Last week Prime Minister of India visited the USA to Promote Make in India and Digital India Campaign which received a great response there. Even just before his town hall session in Facebook, CEO Mark changed his profile pic to support Digital India. One part of the world was praising these initiatives and here in India, I have seen people making fun of campaigns on social media and newspapers using cartoons and Memes stating farmers are dying, people are hungry and our PM is dreaming about Digital India.
After checking these images, I thought of sharing my experience and how I think Digital India will change our (everyone’s) life.
First of all, what exactly Digital India Campaign mean? It is not just providing Internet Connections to everyone but to make government services available to citizens (doesn’t matter where they live) electronically by improving online infrastructure and by increasing internet connectivity. Digital India has three core components. These include:
- The creation of digital infrastructure
- Delivering services digitally
- Digital literacy
Digitalization of Government services will improve the quality of service we get and also it will remove the manual/humans error’s of the system to make it more transparent.
In the Year 2011, I got the opportunity to study the Government’s Public Distribution System (PDS) or the Rationing system as the company for which I was working i.e. ESDS Software Solution Pvt. Ltd. has taken a Pilot project of digitalizing the Food & Supply Department of Nashik and provide them a solution which will minimize their work and improve customer satisfaction. The biggest advantage we had been the data of all the ration cardholders and all other information was already computerized i.e. Food & Supply department has already performed the data entry of all the cardholders in Nashik District. We have received the data and started processing it. In the meanwhile, we have started understanding the complete system and the problems Department was facing. Few problems which they have notified were:
- Duplicate Ration cards
- Food grain quota received from the Government was always less than what actual demand was (it was always 70% to 80% of total Demand).
- Proper/actual distribution to the Ration Shop.
It took a couple of months to complete the project which includes Analysis, Developing solutions, and testing. The solution was designed to detect duplication, once the quota is given distribute it in such a way that all Rations shop will receive proper/sufficient grains. The solution was implemented for a trial run and the system detected many duplicate records for ration card (it could be due to human error or ignorance, change of location or any other reason). The data de-duplication started by the respective departments/Taluka by manually verifying the data and removing duplicate one. Post-de-duplication the results were more shocking as the quota which District was receiving from State Government was more than actual Demand i.e. it was 110% to 120% and we have to create an extra module of buffer stock.
The above experience was a very small step to digitalization (even before the campaign started) but it was enough to tell Why Many Government Schemes were failed, Why funds released by the Government doesn’t reach to the common man and Why Corruption Happens.
The main Culprit is the data and the System itself. Right now Government doesn’t have any exact figures for anything either its Ration card, voter card. Digitalization will provide the exact data to execute any plan or scheme and also it will eliminate the middle man and directly transfer the benefits to Beneficiary (Gas Subsidy is one example of this). Also, it will provide the complete information of schemes and rights a beneficiary has. Digitalization will increase the transparency in the system and provide the complete in and out of the process; a common man will able to track the current status of his application/documents instead of going to each and every table.
I personally think if you can make fun of Government policies/Schemes without understanding it, then you don’t have any rights to blame Government for anything. It doesn’t matter which Political Party is in the Government if anything good comes out of it should be appreciated and we must give our hand to make is Sucess.
Note: This post is my personal view of the Digital India campaign and not supporting any political party.