply to rural households by 2022 to 90% rural households. At least 80 % houses have piped water supply with household connection, less than 10% use public taps and 10% use hand pumps or other safe and adequate private water resources.


Street light

  • Ministry of new and renewable energy has installed solar PV through the national solar mission.

  • Road connectivity and public transport

  • PM Gram Sadak Yojana to provide good road connectivity in rural areas

  • PM Gramin Parivahan Yojana would involve women SHGs and train them to operate mini-buses to serve village blocks not covered by public transport.


LPG gas connection

  • Ujjwala yojana aims at providing deposit-free LPG connections to BPL families in name of adult women.



  • The main challenge lies in implementing the programme effectively. Only if other socio-economic indicators are good and the basic needs of the village are already met, then can a smart village with a digital future be made possible.

  • A digital future can be built on top of physical one.

  • How to check the basic fulfilments of village?

  • Presence of primary school

  • Separate toilets for boys and girls in school

  • Basic sense of hygiene imparted to children through schools

  • Mid day meal provided to the children, enough to supplement their nourishment.

  • Higher secondary school in cluster of 5 villages, within a radius of 10 kms.

  • Presence of degree college too for a cluster of villages.

  • Different scholarships directly credited to bank accounts of students

  • These accounts linked with Aadhar.

  • Such steps helps in removing ghost beneficiary and interference of middlemen

  • ASHA workers appointed under NRHM.

  • ASHA along with ANM form the first interface between village community and health care.

  • There should be ambulances to ferry patients to referral hospitals,

  • Mobile medical vans can also be arranged for the village clusters to provide basic medical help.

  • Under Janani Suraksha Yojana, eligible pregnant women are entitled for cash assistance for giving birth in a government or accredited private health facility.

  • Swachh Bharat Abhiyan

  • Toilets to be constructed in every house of the villages.

  • Providing toilet and piped water is a basic necessity.

  • Usage of toilet should stop the age-old practice of manual scavenging.

  • Ensure safety of women

  • Agriculture yields by the farmers need to reach the market in time

  • Farmers can recover the investments they have made.

  • For this, connectivity to the nearest mandi is essential.

  • PM Krishi Sinchayi Yojana- Har Khet Ko Paani ensures bringing more agricultural land under irrigation.

  • Financial inclusion will play a key role in making villages smart.

  • The JAM trinity of Jan Dhan account, Aadhar number and mobile connectivity is expected to every Indian.

  • Although every bank is mandated to have 45% rural penetration having a bank account still remains elusive to many persons.

  • Banking correspondents or bank mitras were appointed by banks to talks this situation.


Street lighting

  • Use of non-renewable source of energy, especially solar energy is designed for electrifying most villages.

  • When village with all such facilities can be developed, it would be termed as a smart village. A holistic approach is needed to develop such a village.

  • Involvement of panchayat to implement the government programmes successfully along with community participation is utmost necessary to develop the village.

6. Financial inclusion in rural areas through "digital india"

  • The combination of IT and mobile can only allow circumventing the cost problem to connect 1250 million people and 180 million households of India.

  • Welfare measures can only be visible by coming closure to the poor by various innovative channels where there are no leakages and pilferages. Effective implementation of pro-poor programmes by using available digital path is now the weapon.

  • Financial inclusion is construed by two ways

  • 1. Countering the exclusion from the payment system

  • 2. Countering the exclusion from the formal financial services

  • The approach is based on following principles

  • 1. Adequacy and availability of financial services to all sections of the society

  • 1. Awareness of financial services

  • 2. Affordability and accessibility of appropriate financial products through a combination of conventional and alternative delivery channels and technology enabled services and processes.

  • PM Jan Dhan Yojana- It is India’s national mission for financial inclusion to ensure access to financial services, namely savings and deposit accounts remittances, credit, insurance and pension in an affordable manner.

  • This financial inclusion campaign was launched by PM in 2014.

  • Aadhar- the Unique Identification Authority of India is a central government agency. Its objective is to collect the biometric and demographic data of residents, store them in a centralised database and issue a 12 digits unique identity number called Aadhar.

  • Mobile banking- it has registered a volume of 106.18 million transactions with value of 1612 billion rupees. With the introduction of new technologies introduced by NPCI, a person can transfer funds, check balances through a normal phone which was earlier limited only to smart phones.

  • Mobile banking for the poor would be available through national USSD platform for which all banks and mobile companies have come together.

  • JAM trinity- it is government of India’s link to Jan Dhan accounts, mobile numbers and Aadhar numbers. It is to plug the leakages of government subsidies.


Direct benefit transfer

  • It is an attempt to change the mechanism transferring subsidies launched by government. The programme aims to transfer subsidies directly to the people through their bank accounts.

  • It is hoped to reduce leakages, delays etc.

  • The primary aim of DBT program is to bring transparency and terminate pilferage from distribution of funds sponsored by the government.

  • Over 1200 schemes were studied to see if they could be brought under the DBT scheme and it was found that within a period, around 550 schemes could be incorporated in the scheme.

  • Digital boost to MGNREGA- A total of 35000 gram panchayats are covered to ensured better implementation through mobile monitoring system.

  • It will help the implementation agencies with live data from the worksites, an online and real time updation of data base, real time visibility of the data for complete transparency and location of assets with geo-tagging for easy verification.

  • E-money- The department of posts has planned to provide electronic money order service to 70% of its total post offices. This services will enable India post to remit money next day to the door step that earlier took about a week. Twitter samvad.

  • It is to enable citizens to know about new government initiatives and actions.

  • Digital life certificates- The Jeevan praman scheme has given a scope of relief to a million to retired government employees. With this, the pensioner will do away with the requirement of submitting a physical life certificate. They can digitally provide proof of their existence to authorities for continuity of pension every year.

  • Digital locker India- it eliminates the need for people to carry the hard copies of the certificates issued by states, municipal agencies and other bodies.

  • PRAGATI- It is an interactive platform launched for public grievances redressal.

  • It is aimed at monitoring and reviewing programs and projects of the government of India as well as state government initiatives.

  • Digidhan mela- various digital payment channels including Unified Payment Interface, AEPS, USSD and Rupay cards. The event will focus on ways and benefits of the system and will also address the concerns regarding payments and commissions charged by the respective organisations. Since demonetisation, there has been phenomenal growth in digital transactions.

  • BHIM App for e-transactions, aadhar seeding- Through this app, the customer can access his bank account and then make payment or send a request to collect payment by directly approaching the settlement system. Bhim doesn’t require writing of account number. The virtual financial address is created here. The sender doesn’t know the account details to send the money but can use BHIM app and recipient’s’ mobile number, Aadhar or virtual payment address.

  • Digigaon- PMGDHSA is extended to impart knowledge on basic education and health services



  • A satellite based geo platform by ISRO, reaching out to the rural people. It acts like a clearing house for satellite data.

  • Some applications are

  • 1. Chaman- coordinated program on horticulture assessment and management using geo-informatics

  •  Digital inventory of all horticulture zones in country

  •  Deciding cold storage hubs

  •  Managing inflation through accurate data of food stock

  • 2. FASAL- forecasting agricultural output using space, agro-meterology and land based observation

  •  Monitor the crop

  •  Can be used directly to study crop locations

  • 3. NADAMS- national agricultural drought assessment and monitoring systems

  • Remote sensing realtime information on current or developing drought at state, district and sub-district level.

  • 4.1.3.Android apps

  • 1. CCE agri- revenue officials can use to estimate crop damage and yield loss at 1100 locations in 12 states

  • 2. Ground truth- to monitor crop health

  • 3. Bhuban hailstorm app- capture hailstorm losses in states such as MP

  • 4. Mkisan- nearly 90 million farmers are now enrolled for farm advisories such as weather and pest updates on their phones through apps.


7. Digital Rural Revolution - Rethinking Education

7.1. Changing Conditions Of Women In Digital Age

  • As digital practices become the norm in our world, it would become more evident who is ‘digitally connected’ and who is not. The phenomenon of digitisation is set to reach an inflection point since it will determine how economic development can be achieved with greater alacrity and efficiency.

  • By 2020, an entire generation, generation C (Connected), would grow in a digitised culture dominated by computers, internet, mobile phones, texting, and social media.

  • In India, rapid efforts to provide broadband connection across the country is helped by this understanding that technology is a great leveller and can bridge the gap in any development sector.


Digital India programme

  • In order to transform the entire ecosystem of public services through the use of information technology, the government of India has launched the ‘Digital India Programme’’ with the vision to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy.

  • One of the strong components is ‘information for all’. It underpins the efforts to provide services and improve the infrastructure. It can be argued that once mobile connectivity has been established and broadband access is available, the natural corollary is that information will be sought by anyone and everyone.

  • This may seem a probable possibility but has remained elusive for women, even in urban areas as well.


Asian Development Bank report 2015

  • Women’s low participation in the labour force in Asian countries is attributable to choices favouring domestic or non-commercial activities, which in turn are reinforced by social norms that promote domesticity as a woman’s primary responsibility, “constraining women’s social activities, mobility and severely limiting opportunities for women to achieve financial growth or to venture into entrepreneurial activities or both”.

  • Closing the gender gap could generate a 30% increase in the per capita income of a hypothetical average Asian economy in one generation.

  • In India, opportunities to tap the potential of women in acceleration of economy has been left unexplored.

  • Perceptive on inclusion of women in building economy has been treated as a perfunctory idea since the assumption is women require facilitation and assistance in availing social and economic benefits.

  • UN Women’s report- “Gender equality. The new urban agenda” 2016

  • It emphasises multiple challenges women face, especially in urban areas, exacerbated by the non-acknowledgement or under-resourcing of their contributions in creating sustainable cities.

  • The UN reiteration of the tectonic linkages between gender equality and sustainable development has been corroborated by its 2030 agenda for sustainable development.

  • Increasing visibility of women’s marginalisation in access to education, healthy lifestyle and financial inclusion opportunities has allowed governments to debate and discuss the impediments which detract societies to alter policies and programmes which can attend to the widening gender gaps.

  • This is evident from the attention given by the World Economic Forum by introducing the Global Gender Gap Index for the first time in 2006 as a framework for capturing the magnitude of gender-based disparities and tracking their progress.

  • ‘The index benchmarks national gender gaps on economic, political, political, education and health criteria and provides country rankings that allow for effective comparisons across regions and income groups.


Importance of women

  • All development sectors like education, health, livelihood and agriculture, just to name some are inextricably linked to lives of women.

  • We have to recognise the contribution of women as an integral agent in the process of achieving the minimum standards in development.

  • A critical element in changing lives is the role information plays in critical and emergency situation as well as regular process of information sharing. This can be effectively achieved if digital platform are not just used for providing information, but assist through a network within women’s social and cultural context.

  • These ‘Glocal networks’ are more sustainable and require less capital intensive measures.


Educational opportunities

  • Though India has done well in terms of economic growth, the dividends of growth have not percolated to the lives of women to a large extent.

  • A similar situation is evident in the area of literacy which has been repeatedly shown that girls drop off the education radar because of s social and prejudicial cultural practices.

  • The change can be brought in by bringing women in mainstream by linking literacy and learning through digital platforms to fostering better informed citizenry.

  • A report by Mckinsey global institute says that bridging the gender gap could add $700 billion to India’s GDP by 2025.


Financial inclusion of women

  • Issues of diversity and inclusion are important elements of digital culture.

  • E-commerce has a transformational impact with opportunities emerging in areas such as made-to-order meals and handicrafts among others, which money could capitalise on.

  • But picture is dismal because women can contribute to only 17% of India’s GDP, below the global average, despite accounting for 50% of the population and having potential to represent such a larger part of the workforce.

  • Financial inclusion of women can be accelerated by digital literacy and ability of banks to become more proactive in setting digitised operational norms for a transparent, effective and timely response system in the marginal settings as well. Within a digitised ecosystem, financial inclusion for women can have multiplier impact on their entrepreneurship economic growth and wealth creation.

  • Access to information is critical to women’s lives and lack of it causes impediments and confines them to a static instead of dynamic life.



  • The reason why fewer women access and use digital media is a direct result of their unfavourable conditions with respect to employment, education and income.

  • Therefore, women have and use less digital media not because they are women per se, but because social practice provides them with less employment, less education and less income, which again leads to less digital media access and usage.

  • Women see themselves as primary custodian of ‘family and health’. They need information critical to their health and their family for sustainable life. They have a seminal role to play in sustaining family values and traditions. These issues have been overlooked largely and women have been treated as recipients of developments and technological changes.

  • The know-how and the skills women possess have been marginalised with the advent of the new knowledge. Digital devices can blend these two aspects in a way that can allow women to emerge more confident and have an ability to form new networks of business or of mutual benefit, socially and economically.

  • Women have the tendency to form informal networks to facilitate challenges that they face and mobiles provide a berth and an opportunity to enlarge the circle of these network.

  • This process of sharing of information among themselves does get compromised if it is not based on legitimate sources and verifiable point of access.


7.2. Digital Rural Revolution- Rethinking Education

  • The process of imparting education has gone through a sea change if looked into last two decades. The life has become technology driven and the onset of online courses came as a path-breaker.

  • Digital learning has seeped into the system considerably and has far-reaching impact towards educating the vast population of India.

  • However the stagnant state of rural education has been a major point of concern for educational policy-makers in India.

  • 67% of India’s population belongs to rural areas.

  • The ration of rural-urban enrolment of students is a massive 7:5.

  • Despite such high rate of enrolment, nearly 60% of students in rural India upto age 10 do not possess basic reading skills nor can they solve simple mathematical problems.

  • The main reason behind poor quality of rural education are dismal standards of rural education, infrastructural inequities, lack of connectivity and unavailability of teachers.

  • Considering such limitations, government in December 2015 expanded its digital India programme, launching new initiatives and broadening the scope of existing ones, to make more services accessible to the masses.

  • e-Kranti- a pillar of digital India programme under which immense emphasis has been given to digitising rural India through e-technology, especially in the domain of education.

  • Some of these programmes are:



  • Framework to make school books accessible in digital form as e-books to be read and used on tablets and laptops.

  • Students can easily access interactive and dynamic content augmented with text, charts, graphic etc.

  • Teachers can choose and bundle content accroding to their teaching methods.


National Digital Literacy Mission

  • To build education and capacity programmes that will help rural communities to take lead in the global digital economy.

  • For this, National Optical Fibre Netwrok has been laid to enable digital inclusion across all villages in the country



  • To make 6 crore household digitally literate

  • Empowering citizens by providing access to information, knowledge and skills for operating computers/digital access devices.

  • Expected to be world's largest digital literacy programmes


Digital Classroom

  • Central government has collaborated with various telecom service providers such as Google and Facebook to empower geographically-remote areas of India with basic infrastructural set-ups for internet services.

  • The digital classroom refers to the classroom where student learning and interaction with the instructor and peers are fully supported throguh strategic use of ICT.



  • Study Webs of Active-Learning for Young Aspiring Minds

  • Focus on developing MOOC to help rural students pursue any course of their choice from institutions all over country and abroad.


Biometric Teachers' Attendance

  • To address teahcers' absenteeism, biometric attendance of all teachers in primary school is to be recorded for arrival and departures.

  • This will help in strengthening student's presence due to less teacher absentism

  • Digital learning is slowly but definitely becoming the direction everyone is stepping towards where hybrid, collaborative and online learning processes are changing education.

  • ‘live and interactive’ digital learning empowers the learner to receive par excellence, quality education anytime and anywhere. The social media is also now used as a learning tool.

  • Thus, digital education is breaking the numerous barriers that are preventing students in rural India from receiving quality education in physically bound classroom. With digital India programme’s vision to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy, the education sector is poised to witness major growth in coming years.

8. Rural Health It Initiatives

SS National Health Portal (NHP):

  • Functioning as citizen portal for health related information in different languages (currently six languages). Voice portal, providing information through a toll-free number 1800-180-1104 and; Mobile App launched.


8.1.Online registration system (ors):

  • Framework to link hospitals for online registration, payment of fees, appointment, online diagnostic reports etc. Around 7 lakh appointments transacted. Around 71 Hospitals on board.

  • AIIMS (New Delhi, Jodhpur, Bihar, Rishikesh, Bhubaneswar, Raipur, Bhopal). RML Hospital.

  • Safdarjung Hospital.


Electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network (Evin)

  • Indigenously developed technology system that provides real-time information on vaccine

  • stocks and flows, and storage temperatures across all cold chain points through a smart phone

  • application. Through maintenance of the right temperature, it helps to ensure the quality and efficacy of the vaccines. Implemented across 12 states


8.2. Mera aspataal’ (my hospital) application:

  • Collects information on patients’ level of satisfaction through SMS, Outbound Dialing (OBD),

  • Web Portal, and Mobile Application.Contacts the patient to collect information on their level of satisfaction.Under Phase I, around 141 hospitals covered.


Mobile academy:

  • Free audio training course to improve the knowledge base and

  • communication skills of ASHAs.More than 75,000 ASHAs have started the Mobile Academy course.Approximately 84 per cent have completed the cours: Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand.


8.3. Mother And Child Tracking System (Mcts)/Reproductive Child Health (Rch)


  • Individual-based tracking system across all the States & UTs.

  • Objective: Improve IMR, MMR & morbidity.

  • Aim: Facilitate timely delivery of antenatal and postnatal care services and immunization to children.

  • Approximately, 12.08 crore pregnant women and 10.56 crore children registered.



  • Tracks individuals for treatment-adherence of TB. Missed call facility with Toll Free No: 1800-11-6666 started to reach TB patients for counseling

  • and treatment support.Implemented across all states.More than 70 lakh patients been notified till date.

  • Tobacco Cessation Programme :

  • Initiative for counseling and helping people to quit tobacco by giving a missed call to

  • 011-22901701.Currently, over 20 lakh total missed calls have been captured and more than 14 lakhs users registered.

  • mDiabetes Program :

  • Initiative for prevention and care of diabetes by giving a missed call to 011-22901701. Currently, more than 1 lakh users are registered for mDiabetes.

  • eAushidhi:

  • Deals with purchase, inventory management and distribution of drugs, sutures and surgical items to :District Drug Warehouses of States/UT.District Hospitals (DH), their sub stores at CHC,PHC etc.

  • eRakt Kosh:

  • Being rolled out for all the licensed blood banks in public and private

  • health facilities in States/UTs. Piloted in blood banks of Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal and IRCS Delhi



  • Various mobile apps have been launched namely:Indradhanush Immunisation: Immunisation tracker: India Fights Dengue : Enables a user to check Dengue Symptoms, get nearest Hospitals/Blood bank information.

  • NHP Directory Services: Provides information related to Hospital and Blood banks across India.

  • NHP Swasth Bharat: Information dissemination on Disease, Lifestyle, First Aid. No More Tension Mobile App: On stress management related aspects.

  • Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan Mobile

  • App: Reporting pregnancy care related information from across states.



  • Tele-Medicine Nodes at Pilgrim places: Satellite communication based telemedicine nodes at various unreachable geographical locations including Chardhams and other important pilgrimage centres (Amarnath, Ayappa and Kedarnath) for health awareness, screening of non communicate disease (NCD) and for providing specialty consultation to the devotees visiting these places.


National medical college network (nmcn):

  • Satellite communication based telemedicine nodes at various unreachable geographical locations including Chardhams and other important pilgrimage centres (Amarnath, Ayappa and

  • Kedarnath) for health awareness, screening of non-communicable disease (NCD) and for providing specialty consultation to the devotees visiting these places



  • A modality via which doctors can testify in the judicial process utilizing the video conferencing facility without visiting the courts in person. Services operational in PGIMER, Chandigarh since March 2014. Till Feb 2015, more than 500 Tele-Evidences have been successfully conducted and around 128000Kms, 3900Hrs and INR 52 Lacs was saved. MoHFW has decided to rollout this service in every State/UT.


National Telemedicine Network (NTN):

  • Providing Telemedicine Services to the remote areas by upgrading existing Government Healthcare Facilities (MC,DH,SDH,PHC, and CHC) in States. In the current financial year, 7 States/UTs have been provided financial assistance for providing Tele-Medicine services by established NTN.

Kurukshetra August 2017

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