Mobile app launched for Haj application process
The Union minister of state for minority affairs, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi launched a mobile app providing information and facilitate e-payments for the Haj pilgrimages. During the app's launch, Naqvi said, "This is a major initiative in the government's 'Digital India' programme." The app is available on Google's PlayStore and 24th January is the last day for submitting the applications.
Digital India is an ambitious campaign launched by the government that aims to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge based economy. The programme launched on 1st July 2015 has three core components: creating digital infrastructure, delivering services digitally, and digital empowerment of citizens. Under the programme, villages will be connected through optical fibre to provide them with high-speed internet.
India had invited Mexico to participate in the government's flagship Digital India programme during the visit of the Mexican foreign minister, Claudia Ruiz Massieu Salinas to India in March 2016.
According to the Union telecom minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Digital India provides an opportunity of $1 trillion in the fields of IT, IT-enabled services (ITES), telecom, and electronics manufacturing. The minister, during a FICCI conclave, provided a breakup of various sectors. While electronics manufacturing will require investments worth $400 billion, a $350 billion opportunity lies in IT/ITES, and $250 billion in communication services.
According to a World Bank Report, not only does India have lesser internet access - 200 million users against 650 million in China, residential broadband in India is 6-10 times costlier than in China.
A World Bank report, Digital Dividends, notes that although digital technologies are widespread, its distribution is uneven and impact inadequate. It proposes that along with measuring connectivity, the focus must be on providing digital dividends i.e. developmental benefits such as employment, and better livelihood. Digital access in MGNREGA has facilitated biometric registration, authentication and payment which has reduced leakages and payment delays.
Communication and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has said that various government services such as passport, licenses, pension, etc. will be delivered online under the Digital India programme. The minister added that one of the main pillars of Digital India is 'eKranti' which entails electronic delivery of government services. The minister was responding to a question during the question hour in Lok Sabha.
"Under e-Kranti, the government of India has made concerted effort to make offline government services to be also delivered through online mode, ensuring that all citizens would have access to them, thereby improving the quality of basic governance on an unprecedented scale."- Ravi Shankar. 44 mission mode projects are being implemented in the mission mode under e-Kranti. 222 services are already being provided.