Digital nation: On delivery of citizen services

Context: The true measure of digitalisation would be smooth delivery of all citizen services.

Analyse the development of India as a digital nation.

  • Measure of digital nation: The true measure of digital nation is the readiness of governments to use technology to create open, participatory public systems that citizens consider trustworthy.
  • Result of internet access: Affordable smartphones and Internet access have made India a digital nation with an estimated 750 million connections and a thriving financial technology sector.
  • Digital platforms in Covid-19: Digital platforms providing goods and services, including online education and telemedicine, have grown vigorously during the COVID-19 pandemic, while many professionals have maintained productivity by working from home.
  • Schemes and services: Government-to-citizen services using Common Service Centres for:
  • Advice to agriculturists.
  • Digital payments of welfare benefits through bank accounts.
  • Online legal advice to four lakh people under the Tele-Law scheme.

Discuss the sectors which has potential for developing India’s digital governance.

  • Digital method in road safety: If digital methods were applied to other sectors, such as road safety, the results could be dramatic as it can potentially reduce the accident mortality rate of about 1,50,000 deaths a year.
  • Technology in social sectors: Enhanced adoption of technology in health and education;
    • The nucleus plan is Ayushman Bharat, with a digital health identity for all.
    • It should be possible to achieve measurable progress early on at least on one UHC component such as access to free, essential prescription drugs.
  • Issuing a digital health ID: A digital health ID would help prescribe and dispense essential medicines free.
  • The Planning Commission estimated that the public procurement cost for this, in 2011, would be 0.1% to 0.5% of GDP
  • Transformation of internal process:  Efficient digital government depends on transforming internal processes, and fixing deadlines for service delivery.

Way forward

  • If digital has to become a way of life, redefining the complex functioning of citizen-centric services would be a good place to start, with deadlines for government departments.
  • Governance must achieve is a reliable system of digital welfare.

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