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1. Introduction

  • The digital revolution is redefining the pace of progress opening countless avenues to transform society, culture and lifestyles. Digitisation as a phenomenon made its onset long ago. But the pace was so gradual and the changes involved so subtle, that it went almost unnoticed.  Over the last few years the digital revolution has opened a whole new vista of opportunities reshaping the scope of development. From the internet to artificial intelligence and robotics, emerging technologies have presented unprecedented opportunities for social and economic renovation. India, the fastest growing economy in the world, has undergone complete transformation with rapid uptake of digital technologies.

  • In the 21st Century, Digital Economy has emerged as a key driver for global economic growth and will also effectively address common global challenges including energy, environment and inequality. Digital technologies offer new opportunities for business, workers and citizens to engage in economic activity and to enhance efficiency.

  • India’s digital story is one of digital empowerment and digital inclusion for digital transformation based on technology that is affordable, inclusive and equitable. The Digital India Programme is generating pathways to a future powered by technology and achieving a high growth of our Digital Economy to reach a level of trillion Dollars by 2025.


2. Towards An Inclusive and Empowered Nation

  • Digital India is a visionary initiative of the Prime Minister to transform India by leveraging the power of information technology. It is aimed to empower the poor and the underprivileged by using technology that is affordable, development and inclusive.


Growth of IT industry in India can be divided into three phases:

  • Phase-I: Indian IT professionals and IT companies travelled to different parts of the world and established their presence.

  • Phase-II: Global IT giants started investing in India and tapped its vast domestic market.

  • Phase-III: This the current phase where India is witnessing great growth in innovation and entrepreneurship led by Start-ups which are mostly founded by young Indians. India has emerged as the third largest Start-up ecosystem in the world.


2.1. Digital Identity:

  • Digital Identity is the key to unlock access and potential of the Digital India Programme. To provide a unique digital identity, Aadhaar has covered around 122 crore residents of the country.

  • It has provided a digital identity to supplement the physical identity of individuals for delivery of various social welfare programmes and enabled portability.

  • It has curbed leakages and corrupt practices from the public welfare delivery mechanism.

  • Today financial entitlements under government services are being delivered using Aadhaar based Direct Benefit Transfer.

  • The Supreme Court, in its historic judgment on Aadhaar, has not only upheld the Constitutional validity of Aadhaar but also described it as a tool for empowerment of poor people.


2.2. Digital Infrastructure:

  • Building robust digital infrastructure is essential for the success of Digital India.


Bharat Net

  • Bharat Net aims to provide high speed internet in rural areas of India by building optical fibre network connecting all the 2.50 lakh Gram Panchayats of India.


National Knowledge Network

  • National Knowledge Network (NKN) is a state-of-the art network to promote collaboration and exchange of knowledge among educational and research institutions.

  • Some of the NKN enabled applications are: Virtual Class Rooms, Collaborative research groups over NKN (closed user groups), NDL, NPTEL, various Grids (like Cancer Grid, Brain Grid, Climate Change Grid) etc.


GI Cloud (Meghraj)

  • In Order to utilize and harness the benefits of Cloud Computing, this initiative aims to accelerate delivery of e-services in the country while optimizing ICT spending of the Government.

  • This has ensured optimum utilization of the infrastructure and speed up the development and deployment of eGov application.



  • eSign Electronic Signature Service is an innovative initiative for allowing easy, efficient, and secure signing of electronic documents by authenticating signer using e-KYC services.

  • Some applications enhancing services delivery are Digital Locker, e-filing Financial Sector, account opening in banks and post office, driving licence renewal, vehicle registration, certificates for birth, caste, marriage, income certificate etc.


Digital India for Better Governance:

JAM (Jan Dhan-Aadhaar-Mobile) Trinity for Direct Benefit Transfers (DBT):

  • is helping the poor receive the benefits directly into their bank accounts. This has not only enhanced efficiency of service delivery mechanism but also eliminated leakages and curbed corruption.


Digital Payments:

  • Today, BHIM-UPI (Unified Payment Interface) platform and RuPay debit cards have become very popular digital payment instruments for sending collecting the money and for payments at merchant outlets BHIM-UPI is unique mobile based payment innovation of India that is being appreciated world over.



  • has put the power of governance in the hands of common people. It is a single mobile app that offers more than 307 government services. The target is to provide more than 1200 digital services on a single mobile app.


Digital Delivery of Services:

  • Some of these popular digital services are:

  • National Scholarship Portal: has become a one stop shop for all the scholarship needs of students.

  • Jeevan Pramaan: for ease for verification of pensioners using Aadhaar digital identity eHospital and Online registration services: aim to ensure that patients can get easy access to doctors

  • Soil Health Card: National Soil Health Card scheme was launched in 2015 to provide information on soil health digitally

  • eNAM: Electronic National Agriculture Market (eNAM) is a pan-India electronic trading portal which networks the existing Agricultural (APMC) Mandis to create a unified national market for agricultural commodities.

  • eVisa: Service of e-Visa involves complete online application for which no facilitation is required by any intermediary/agents etc.

  • eCourts: with eCourts mobile app and portal it has become easy to keep a track of case status of cases going on in different courts across India. Lawyers and Litigants can also avail notification services about their cases.

  • National Judicial Data Grid: This is a comprehensive data base of 9.16 crore court cases and court judgments that has been integrated with the eCourts. It provides information on cases pending, cases disposed and cases filed in both High Court and District Court complexes in the areas of civil and criminal cases.

  • GeM: Government eMarketplace (GeM) is a transparent online market place for government procurements. This has not only brought transparency in Government procurements but also created opportunities for micro, small and medium enterprises to sell their products to Government departments and PSUs.


Digital India for Employment, Entrepreneurship & Empowerment:

  • Digital Service delivery near door-step (Common Services Centres):

  • A vast network of more than 3.06 lakh of digital services delivery centres, has been created to provide access to digital services especially in rural areas at an affordable cost.

  • These centres have also led to empowerment of marginalized sections of the society by creating jobs for 12 lakh people and by promoting rural entrepreneurs, out of which are women.

  • CSCs have also undertaken the Stree Swabhiman initiative to create awareness about menstrual health and hygiene among rural women. Under this initiative, more than 300 micro sanitary pad manufacturing units have been opened in rural areas. These units have not only provided livelihood opportunity to rural women but have also made low cost sanitary pads locally available.


Digital Literacy for the Masses:

  • In line with the objective to make one person e-literate in every household in the country, two schemes were launched viz. NDLM and DISHA, wherein people were trained and certified in Digital Literacy.

  • In line with the earlier schemes, Government has approved a new scheme “Pradhan Mantri Gramin Digital Saksharta Abhiyan (PMGDISHA)” to usher in digital literacy in rural India. This is the largest digital literacy mission of the world.


BPO Promotion in Small Towns:

  • To create employment opportunities for local youth and secure balanced regional growth of Information Technology and IT Enabled Services (IT/ITES) Sector in each State, India BPO Promotion Scheme and North East BPO Promotion Scheme have been launched under Digital India Programme.


2.3. Digital India for Make in India:

Promotion of Electronics Manufacturing:

  • Government of India has undertaken various initiatives to promote electronics manufacturing in India, with the target to reduce imports.

  • The Phased Manufacturing Programme for mobile phones was launched with the goal of widening and deepening the mobile handsets and components manufacturing ecosystem in India.


Initiatives in Emerging Technologies:

  • Centres of Excellence (CoE) are being set up in the areas of Internet of Things (IoT), Internal Security, Large Area Flexible Electronics, Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), Tactile Graphics for Visually Impaired, Agriculture and Environment, ESDM Fintech, Language Technology, Automotive Electronics, Virtual Augmented Reality, Medical Tech and Health Informatics, Block Chain, Gaming and Animation, and Biometrics.


Cyber Security

  • To create an inclusive, safe and secure cyber space for sustainable development, the Cyber Swachhta Kendra (Botnet Clearing and malware analysis centre) has been set up to provide alerts to users for preventing losses of financial and other data.

  • The centre is providing facility to clean botnets in real time.

  • National Cyber Co-ordination Centre has been made operational in 2017.


Way Forward:

  • India is today among the top three global economies of digital consumers. Concerted efforts to facilitate and promote process of digitalization including upgrading digital infrastructure, augmenting capacity to develop standards and testing for conformity assessment, promoting electronics manufacturing with appropriate incentives, developing capacity to harness emerging technologies and strengthening cyber security as more services, including digital payments, permeate the economy has the potential to create a trillion-dollar digital economy by 2025.



  • PM Launches historic Support and Outreach Initiative for MSME Sector

  • As part of this programme, the Prime Minister unveiled 12 key initiatives which will help the growth, expansion and facilitation of MSMEs across the country


Access to Credit:

  • Launch of the 59 Minute loan portal to enable easy access to credit for MSMEs.

  • 2% interest subvention for all GST registered MSMEs on fresh or incremental loans.

  • All companies with a turnover of more than Rs 500 crore, must now compulsorily be brought on the Trade Receivables e-Discounting System (TReDS) Joining this portal will enable entrepreneurs to access credit from banks, based on their upcoming receivables resolving problems of cash cycle.


Access to Markets:

  • Public Sector companies asked to compulsorily procure 25 percent, instead of 20 percent of their total purchases, from MSME.

  • Out of the 25% procurement mandated from MSMEs, 3% must now be reserved for women entrepreneurs.

  • All public sector undertakings of the Union Government must now compulsorily be a part of GeM.


Technology Upgradation:

  • 20 hubs will be formed across the country, and 100 spokes in the form of tool rooms to be established.


Ease of Doing Business:

  • Clusters to be formed of pharma MSMes – 70% cost of establishing these clusters will be borne by the Union Government.

  • The return under 8 labour laws and 10 Union regulations must now be filled only once a year.

  • Establishments to be visited by an Inspector will be decided through a computerised random allotment.

  • Under air pollution and water pollution laws, now both these have been merged as a single consent – the return will be accepted through self-certification.

  • Ordinance has been brought, under which, for minor violations under the companies Act, the entrepreneur will no longer have to approach the Courts, but can correct them through simple procedures.


Social Security for MSME Sector Employees:

  • A mission to be launched to ensure that they have Jan Dhan Accounts, provident fund and insurance


3. Towards a Digital Future

  • Early efforts at digitization in government were largely government focused: how to improve efficiency, record keeping and data storage and processing especially in number crunching departments like finance (treasuries), taxation (Commercial taxes, Income Tax, Excise), Statistics, etc. Substantial efforts and progress were seen in departments that dealt with large numbers of beneficiaries like rural development, PDS, etc. These efforts were largely spread over a couple of decades during 1976-1996 and almost entirely based on National Informatics Centre (NIC) support, barring a couple of state like Andhra Pradesh where NIC efforts were augmented by state technology organizations like APTS.



  • It was in 1997 that the first steps towards a citizen focused e-governance program were taken, initially in the state of Andhra Pradesh.

  • The next decade saw the emergence of several e-governance initiatives in diverse areas like land records, transportation, land registration, urban local bodies, PDS, etc. at the state level and Income Tax, Excise and MCA at the national level.

  • Towards the end of this period, State Wide Area Networks were created under a scheme funded by the Central Government

  • Some of these projects were implemented in a PPP mode, thereby drawing the country’s technology industry into the nation-wide effort and opening new approaches to rapid deployment of comprehensive e-governance solutions.

  • These sporadic, but highly visible initiatives were widely appreciated and hailed as truly path breaking changes in systems of governance in the country.

  • The foundation for a comprehensive National e-Governance plan had been laid through these efforts.

  • Approval of SWAN project and early discussion at the highest levels of Government on the contours of a National e-Governance Plan took place in 2003.

  • The efforts culminated in the approval of the National e-Governance Plan and the game-changing Common Services Centres project in 2006 by the Union Cabinet. Thereafter, steady progress was made across the country.

  • During 2004-2013, some of the more ambitious projects like UID, Passport Seva, MCA-21 were initiated.

  • Developments in the telecom sector unfolded at a staggering, globally unprecedented pace.

  • Telecom subscribers increased exponentially, broadband coverage was expanding and National Optical Fibre Network (Later named as Bharat Broadband) was launched.

  • Smartphone coverage grew rapidly as did social media usage.


Potential of Digital Economy:

  • The Aadhaar project was taken to its logical conclusion by a vigorous drive, the JAM program benefitting people from financial inclusion through bank accounts and direct benefits transfer (DBT).

  • Linkage of mobile telephone and bank accounts with Aadhaar (recently barred by the Supreme Court) gave Government and business the ability to deal with a vast population individually and without leakage caused by non-value adding intermediaries

  • The CSC program has expanded to 2,50,000 panchayats and now provides employment to nearly a million people in the rural heartland.

  • Global developments in technology have led to the emergence and use at scale of enormously powerful, highly affordable, almost infinitely scalable disruptive technologies like Social Media, Mobile, (Data) Analytics, Cloud, Artificial Intelligence, IoT, 3-D printing, etc.

  • The India IT industry had also grown from strength to strength and had become a 150 billion dollar behemoth that was globally respected and often, envied.


Digital Services Delivery:

  • Global Products like IBM Watson already provide a range of medical services across countries including treatment recommendations based on patients’ records. But within India, well known products in healthcare such as Practo, Portea, Lybrate, etc. are connecting doctors and medical professionals to patients in ways that make it easy to reach the right person from the comfort of your home.

  • Apps like BYJU’S are making high quality educational content and services easily accessible at highly affordable costs.

  • Similar established products albeit in smaller numbers exist in the agriculture sector too.

  • There are more new exciting efforts in the pipeline in social sectors like healthcare, agriculture, fintech/financial inclusion that hold the promise of scripting India’s future riding on the back of and reinforcing the Digital India program.



  • Medicea Technology Solutions is building a tech driven pharmaceutical distribution business with next generation anti-counterfeit technology using private block chain.

  • Artoo has built an intelligent lending system specifically designed for Micro Enterprise lending.

  • Dheeyantra has built a product that enables vernacular interactions and engagement with end customers using AI and NLP.

  • Inform DS Technologies has built Doxper, an AI powered product that enables doctors to instantly digitize prescriptions and clinical notes using a digital pen and encoded paper.

  • Krishi Hub is a free AI-powered mobile app that enables farmers to make data-driven decisions and supports 8 local languages and is currently being used across 17 states.

  • Deep Mind mines through medical records, analyses digital scans of the eye to diagnose eye disease.

  • AI and Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) are transforming health care. Similar transformation in the agriculture sector through technology interventions that enable precisions farming, early warning of pest attack in cotton farming for example, are available through AI-powered systems to lower risks and costs while increasing productivity. It is interventions like these and hundreds of other such innovations that are going to help deliver desired outcomes like doubling farmers’ incomes, health coverage for the poor through Ayushman Bharat and similar programs.

  • Challenges:

  • It needs to be recognized that these exciting trends should not be taken to mean that progress is assured. Regulatory facilitation and debottlenecking by Government are critical across sectors for rapid progress necessary for full realization of the potential Examples abound.


Business Challenges:

  • These could be the Pacing problem i.e a slow pace of regulations may become irrelevant very soon while a regulation released early may discourage innovation. Another issue that is of importance is the disruptive business models wherein the new businesses may require intervention/regulation by multiple regulators.


Technological Challenges:

  • Issues related to Data, Digital Privacy and Security, Data Ownership AI-based challenges etc. One of the major challenges in the telecom sector today is to simultaneously regulate the legacy as well as the new digital networks.


Other Challenges:

  • Map Policy of the country was an impediment to growth of location-based services.

  • Lack of a drone policy hindered the use of drones and growth of a drone services eco-system in the country.

  • Even as laws and regulations on data privacy are formulated, there needs to be a balance to ensure that innovation is not stifled by unduly restrictive regulation.

  • The recent Supreme Court Judgement on Aadhaar appears to bar use of Aadhaar by the private sector even with the consent of a citizen, thereby constricting opportunities for innovative, convenient services in many areas.

  • Conservative regulations in healthcare that disallow remote treatment by doctors are retarding the growth of commercial eco-systems in this field.


Way forward:

  • India is well on its way to becoming a fountainhead of frugal innovation for the globe by creating services in various areas, but more importantly in the social sector, by leveraging new, disruptive technologies. The new era requires speed in thought, in action, in governance and regulatory changes. While all of these developments are hugely encouraging and give rise to well-founded optimism about the future of India’s digital economy (IT), the path is not easy.

  • Availability, power and affordability of technology are no longer the limitation. It is our imagination and our ability to assimilate them into the ordinary tasks of everyday life, normal business and governance. Equally, it is well-recognized that the power of technologies has grown at a pace far exceeding our ability to leverage them in key social sectors. There are many, many more examples of policy and regulation which needs to be tweaked to enable and not retard Digital India.



  • India Surges 23 Ranks in Ease of Doing Business with Port-led Development under Sagarmala:

  • As per the World Bank report 2019 on Ease of Doing Business, India has taken a huge leap of 23 ranks from 100 in 2017-18 to 77 in 2018-19 indicating it is continuing its steady shift towards global standards.

  • One of the key indices which has contributed immensely toward this growth is ‘Trading across borders’ which shows an impressive improvement from 146 rank last year to 80th rank this year.

  • The Ministry of Shipping has been taking initiatives to improve the parameter of ‘Trading across border’ as 92% of India’s Export-Import trade by volume is handled at ports.

  • The report mentions that this is mainly due to India’s continued reform agenda, which has made it the top-ranked economy in the region.

  • Upgradation of port infrastructure, improvement of processes, and digitization of document submission has substantially reduced Export/Import cargo handling time at ports which has significantly contributed towards improving the trading across border parameter and India’s impressive growth in the World Bank’s report.

  • The World Bank has recognized India as one of the top improvers for the year.


4. Regulating the Digital Revolution

  • The Digital Revolution is often called as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the first three being the Steam Engine, followed by the age of Science and Mass production, and computers. World over, the Digital Revolution is driving the socio-economic and technological growth of the human race. The revolution is driven by various factors like the availability of high-speed Internet, innovative products and services, the need for efficient management and distribution of resources both by the Government as well as private entities, the user’s ubiquitous requirements of remaining connected at all times etc.  The entire gamut of Digital Transformation is to provide innovative products and services to improve productivity and efficiently.


4.1. The role of regulator:

  • Telecom Sector would be the key growth engine driving the Digital Revolution.  A major portion of the applications and services that are being developed are based on the mobile connectivity, hence the role of Telecom Service providers as well as the Regulator becomes more and more challenging. The Regulators have the onerous responsibility of maintaining a balance between encouraging innovation, protecting, consumers, creating an environment for orderly growth of industry as well as address unintended consequences of disruptions. The Regulator today can no longer afford to be lagging in the technology development curve.


4.2. Regulations:

  • As new business models and services emerge, government agencies are expected to create or modify regulations, enforce them and communicate the same of the environment at faster pace. Based on the emerging technologies, a Regulator therefore may have to consider the following approaches while formulating the regulations today:

  • Regulations should be Adaptive: A rigid Regulatory framework may prove to be detrimental to innovation as well as the growth of industry. Use of Regulatory Sand-boxes Impact assessment of regulation on the technologies may be studied before issuing the Regulations.

  • Collaborative Regulations: As brought out earlier, services and products today may require regulation by multiple Regulatory bodies; hence a collaborative Regulatory approach would have to be adopted.


Steps taken by TRAI:

  • TRAI has taken considerable steps in the past five years, recommendations have been issued to the Government on cloud computing, M2M communication, Net Neutrality, National Wi-Fi Grid using WANI architecture, and ‘Privacy, Security, and Ownership of Data in Telecom Sector.

  • In order to protect the consumers interests TRAI has launched various apps like

  • MySpeed app for data speed measurement

  • Mycall app to report voice call quality

  • Do Not Disturb App for Crowdsourcing of data about offending messages and calls.

  • Recently, TRAI has launched an online portal for presenting and comparing the tariffs offered by various service providers for telecommunication services.

  • In the field of broadcasting and cable service also, TRAI has completely revamped the regulatory framework. The new framework would ensure effective choice to the consumers at affordable process


Way forward:

  • New sets of regulations and frameworks that facilitate seamless co-existence as well as smooth migration need to be framed.

  • Though a large number of initiatives have been undertaken both by the Government as well as the private sector, a large population remains devoid of connectivity to the internet. Spreading awareness as well as connecting every individual are keys to the socio-economic metamorphosis of our country.



  • The Telecom Sector is witnessing the biggest transformation in the past several decades. New technologies and services based on mobile connectivity, social media, data-analytics, cloud computing etc are being designed today. These technologies and services have blurred geographical boundaries, created exciting business models, created job opportunities, empowered the citizens and attracted world telecom leaders to India. TRAI has a very important role today in not only regulating the Digital revolution in the telecom sector but also be a front-runner in adaptively regulating emerging technologies.


5. Secure Digital India

  • As India heads towards becoming a trillion dollar digital economy, it becomes imperative to take a look at the different dimensions which have been spawned by digitization, their implications for the country and its citizens, the associated concerns that emanate from the phenomenon and most importantly, the efforts that are essential to making the ecosystem safe and secure. The transformation from the physical to digital is conspicuous in several realms. Be it the way we interface with each other or the way public services get administered or how financial transactions get effected, digital seems to be the way to go for government, business and the general public. India and its citizens are now truly plugged into the global ‘Digital Village’, and actually shaping the contours of democratization of technology and harnessing digital for Inclusion.


Key indicators of digitalization:

  • Internet penetration

  • Availability of smart phones

  • Government services online

  • Relatively new addition to this list – number of devices that are getting connected with the Internet,

  • All these are on the upward curve and clearly demonstrate and reinforce India’ growing Digital foot print. India also boasts of a robust Central Identity System that is facilitating inclusion, targeted public services delivery and platform that is supporting both G2C and B2C services.

  • Smart cities, once created successfully, will be digitization in true sense as they will not only optimize utilization of resources but also step up the standard of living of its citizens.

  • Digitization has also to do with paving the way for automation and creation of next generation factories, industries, supply chains, products and services.


Industry 4.0:

  • Industry 4.0 which essentially means cyber physical transformation of manufacturing ushers in a new age of connected things, smart manufacturing and tailored products and services.

  • Through its use of smart, autonomous technologies, Industry 4.0 strives to converge the digital world with physical to drive smart factories and enable advanced manufacturing.

  • Organizations are also pro-actively leveraging Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning & Deep Learning (under the bigger umbrella of Cognitive Computing) to disrupt the way the business are run and solutions are developed to meet the expectations of consumers.

  • The limitless potential of algorithms is being realized by the mega corporates and also by the vibrant start-up ecosystem.


Changing Paradigm of Cyber Security:

  • The demands from the digitization ecosystem are ever increasing. With it, the strategy to secure cyber space continues to evolve rapidly and propelling innovation in the realm of cyber security capability development.

  • The indicative list of next generation cyber security strategy elements are as follows:

  • Security of Recognition Technologies

  • Extended Perimeter Security with a focus on supply chain

  • Context Aware Security

  • The Shift from Detection to Response

  • Protecting Machines

  • Providing Resiliency to e-Infra

  • Converging Security Disciplines.

  • In the age of digitization, organizations are focussing on building resilient systems which can with-stand attacks and replace disaster recovery as a concept.

  • Organizations are buildings skills and capabilities in the age of digitization for threat hunting operations.

  • National Security Agencies are building deep capabilities towards a more holistic threat intelligence, mitigation, and deterrence.


Concerns of Digital Space:

  • The path to digitization engenders the cyber security risk. Never before encountered and unanticipated threat scenarios are emerging and confronting the Industry today and taking a toll in the form of business risks, reputational damage, disruption of services and potentially public safety hazards.  It is not just the BFSI (Banking & Financial Services industry) and the CII (Critical information Infrastructure) sectors that are bearing the brunt. Across the board industry sectors are encountering these vicious cyber-attacks.

  • Cyber space is now the fifth domain of warfare.

  • The World Economic Forum 2018 Risk report called out Cyber Risk as one of the top three risks along with environment disasters.

  • Unique characteristics of the cyber space, namely offence dominance, difficulty in attribution of attacks, development of cyber weapons by states and the use of non-state actors to camouflage their actions are making cyberspace more and more vulnerable.

  • Tracking cyber criminals and bringing them to justice is increasingly difficult owing to challenges in collection of evidence, applicability of laws, jurisdiction issues, and ineffective international frameworks to address cyber-crimes.

  • Cyber security preparedness needs to be enhanced by a more organised and well-coordinated action plan by Government Industry and end users. Government-Industry Partnership within India, and collaboration with Global Stakeholders is an imminent priority to address the Cyber Challenge.


Addressing Cyber Security Concerns:

1.Policy and regulatory response to drive sectors and entities to Cyber Security Preparedness

  • The Cyber Security Frameworks by RBI, IRDAI for Banking and Insurance Sectors, Cyber Security Framework for Smart Cities by MoHUA are steps in this direction.  But what is needed, is strong enforcement of these frameworks and similar focus in other sectors of Critical Infrastructure including Healthcare.


2.Coordination and collaboration for collective defence and quick response

  • There is a need for Sectoral CERTS (Computer Emergency Response Teams) and State Level CERTs to bolster the efforts of a national CERT

  • Cyber Security Preparedness in India including large enterprises, SMBs and PSUs needs to be stepped up

  • Micro and small enterprises are rapidly going online, and face a severe cyber risk. In Digital India, citizen is the centre of this digital momentum.

  • Digital Literacy and Cyber Security Awareness and adopting safe and secure practices online, and in their digital payment transactions is a key priority of India.

  • As India is going on the fast lane of harnessing emerging digital technologies to accelerate its economy, attention to and angle investments in cyber security, both from a Technology and Institutional, manpower capabilities, is now a national priority, probably as paramount as Military and para-Military forces.

  • Security by design and not treating Security as a bolt on feature and as a cost centre is the paradigm shift that we need to drive. This mind set change is needed in the entire ecosystem from developers, solution architects, business-large, medium, small and start-ups, academia, and government.

6. Transformative Impact of Digital India

  • India is among the top countries of the world that have effectively utilised technology and innovation to transform the governance outlook from government-centric to citizen-centric, where e-services are targeted towards creation of an environment of empowering citizens through participative governance, and engaging them in decision-making and formulation of government policies, programmes, regulations, etc.

  • The remarkable increase in digital adoption is evident in the improvement in India’s position in United Nation’s E-Government Index 2018 that highlights that India’s relative capabilities of utilising ICT for governance have improved relatively faster than the entire Asia region.

  • There have been significant improvements in UN-Online Service Index, where India has scored 0.95 in 2018.

  • There has been a consistent growth in e-participation index too, that has grown to 0.96 in 2018. The robust citizen engagement platform, ‘MyGov’, in true spirit of participative democracy, has been developed and implemented.

  • India is in a sharply accelerating “lift-off” phase of its digital journey. Having built a strong foundation of digital infrastructure and expanded digital access, India is now poised for the next phase of growth – the creation of tremendous economic value and the empowerment of millions of Indians as new digital applications permeate sector after sector.


6.1. Direct Benefit Transfer:

  • India has moved up the ladder of digital adoption with the multifold growth in digital payment transaction.

  • The advantage of Digital Payments is being well exploited through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) which has reassured the commitment of the Government towards the welfare of the people.

  • Now, DBT is using the digital payment technology to transfer the benefits/subsidies directly to the accounts of people. The transfer is instantaneous and the correct amount reaches the beneficiaries. Around 434 schemes are covered under DBT.


6.2. Digital Developing Service:

  • Digital India has changed the landscape of delivery of service and governance.


Services Centres (CSCs):

  • The Common Services Centres (CSCs) are ICT enabled rural enterprises in the country and provide plethora of services at the doorsteps of the citizens.

  • Over 300 services, ranging from Education, Health, Agriculture, Certificate related are being provided in around 3.07 lakh CSCs.

  • They have also become a major employer of rural youth through village level entrepreneurship leading towards an empowered and a digitally inclusive society, thus, bridging the digital divide.



  • DigiLocker has enabled people to store, share and verify their documents and certificates through cloud.


National Scholarship Portal:

  • National Scholarship Portal has become a source of facilitating education.

  • It is a one-stop solution that ensures students to access various services starting from student application, application receipt, processing, sanction and disbursal of various scholarships with ease.

  • It has comprehensive coverage of schemes and departments.


Online Registration System (ORS):

  • Online Registration System (ORS) and e-Hospital have facilitated Aadhaar based online registration and appointment for patients, reduced tiring queues in hospitals for appointments and enabled health information management system.


6.3. Digital Life Certificate:

  • Jeevan Pramaan, provides the ease to pensioners to generate their Digital Life Certificate at home, bank, CSC centre, government office etc, using Aadhaar biometric authentication.

  • Now, the physical presence of the pensioner at the government office is not needed for generation of her life certificate and availing the entitled services.



  • To sustain the people throughout their digital journey a Unified Mobile Application for New Age Governance (UMANG) has been launched. It has brought government services to the fingertips of the citizens of India.

  • It is a single mobile app that offers more than 307 government services, with the target being to provide more than 1200 digital services on a single mobile app.

  • It has reduced the drudgery of searching for relevant Government app for availing the services.


Government e-Marketplace (GeM):

  • To address the challenges in public procurements, Government e-Marketplace (GeM) was launched.

  • GeM provides an online marketplace for public procurement for both goods and services, eliminating physical meeting of Government Buyers and brought transparency.


Job Creation:

  • Indian startups are already developing to take advantage of the humungous potential created.

  • Mobile manufacturing has increased multi-fold.

  • BPOs have reached the small towns of the country. These are creating jobs in these small cities and bringing the benefits of IT industry to youth of small towns and cities.

  • Pradhan Mantri Gramin Saksharta Abhiyan (PMGDISHA) aims to make 6 crore people digitally literate.

  • The sustainability of the digital economy rests upon its resilience and security. The Cyber Swachhta Kendra has been set up to provide alerts to users for preventing losses of financial and other data. The centre is providing facility to clean botnets in real-time. This aims to create an inclusive, safe and secure cyber space for people.

  • With the proliferation of emerging technologies in mind, 20 Centres of Excellence (CoEs) are being planned in the areas of Fintech, IoT in Agriculture, Virtual reality, Blockchain, Medical Technology, Electronics Products, Nanoelectronics etc. This will provide an apt platform for research and innovation boosting the growth of startups.



‘Global IT Challenge for Youth with Disabilities 2018’

  • A three day event-the “Global IT Challenge for Youth with Disabilities, 2018” was organised by the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD), Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment in association with Rehabilitation International Korea and their associated partner LG Electronics from 9th to 11th November, 2018.

  • This year 96 youth with disabilities from 18 countries participated in the Challenge. The event comprised of 55 awards in various categories including awards for best volunteer and three awards namely, “Best, Excellent and Good” in individual and group events in each category i.e. visual, hearing, physical and developmental/intellectual disability.

  • The objective of the Global ICT Challenge for Youth with Disabilities is to leverage IT skills among youth with disabilities and also to spread awareness about the application of Information and Computer Technology (ICT) in enhancing the quality of life of persons with disabilities especially in Asia-Pacific region.


7. Aadhaar: The Digital Highway to New India

  • Aadhaar: A single initiative of the Government of India has brought a number of gems like unique identity, privacy, data protection, digital security, etc. on the national agenda.


The Debate:

  • Critics alleged that Aadhaar was unconstitutional for it purportedly, as per their claim, infringed on individual liberty, privacy personal autonomy, freedom of choice, etc.

  • They perceived government’s enhanced ability to directly connect reach, and sere people in a cost-effective, efficient and transparent manner, as an increase in the state’s power and, hence, criticized Aadhaar as an instrument of state surveillance.

  • While yet another section of critics perceived Aadhaar as a tool of denial and exclusion, some of the raised questions on the efficacy of Aadhaar technology and security of a central database.

  • The debate often reminded us of the Luddite movement in Europe in the 19th century when mechanisation was opposed due to fears of job loss.

  • It is useful to know how other developed democracies use unique identification number to cleans their system

  • USA introduced Social Security Number (SSN) through an enactment in 1935 for a limited purpose of providing social security benefits during the Great Depression in 1942;

  • President Franklin Roosevelt expanded the scope through a historic executive order which mandated all Federal agencies to exclusively use SSN in their programs.

  • In 1962, SSN was adopted as the official Tax Identification Number (TIN) for income tax purposes.

  • In 1976, the Social Security Act was further amended to say that any State may utilize, in the administration of any tax, general public assistance, driver’s license or motor vehicle registration law, the social security account numbers for the purpose of establishing the identification of individuals and may require any individual to furnish SSN.

  • The mandatory use of SSN by the State did not go unchallenged in the US courts which eventually held mandatory use of SSN to be constitutional.

  • In Doyle vs. Wilson, it was held that “mandatory disclosure of one’s social security number does not so threaten the sanctity of individual privacy as to require constitutional protection”.

  • In other cases, courts held that “requiring an SSN on a driver’s license application is not unconstitutional, nor is a requirement that welfare recipients furnish their SSNs” and “preventing fraud in federal welfare programs is an important goal, and the SSN requirement in a reasonable means of promoting that goal”.

  • In United Kingdom too, almost every important service requires a National Insurance Number (NIN). It is required from those who want to work, open bank accounts, pay taxes, want to receive child benefits, and even those who want to vote.


Upholding the Constitutional validity of Aadhar:

  • After six years of prolonged litigation the SC delivered its historic and landmark judgment which upheld Aadhaar as constitutional albeit with some stronger safeguards that would go a long way in accelerating India’s digital journey and strengthening India’s digital narrative to create greater digital trust, parity and confidence among people.

  • The Supreme Court decision in Aadhaar case would certainly take us together miles ahead on India’s digital voyage with augmented safety that is supported by stronger data protection measures to enhance digital trust of the people with hassle-free empowerment with the use of Aadhaar.

  • Upholding the constitutional validity of Aadhaar – the world’s largest unique biometric identity project of India that caters to one-sixth of the population on this planet, the Supreme Court has held that the architecture of Aadhaar neither creates a surveillance state nor infringes the fundamental right to privacy.

  • The Court said that Aadhaar identification is unparalleled and ensures empowerment and dignity of marginalized sections of the society. The Court also upheld that the Aadhaar Act meets the concept of the limited government, good governance and constitutional trust and its passing as a Money Bill is justified and legitimate.


Benefits of Aadhaar:

  • Aadhaar is the first and biggest public owned world’s largest biometric technology platform which being constitutionally valid, would now not only empower 122 crore people with biometric based unique identity but would also provide a nationwide infrastructure to establish voluntarily their identity online anywhere, anytime and enable them to receive their entitlements and exercise their rights.

  • Aadhaar makes it possible for the government to design special welfare programs and target them to deserving sections of the society. For example that benefit would not be siphoned away by non-deserving beneficiaries and thereby will help keep the insurance premium and expenses within the affordable limits.

  • Aadhaar is also emerging as a great enabler of alternate digital payment system for those who cannot use debit, credit card, internet banking, etc. Aadhaar enabled Payment System (AePS) deployed on a handheld device makes it possible for people to use their Aadhaar and fingerprint to with draw or

  • Aadhaar has proven to be a powerful, safe and secure digital platform to establish unflinching identity of a person created on three basic doctrines of minimal information, optimal ignorance and federated database and is free from the traits of caste, colour, creed, race, profiling etc

  • Mandatory use of Aadhaar in welfare schemes or subsidy or benefits delivery where fund flows from the Consolidated Fund of India is well-founded and has spread a responsibility on the agencies involved in the implementation of schemes to ensure that no deserving beneficiary denied of any benefit or service for lack of Aadhaar or due to any technical glitches.

  • Aadhaar ensures that the benefits reach directly to the deserving beneficiaries in a hassle-free manner. Aadhaar is helping eliminate middlemen ghosts, fakes, and duplicates in schemes like PDS, MGNREGS, PAHAL, Scholarships, etc., which has already led to savings of over Rs 90,000 crore during the last three years According to an estimate of the World Bank, if Aadhaar is used across all welfare schemes, it will help save Government about US $11 billion every year.

  • Government is using Aadhaar to create a tax compliant society by weeding out fake and duplicate PAN cards, shell companies, and curb tax evasion, money laundering, fraudulent, corrupt and dubious activities.

  • Aadhar has been seeded with several databases like Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG), Public Distribution System (PDS), National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP) etc. to enable correct identification of the beneficiary and ensure that the benefits reach the beneficiary promptly and directly.

  • Thereby, Aadhaar has direct value in creation of digital infrastructure through which social and financial inclusion is ensured.

  • Also, Aadhaar has helped flood victims of Tamil Nadu who were stranded in relief camps to withdraw money from their bank accounts without any documents or withdrawal slips being filled just by their Aadhaar and fingerprint through AePS enabled micro-ATMS.

Yojana December 2018

8. Electronic Manufacturing: Scope and Future in India

  • Electronics Industry is one of the largest and fastest growing industries in the world. It is finding increasing applications in almost all sectors of the economy. The demand for electronics hardware products has been growing at a rapid pace in India which is driven majorly due to increase in demand for mobile handsets and smart phones amongst other consumer electronics, IT hardware products etc. While majority of the domestic market requirements related to electronics products are met through imported goods majorly sourced from China, however, manufacturing activity related to mobile handsets and its components eco-system has been growing at a rapid pace during the past 3-4 years. Needless to mention, the Government of India attaches high priority to promote electronics manufacturing in the country under the “Make in India” and “Digital India” flagship programs.

  • Mobile handset and its components manufacturing eco-system is undoubtedly considered to be the Champion product category under the “Make in India” flagship program of the Government.

  • During 2017-18 India has overtaken Vietnam to become the 2nd largest mobile handset production geography after China. Production of handsets has since been growing at a rapid pace year-on-year and there has been a corresponding reduction of imported handsets.

  • Indigenization of components related to mobile handsets has also gained momentum after the Government of India notified and started implementing the Phased Manufacturing Program (PMP) in various phases.

  • The aims and objectives behind implementation of the PMP are to widen and deepen the components manufacturing eco-system in the country with a major focus to enhance value addition and generate significant employment.


8.1. Policy interventions by the Government:

  • Some of the stalwart policy interventions undertaken by the Government of India during the past 3-4 years under the “Make in India” initiative to encourage and promote electronics manufacturing eco-system in India with a major focus on mobile handset and its components eco-system are as per the following –

  • Robust differential duty structure which was made applicable on mobile handsets vide Budget 2015 encouraging domestic manufacture of handsets visa – vis imports of handsets.

  • Notifying and subsequent phased implementation of the Phased Manufacturing.

  • Program (PMP) to encourage indigenisation of components of handsets.

  • Draft National Policy on Electronics 2018 currently under consultation process.

  • Effective outreach initiatives jointly undertaken by Government of India (MeitY, DIPP etc.) and major Industry Associations such as ICEA (India Cellular & Electronics Association) to important geographies such as China, Taiwan, Japan, USA, Korea, Germany etc.

  • Investment friendly policy framework adopted by various state Governments such as AP, Telangana, UP, Haryana etc.

  • Establishment of the Fast Track Task Force (FTTF) by the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) to “re-establish and catalyse significant growth in mobile handset and components manufacturing eco-system in India”.



  • It is imperative that promotion of electronics manufacturing eco-system must be given the highest thrust area and the Government must undertake all possible measures to help establish this sector on a prioritized manner. Considering the tremendous potential that this sector holds in terms of significant employment generation, ability to transform socio-economic identity of citizens, contributions in the upliftment of the economy, value addition, forex savings etc., all regulatory framework/incentivization policies to be adopted and implemented for future must be suitably calibrated to be export focussed.


9. Technology Areas for Indian Languages

  • In India, there is a large amount of content in English but not in Indian languages. Hence, there is a large unreserved need. The conditions are most conducive for the use and proliferation of language technology for Indian languages. There are a large number of users with digital devices (smart phones etc.), who wish to get information in their own languages as they do not know English.

  • Indian language technology can enable people to access material in their own languages, for example, material in English and other Indian languages can be translated automatically. Similarly, computers can read out information to the illiterate or the blind through text-to-speech systems, remote data can become accessible through telephonic speech interfaces, sophisticated search can be provided to the internet, digitally scanned books and other material can be made more accessible by using optical character readers.


9.1. Technology Areas :

  • Here are the Indian language technology areas and example tasks in each of them.

  • Localization

  • Availability of Indian language support on all electronic devices

  • Use of standards

  • Creating e-content in Indian languages

  • Creating by original writing

  • Creating through translation

  • Automatic machine translation

  • English to/from Indian languages (ILs)

  • Among Indian languages

  • Cross language access to content

  • Cross lingual search (information retrieval) across Indian languages as well as English

  • Speech processing

  • Text-to-speech (TTS) for ILs (e.g., machine reading out text in a language)

  • Speech –to-text (ASR) for ILs (e.g., interacting with computers through telephone)

  • Optical character recognition

  • Optical character recognition (OCR) for ILs (e.g., converting scanned images of pages to text)

  • Online handwriting recognition (OHWR) for ILs (e.g. stylus based input to mobile devices)



  • Localization in our context means that the electronic device is enabled with Indian languages using the standards.  Use of standards is most important. This ensures that the data created on one device is usable (displayable, editable, processable, etc.) on any other electronic device.


Creating e-Content in Indian Languages:

  • While e-content is not a replacement for books, the young generation has started placing increasing reliance on the content available over the internet. In India, where a large number of people know an Indian language but not English, it is even more important to create large amount of e-content in all Indian languages.

  • The example of Germany: It was observed in Germany, not so long ago (around the year 2000), that the German youth were accessing English language content much more than the German language content. It was realized that this situation had arisen because there was not sufficient content in German on the internet. Through a national effort, a large amount of German content was put on the internet, and the young generations switched back to German content.


Automatic Machine Translation (MT):

  • Automatic machine translation (MT) translates a given text in one language to another, instantly. While the quality of translation produced varies depending on the distance between the language pairs, and the technology used, it provides instant access to text in another language to the user. MT systems for Indian languages are available and produce good quality translation. They compare favourably with similar systems across European languages, for example. However, effort needs to be put in deploying them and making them available to users, both general users as well as publication houses. Deployment of systems for the language pairs which are ready, can take place within a year.


Cross Language Access to Content:

  • As the e-content in Indian languages increases, there would be an even greater need to search for and locate relevant content by the users on the internet. Here, it would be that the content is getting created for Indian languages, because large amount of content might not be available in all Indian languages initially. Technology is available for this task across half a dozen Indian Languages. However, indexing of content in the languages (crawling) needs to be done. More languages also need to be added.


Speech Processing:

  • There are two parts to this technology: Text-to-speech (TTS), and Speech-to-text (ASR) systems. The

  • former technology allows a computer to “read out” a given text file in an IL. The latter allows the computer to “listen” to the spoken language and convert it into a text file.


Optical Character Recognition (OCR):

  • There are two technology areas under this head: Optical character recognition (OCR), and Online hand writing recognition (OHWR). OCR takes a printed book and converts it into text form. When scanning of a book in hardcopy is done, the output is in the form of scanned images which cannot be used for search, machine translation, speech processing etc. OCR takes a scanned image of a page, recognizes the characters, and converts it into text form.


Way forward:

  • Several things need to be done. For example, the Indian language technology should immediately be deployed to translate all central government websites into 22 Indian languages. This will generate a demand which will help growth of an eco-system of academic institutions as researchers and technology developers, start-ups as technology maintainers and others who service the demand using MT technology.



  • The conditions are most conducive for the use and proliferation of language technology for Indian languages. There are a large number of users with digital devices (smart phones etc.), who wish to get information in their own languages as they do not know English. There is a large amount of content in English but not in Indian languages. Hence, there is a large unreserved need!



9.2. Digital Signature:

  • Digital Signature or eSign is an online electronic signature service. Is a part of the Government of India’s flagship programme- ‘Digital India’ which is aimed at transforming India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy. The objective of eSign service is to offer on-line service to citizens for instant signing of their documents securely in a legally acceptable form.


Benefits of e-Sign Service :

  • Secure online service eSign services are offered by trusted third party service provider, like Certifying Authorities (CA) licensed as per the IT Act under the Controller of Certifying Authorities (CCA). C-DAC plays the role of CA and has placed necessary security measures to ensure security of the whole signing process.


No Physical verification required

  • Unlike the case of traditional CA that requires verification process by a personal visit which causes inconvenience, eSign provides ease of service on-line based on Aadhaar based e-Authentication.


No need of Hardware tokens

  • eSign is an online service and with this, traditional hardware-tokens are not required anymore.


Multiple ways to authenticate

  • eSign service provides authentication based on multiple ways such as One-Time-Password (OTP, received through registered mobile in Aadhaar database) or Biometric (fingerprint or iris-scan). Presently enabled for OTP based authentication.


Privacy is preserved

  • eSign service ensure the privacy of the signer by just requiring the hash of the document instead of the complete document.

  • The IT Act also provides for the Controller of Certifying Authorities (CCA) to license and regulate the working of Certifying Authorities. The Certifying Authorities (CAS) issue digital signature certificates for electronic authentication of users.


10. Digital Library in India – A Paradigm Shift

  • Digital technology and internet connectivity lead the evolution of the traditional library to digital library. Ultimately, Digital technology, Internet connectivity and physical content can be dovetailed resulting in Digital Library. In India a number of digital library initiatives and digitization programmes have been initiated across the country. Most of the digital library initiatives are government funded.


10.1. Evolution of Digital Library:

  • Digital library is a library in which collections are stored in digital format and accessible by computers. The content may be stored locally, or accessed remotely.

  • The concept of digital libraries in India began in the mid 1990s with the spread of information technology, the internet and the support of the Central Government.  The Digital Library initiative in India is still at a budding stage. Digital Libraries have the ability to enhance access to information and knowledge. They also bridge barriers of time and space.


Digitization of Libraries – Few Initiatives:

  • Digital Library of India (DLI):

  • Digital Library of India (DLI) is a digital collection of freely accessible rare books collected from various libraries in India.

  • DLI project started in early 2000 with the vision to archive all the significant literary, artistic and scientific works of mankind and to preserve digitally and make them available freely for every one over Internet for education, study, appreciation and for future generations.

  • The Project was initiated by the Office of the Principal Scientific Advisor to the Government of India and subsequently taken over by the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DEITY), Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT), Government of India of India.


Information and Library Network (INFLIBNET):

  • Information and Library Network (INFLIBNET) Centre is autonomous Inter-University Centre of the University Grants Commission (UGC) of India.

  • It is a major National Programme initiated by the UGC in March 1991 with its Head Quarters at Gujarat University Campus, Ahmedabad.

  • Initially started as a project under the IUCAA, it became an independent Inter – University Centre in June 1996.

  • INFLIBNET is involved in modernizing university libraries in India and connecting them well as information centres in the country through a nation-wide high speed data network using the state-of-art technologies for the optimum utilisation of information.

  • Shodhganga: A Reservoir of Indian Theses:

  • “Shodhganga” is the name coined to denote digital repository of Indian Electronic Theses and Dissertations set-up by the INFLIBNET Centre.


Shodh Gangotri: Indian Research in Progress:

  • Shodhgangotri is a new initiative that compliments “ShodhGanga”.

  • While “ShodhGanga” is a repository of full-text theses submitted to universities in India, Shodhgangotri hosts synopsis of research topics submitted to the universities in India by research scholars for registering themselves for the Ph.D programme.

  • Under the initiative called ShodhGangotri, research scholars/research supervisors in universities are requested to deposit electronic version of approved synopsis submitted by research scholars to the universities for registering themselves for the Ph.D programme.


National Library and Information Services Infrastructures for Scholarly Content (N-LIST):

  • The Project entitled “National Library and Information Services Infrastructure for Scholarly Content (N-LIST)”, being jointly executed by the UGC-INFONET Digital Library Consortium, INFLIBNET Centre and the INDEST-AICTE Consortium, IIT Delhi provides for

  • (i) Cross-subscription to e-resources

  • (ii) Access to selected e-resources to colleges.



  • Based on the recommendation of an Expert Committee, the MHRD has formed e-ShodhSindhu merging three consortia initiatives, namely UGC – INFONET Digital Library Consortium, NLIST and INDEST-AICTE Consortium.

  • The e-ShodhSindhu will continue to provide current as well as archival access to more than 15,000 core and peer-reviewed journals and a number of bibliographic, citation and factual databases in different disciplines from a large number of publishers and aggregators to its member institutions including centrally – funded technical institutions, universities and colleges.


National Digital Library (NDL):

  • Ministry of Human Resource Development, under its National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technology (NMEICT), has entrusted IIT Kharagpur to host, coordinate and set-up the National Digital Library (NDL) towards building a national asset.

  • The objective of the project is to integrate all the existing digitized and digital contents available with different institutions.

  • More specifically, it is to provide a single window access with e-learning facility to different groups of users ranging from primary to higher education.

  • The project’s main aim was to create a knowledge base for students of all ages, especially for those interested in research.

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