Today one of India’s leading political parties, the BJP, documented their vision for the use of Information Technology to “help India overcome the current economic crisis; create productive employment opportunities on a large scale; accelerate human development through vastly improved and expanded education and healthcare services; check corruption; and make India’s national security more robust.”
The list includes some pretty aggressive goals; I highlight some of the more interesting items in the quotation below. Please note that my quoting this information is in no way meant as an endorsement of the BJP. Although I’m skeptical of whether these goals could be achieved at the scale and in the timeframe they propose, such a pervasive use of technology would bring many exciting new opportunities – and new risks if the devices or the infrastructure was not secure. There is some press coverage here.
“The highlights of the 30-page IT Vision document are:
- Multipurpose National Identity Card (MNIC) with unique Citizen Identification Number (CIN) for every Indian citizen in 3 years; to replace all other identification systems.
2. 1.2 crore (12 million) new IT-enabled jobs in rural areas.
3. 1 crore (10 million) students to get laptop computers at Rs 10,000 [$200]. Interest-free loan for anyone unable to afford it.
4. National Digital Highway Development Project to create India’s Internet backbone, and Pradhan Mantri Digital Gram Sadak Yojana for last-mile access even in the remotest of villages.
5. Broadband Internet (2 Mbps) in every town and village, at cable TV prices (less than Rs 200/month).
6.All schools and colleges to have Internet-enabled education.
7. 100% financial inclusion through bank accounts, with e-Banking facilities, for all Indian citizens. Direct transfer of welfare funds, preferably to the woman of the house.
8.Every BPL family to be given a free smart mobile phone, which can be used by even illiterate users for accessing their bank accounts.
9. Number of mobile subscribers to be increased from 40 crore at present to 100 crore in five years. Internet users to equal mobile subscribers. India to equal China in every IT parameter in five years.
10. Video conferencing to be made affordable and universally accessible.
11. Primary Health Centre in every village to be linked to the National Telemedicine Service Network.Basic health insurance scheme for every citizen, using the IT platform. Cashless hospitalisation.
12. India’s ranking in the United Nations’ Human Development Index, which is currently 128, to be improved to 50 in five years, with the long-term objective of bringing India within Top Twenty by 2020.
13. Massive expansion in the use of IT in agriculture, rural development, SMEs, retail trade, and informal and unorganised sectors of the economy.
14. National e-Governance Plan to cover every Government office from the Centre to the Panchayats. The ‘E Gram Vishwa Gram’ scheme, launched by Shri Narendra Modi in Gujarat, to be implemented nationwide.
15. Government spending to be made corruption-free. A former Prime Minister had once said, “If I put Rs. 100 in the pipeline in Delhi, only Rs. 15 reach the end beneficiary.” In contrast to Congress governments’ Leaky Pipeline, the BJP’s IT Pipeline will ensure 100% benefit to people. Those who misappropriate public funds will be punished.
16. All post offices to be converted into IT-enabled Multi-Service Outlets. All telephone booths to be upgraded to Internet kiosks.
17. Citizens will have a simple 1-800 BSNL Toll Free Number, which will be accessible 24x7x 365 days of the year, to contact their Member of Parliament.
18. Unlimited VoIP access to all
19. e-Bhasha: National Mission for Promotion of IT in Indian Languages.
20. Special focus to bring women, SC/STs, OBCs and other weaker sections of society within the ambit of IT-enabled development.
21. Use of IT for the protection of India’s priceless cultural and artistic heritage.
22. Government to standardise on ‘open standard’ and ‘open source’ software.
23. Domestic IT hardware industry to be aggressively promoted to minimise dependence on imports.
24. Domestic hosting industry to be promoted to minimise international bandwith [sic] charges.
25. An independent body, Digital Security Agency (DSA), to be set up for cyber warfare, cyber counter-terrorism, and cyber security of national digital assets.“
This post was transferred from MobileMe to WordPress in 2020, with an effort to retain the content as close to the original as possible; I recognize that some comments may now seem dated or some links may now be broken.