The world today is not in any way similar to the kind of world it was six to eight decades ago. Earlier, nobody knew what to do with a cell phone, a laptop or an internet connection. Today, on the contrary, from every kid to every adult, everyone knows that they can survive any situation if they have a good cell phone and a stable internet connection. The process of digitization has been on the go for many years now, focusing on building a completely digital future world. This article on Digital India will rivet on the emergence and significance of digital transformation around the world, especially in India.
- The Advent of Digitization
- Going Digital
- Digital Transformation – A Blessing or A Curse?
- FAQ on Digitalization and Digital India
The Advent of Digitization
The beginning of digitization can be said to date back to the time when computers first came into existence. It has been evolving since then, and it has now transformed almost everything human beings are associated with, including the way we communicate, shop, work, bank, play, relax and keep ourselves entertained.
The era of digital transformation started moving forward with the introduction of magnetic disks and random access data by IBM. It was used in the United Airlines’ reservation system for the first time in 1958. This was followed by back to back advancements like,
- The American Airlines’ Sabre Flight reservation system in 1960
- Use of Machine-Readable Cataloguing records in US libraries in 1968
- Launch of Project Gutenberg to aid the making of electronically available copyright-free work for everyone in 1971
- COSMOS (Customers, Operations and Services Master Online System) by FedEx in 1979
- Launch of the commercial automated cellular network (1G) for the first time in Japan in 1979
- The first e-commerce transaction ever for a large pizza from Pizza Hut in 1994 and so on.
Since the dawn of digital technology, every industry has altered and redefined its working conditions, consumer expectations, economic paradigms and business models. People all around the world have now become accustomed to the new trend of digitised living. This has been putting a lot of pressure on world governments to find out ways to continuously invest in quality digital connectivity and infrastructure.
Scientists and researchers have been working hard to provide consumers with advanced and improved digital technology every now and then. As discussed earlier, the digital revolution commenced in the latter half of the twentieth century and has been evolving and always becoming better. With major goals like financial inclusion, access to trade and commerce and enhancing connectivity, the digital revolution has always taken a step forward with every new invention as it provided the world with nothing but the best every single time.
The whole world has now become completely dependent on digital technology to the extent that every industry, irrespective of the kind of service they provide, has shifted to using digital systems to work with. It is evident that digital technology is not a choice anymore but an integral and fundamental part of every organisation. There is a growing and inevitable need for digitalization across different fields. Even when you go in for an interview, there is one main prerequisite that is expected of you – are you tech-savvy?
Being a developing country amidst the various other developed countries of the world, India has been striving hard to keep up with the fast pace growth of the world around it. Digital India is an initiative taken by the Government of India with a vision to make India a country that is digitally empowered with improved online infrastructure. It was established by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the 1st of July, 2015, with the aim of providing high-speed internet network access to rural areas and improving their digital literacy. Its main objectives are to work on digital empowerment, governance and services and accessibility of digital infrastructure for each and every citizen.
Managed by a Monitoring Committee headed by the Prime Minister of India, a Digital India Advisory Group under the leadership of the Minister of Communications and IT, and an Apex Committee led by Cabinet Secretary, the Digital India campaign has completed six years of innovative ideas and practical solutions that have been transforming the nation as a whole. It has been working to provide opportunities for all citizens to be able to avail digital services, governance, knowledge and information.
There have been a lot of advancements as part of the Digital India Programme that has changed the country to a great extent. Some major milestones of Digital India are:
- Aadhaar Cards – a biometric-based digital identification system
- Smart Cities Mission – urban renewal and development of cities
- Government e-Marketplace (GeM) – a one-stop e-market for procurement of common use goods and services
- BharatNet – an initiative to provide broadband connections to each and every village panchayat in the country
- Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM) App – an app that lets everyone make simple and quick transactions with the aid of Unified Payments Interface (UPI)
- Study Webs of Active Learning for Young Aspiring Minds (SWAYAM) – an application that delivers access to the best teaching and learning resources to all teachers and students, irrespective of their social and economic status
- myGov – an online platform set up with the view to build a partnership between the citizens and the Government of India
The Digital India campaign has been receiving worldwide acclaim and support. To quote a few, Mark Zuckerberg’s promise to work on WiFi hotspots in all the rural areas of India, Google’s commitment to provide broadband connections in five hundred railway stations and Microsoft’s agreement to provide internet connectivity to five hundred thousand villages of India are some of the much appreciable backings we have received in order to make the dream of digitization of India come true.
Digital Transformation – A Blessing or A Curse?
Digital transformation has reached the ends of almost every human activity. From waking up in the morning, eating, working, relaxing to staying fit and healthy, everything has been digitised and made available. In a way, digital transformation has made life easier by helping us keep track of our body movements, eating and drinking habits. It has also made communication quick and simple. There are applications with the motive to never let us go hungry. All one needs is a good internet connection, the downloaded application, location and money to get food delivered at your doorsteps no matter which part of the country you are in.
Digital transformation has helped small scale and large scale businesses thrive by continuously keeping them on demand. It has also increased the efficiency of employees by creating ways to promote productivity and reliability. It has also made remote working conditions possible and comfortable.
However, there are some risks involved in this process. Though the whole idea of digital transformation is to help everyone equip themselves with access to the digital world, there are a lot of security and privacy issues that might come up as a result of data breaches and identity theft. It creates a shortage of skilled labourers in the fields of work that are based on digital technology. There are many other problems related to complete data loss and unsupervised expenditures, as online payments have made transactions a lot easier. Entertainment applications have increased screen hours and are likely to cause health problems.
To debate on digital transformation being a blessing or a curse would be an endless process. The aim of digital transformation and Digital India is only for the greater good of all human beings. The only aspect that every individual and ruling authorities have to take care of is that there is social and economic independence and security.
Frequently Asked Questions on Digitalization and Digital India
What is the meaning of Digital India?
The vision of the Government of India to transform the country into a digitally empowered one by providing easy access to digital resources and digital knowledge is termed Digital India.
How does Digital India help students?
SWAYAM is one of the multiple initiatives of the Digital India programme that aids teachers and students with the best teaching and learning resources.
When did digitalization begin?
Digitalization began in the late 1950s with the dawn of computers. It is the process of converting every technology that is mechanical and analogue to digital. It includes digital record keeping, digital payments and transactions, digital applications, etc.