Digital India Mission of Government of India is a well-articulated policy intended to ensure last mile connectivity in the country. To what extent has this policy been implemented? Your views.
The mission had some audacious goals such as Broadband for all. It has come a long way in implementing many of its stated goals. The mission will get strengthened by the adoption of the National Digital Communications Policy 2018.
India’s Digital India Mission is an expansive network of concepts. Has India’s Digital India Mission been able to create sufficient jobs in the country? Please share your views.
Unfortunately, the data around jobs has been very sketchy and is not dependable and hence this needs to be looked at from an anecdotal perspective. Clearly, a very large number of jobs have been created by telecom firms such as Jio, by the digital infrastructure push such as laying of over 200,000 km of fibre optic, by the various apps that are being developed and brought online and by the push on democratization of digital access, including hardware manufacturing.
What is your view on the Data Protection Bill?
The Data Protection Bill is a necessary bill. There were a few attempts earlier, starting from 2003, to bring in such a bill, however, it is not easy to craft a data protection bill that does not disrupt existing businesses and processes. As our lives become more entwined with the digital world, it was imperative that such as bill was brought out. There has been some criticism on the harshness of the bill. However, it is necessary to protect our citizens from the perils of violation of their data privacy. With the paradigm shift in the way we live, with extensive dependencies on the digital world, and the complexity of the issue, the bill had to be stringent to protect those who do not understand the implications of data privacy loss, until it is too late for them.
Is India 5G ready?
Clearly, India has yet to take the first steps in being 5G ready, which is same as most countries globally. However, India has developed deep capabilities to make the policy framework as well as to execute 5G in india. India is on track on its roadmap for 5G adoption.
What major challenges do you observe in the Indian ecosystem for successful implementation of Digital India Mission? What methods of mitigating these challenges should be adopted?
The same old issues of access to connectivity, availability of power, availability of non-english content and costs continue to be issues, although they are significantly mitigated. However, there are new challenges in terms of cyber-security, cyberbullying, data privacy violation and access to inappropriate content by under-age citizens that is threatening an accelerated adoption of digital. The other interesting development has been the rapid creation of local manufacturing of digital products that has reduced the import dependence of India.
Would you share with us how Center for digital Economy Policy research is working towards the government’s Digital India Mission?
Centre for Digital Economy Policy Research is working on issues such as the economics of adopting the fourth industrial revolution, the issues of Digital Sovereignty and a Data Interchange framework that respects data privacy.
Going forward what Digital Transformation do you foresee, happening for Digital India Mission .
We believe that the Digital India Mission will have significant impact from the National Digital Communications Policy, 5G rollout and Satellite communications, especially HTS satellites. These technologies would considerably accelerate the Digital India Mission which in turn would help resolve issues such as digital illiteracy (beyond smartphone usage).―BW SmartCities