Digital Governance in India

Short Notes or Revision Notes 

GS-2 Mains 

Question : Evaluate India’s evolving digital strategies and suggest measures to ensure inclusivity, transparency, security, and sustainable development in digital governance.

Context

  • Prime Minister discussed with Bill Gates the role of AI in digital governance for health, agriculture, and education.

What is Digital Governance?

  • Applying Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for government services, information exchange, communication, and integration across various departments.
  • Data Governance is crucial, with India’s DEPA tool raising both excitement and concerns.
    • Transparent, consistent, and secure implementation is vital.

Role of Artificial Intelligence (AI)

  • Plays a pivotal role in:
    • Election campaigns (overcoming language barriers, promoting inclusivity).
    • Driving economic growth and improving lives.

Key Data

  • ICRIER’s State of India Digital Economy 2024 Report:
    • India is highly digitalized, but the average Indian is not.
    • 48% lack internet access, and fixed-line internet quality lags behind other G20 countries.
    • Gender gap (10%) is higher than the world average (9%).
    • Rural-urban divide (58%) is wider than the world average (49%).
  • IAMAI’s Internet in India Report (2023): Nearly 52% Indians (~759 million) have internet access.

Benefits of Digital Governance

  • Efficiency, inclusivity, cost-effectiveness, transparency, accountability, data-driven decisions, citizen empowerment, innovation, improved services, economic growth, and sustainable development.

Digital Governance in Action

  • Healthcare:
    • ‘Digital India’ brought significant changes.
    • Initiatives: Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM), CoWIN App, Aarogya Setu, e-Sanjeevani, and e-Hospital.
    • Ayushman Bharat Health Account (ABHA) for digital health records.
  • Agriculture:
    • National e-Governance Plan in Agriculture (NeGPA) for timely access to information for farmers.
    • Guidelines amended in 2020-21 to leverage digital and emerging technologies.
  • Education:
    • Digital empowerment and online education are crucial for achieving NEP 2020’s GER target of 50% by 2035.
    • Opens up a plethora of options for learners and has wide-ranging implications for higher education.

Other Key Initiatives

  • Digi-Locker: Stores digital documents (certificates, PAN cards).
  • Mobile Seva: Government services via tablets and mobile phones.
  • in: Platform for citizen engagement in policy and governance.
  • UMANG: Unified mobile app for accessing federal and state government services.
  • Computerisation of Land Records: Provides digital and updated land ownership documents.
  • e-Office: Awarded for ensuring service continuity during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Potential Threats

  • Cybersecurity Risks:
    • 91% of Indian companies experienced ransomware attacks in 2022 (55% with financial impact).
  • Data Privacy Concerns:
    • Security and privacy risks associated with DEPA.
    • Potential for misuse or misappropriation of personal information.
  • Digital Inequality:
    • Risk of certain sections lacking access to digital resources and services.
  • Dependence on Service Providers:
    • Increased vulnerability to cyber intrusion due to remote work.
  • AI-Enabled Threats:
    • AI-powered malware and deep fakes pose ethical and social challenges.
  • Infrastructure Vulnerability:
    • Critical infrastructure susceptible to cyber attacks disrupting essential services and national security.

Conclusion

  • Digital governance offers efficient, accessible, and transparent services, but challenges exist regarding data security, privacy, and digital literacy.
  • India’s evolving digital strategies must be inclusive, transparent, secure, and promote sustainable development.

 

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