Digital India Initiative
Digital India was an initiative taken by the Government of India for providing high-speed internet networks to rural areas.
Digital India Mission was launched by PM Narendra Modi on 1st July 2015 as a beneficiary to other government schemes including Make in India, Bharatmala, Sagarmala, Startup India, BharatNet, and Standup India.
Digital India Mission is mainly focused on three areas:
- Providing digital infrastructure as a source of utility to every citizen.
- Governance and services on demand.
- To look after the digital empowerment of every citizen.
Digital India was established with a vision of inclusive growth in areas of electronic services, products, manufacturing, and job opportunities.
Digital India aims to provide the much-needed thrust to the nine pillars of growth areas. Each of these areas is a complex programme in itself and cuts across multiple Ministries and Departments. The nine pillars of Digital India are given below:
- Broadband Highways– This covers three sub components, namely Broadband for All – Rural, Broadband for All – Urban and National Information Infrastructure (NII).
- Universal Access to Mobile Connectivity- This initiative focuses on network penetration and filling the gaps in connectivity in the country.
- Public Internet Access Programme- The two sub components of Public Internet Access Programme are Common Services Centres (CSCs) and Post Offices as multi-service centres.
- e-Governance: Reforming Government through Technology- Government Process Re-engineering using IT to simplify and make the government processes more efficient is critical for transformation to make the delivery of government services more effective across various government domains and therefore needs to be implemented by all Ministries/ Departments.
- e-Kranti – Electronic Delivery of Services- To improve the delivery of public services and simplify the process of accessing them. In this regard, several e-governance initiatives have been undertaken by various State Governments and Central Ministries to usher in an era of e-Government. e-Governance in India has steadily evolved from the computerization of Government Departments to initiatives that encapsulate the finer points of Governance, such as citizen centricity, service orientation and transparency.
- Information for All- This pillar aims to ensure transparency and availability of reliable data generated by the line ministries for use, reuse and redistribution for the people of India.
- Electronics Manufacturing- This pillar focuses on promoting electronics manufacturing in the country.
- IT for Jobs- This pillar focuses on providing training to the youth in the skills required for availing employment opportunities in the IT/ITES sector.
- Early Harvest Programmes- This pillar consists of a group of different short-term projects which have immediate effect on the Indian digital ecosystem like IT platform for mass messaging, crowd Sourcing of eGreetings, biometric attendance in the government offices, WI-FI in all universities etc.
Objectives of Digital India
The motto of the Digital India Mission is ‘Power to Empower’. There are three core components to the Digital India initiative. They are digital infrastructure creation, digital delivery of services, and digital literacy.
The major objectives of this initiative are listed below:
- To provide high-speed internet in all gram panchayats.
- To provide easy access to Common Service Centre (CSC) in all the locality.
- Digital India is an initiative that combines a large number of ideas and thoughts into a single, comprehensive vision so that each of them is seen as part of a larger goal.
- The Digital India Programme also focuses on restructuring many existing schemes that can be implemented in a synchronized manner.
Advantages of Digital India Mission
Digital India Mission is an initiative that encompasses plans to connect the rural areas of the country with high-speed internet networks. Public Internet Access Programme is one among the nine pillars of digital India. On the platform of digital adoption, India ranks amongst the top 2 countries globally and the digital economy of India is likely to cross $1 trillion by the year 2022.
Some of the advantages of Digital India are:
- There is an increase in electronic transactions related to e-governance.
- An optical fiber network of 2, 74,246 km has connected over 1.15 lakh Gram Panchayats under the Bharat Net programme.
- A Common Service Center (CSC) is created under the National e-Governance Project of the Indian government which provides access for information and communication technology (ICT). Through computer and Internet access, the CSCs provide multimedia content related to e-governance, education, health, telemedicine, entertainment, and other government and private services.
- Establishment of digital villages along with well-equipped facilities such as solar lighting, LED assembly unit, sanitary napkin production unit, and Wi-Fi choupal.
- Internet data is used as a major tool for the delivery of the services and the urban internet penetration has reached 64%.
Challenges of Digital India
The government of India has taken an initiative through the Digital India Mission to connect the rural areas of the country with high-speed internet networks. Apart from the various initiatives taken by Digital India, there are several challenges faced by it.
Some of the challenges and drawbacks of Digital Mission are mentioned below:
- The daily internet speed, as well as the Wi-Fi hotspots, are slow as compared to other developed nations.
- Most of the small and medium scale industry has to struggle a lot for adapting to the new modern technology.
- Limited capability of entry-level smartphones for smooth internet access.
- Lack of skilled manpower in the field of digital technology.
- To look for about one million cybersecurity experts to check and monitor the growing menace of digital crime.
- Lack of user education.
The Government has taken up many initiatives under the Digital India campaign. Discussed below are few such important initiatives:
- DigiLockers – This flagship initiative aims at ‘Digital Empowerment’ of the citizen by providing access to authentic digital documents to citizen’s digital document wallet
- E-Hospitals – It is a Hospital Management Information System (HMIS) which is a one-stop solution in connecting patients, hospitals and doctors through a single digital platform. Till February 2021, as many as 420 e-Hospitals had been established under the Digital India campaign
- E-Pathshala – Developed by NCERT, e-Pathshala showcases and disseminates all educational e-resources including textbooks, audio, video, periodicals and a variety of other print and non-print materials through the website and mobile app
- BHIM – Bharat Interface for Money is an app that makes payment transactions simple, easy and quick using Unified Payments Interface (UPI)
Impact of Digital India Campaign
Since its launch in 2015, the Digital India campaign has left its impact in various fields:
- Around 12000 post office branches in the rural areas have been linked electronically.
- The Make in India initiative has improved the electronic manufacturing sector in India
- Digital India plan could boost GDP up to $1 trillion by 2025
- Healthcare and education sector has also seen a boost
- Improvement in online infrastructure will enhance the economy of the country
Bharat Net Project
- It is the world’s largest rural broadband connectivity programme using Optical fibre. And also a flagship mission implemented by Bharat Broadband Network Ltd. (BBNL).
- BBNL is a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) set up by the Government of India under the Companies Act, 1956 with an authorized capital of Rs 1000 crore.
- It is a highly scalable network infrastructure accessible on a non-discriminatory basis, to provide on demand, affordable broadband connectivity of 2 Mbps to 20 Mbps for all households and on demand capacity to all institutions, to realise the vision of Digital India, in partnership with States and the private sector.
- It is being implemented by the Department of Telecommunication under the Ministry of Communications.
- National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) which was launched in October 2011 was renamed as Bharat Net Project in 2015.
- NOFN was envisaged as an information superhighway through the creation of a robust middle-mile infrastructure for reaching broadband connectivity to Gram Panchayats.
- In 2019, the Ministry of Communications also launched the ‘National Broadband Mission’ to facilitate universal and equitable access to broadband services across the country.
- The entire project is being funded by Universal service Obligation Fund (USOF), which was set up for improving telecom services in rural and remote areas of the country.
- The objective is to facilitate the delivery of e-governance, e-health, e-education, e-banking, Internet and other services to rural India.
- Phases of the Project:
- First Phase:
- Provide one lakh gram panchayats with broadband connectivity by laying underground Optic Fibre Cable (OFC) lines by December 2017.
- Second Phase:
- Provide connectivity to all the gram panchayats in the country using an optimal mix of underground fibre, fibre over power lines, radio and satellite media by March 2019.
- Third Phase:
- From 2019 to 2023, a state-of-the-art, future-proof network, including fibre between districts and blocks, with ring topology to provide redundancy would be created.
- First Phase:
- Current Extension of BharatNet:
- The project will be extended to all inhabited villages beyond the gram panchayats in 16 States which are:
- Kerala, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh.
- The revised strategy will include creation, upgrading, operation, maintenance and utilisation of BharatNet by the private sector partner, who will be selected by a competitive international bidding process.
- The selected private sector partner is expected to provide reliable, high speed broadband services as per predefined Services Level Agreement (SLA).
- The project will be extended to all inhabited villages beyond the gram panchayats in 16 States which are:
- Significance of PPP in BharatNet:
- Faster Roll Out:
- The PPP Model will leverage private sector efficiency for operation, maintenance, utilisation and revenue generation and is expected to result in the faster roll out of BharatNet.
- Increased Investment:
- The private sector partner is expected to bring an equity investment and raise resources towards capital expenditure and for operation and maintenance of the network.
- Better Access:
- Extension of BharatNet to all inhabited villages will enable better access to e-services offered by various governments, enable online education, telemedicine, skill development, e-commerce and other applications of broadband.
- Faster Roll Out:
Tarang Sanchar Portal
- Tarang Sanchar is a a web portal for information sharing on Mobile Towers and Electromagnetic frequency (EMF) Emission Compliance.
- It has been developed in Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode by Department of Telecommunications with Industry.
- The portal has a public interface with a map-based search feature which will help users view the mobile towers in any locality.
- This Portal envisages disseminating the information to the public regarding Electro Magnetic Fields (EMF) signals and to allay the misconceptions and fear of health issues due to EMF emissions from mobile towers.
- The public, at large will be now able to check the current status of the mobile tower located anywhere in the country and the EMF signal compliance status of the same.
- This Portal also enables the public to go through the latest developments and corresponding information available in respect of EMF emissions from mobile towers and to submit their feedback and comments on the same.
Crime and Criminal Tracking Network System (Cctns)
- CCTNS is a Mission Mode Project under the National e-Governance Plan of Govt. of India, MHA started in 2009.
- CCTNS aims at creating a comprehensive and integrated system for enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of policing through adopting a principle of e-Governance and the creation of nationwide networking infrastructure for the evolution of IT-enabled-state-of-the-art tracking system.
- The goals of the system are to facilitate the collection, storage, retrieval, analysis, transfer, and sharing of data and information at the police station and between the police station and the State Headquarters and the Central Police Organizations.
- It will help in online tracking cases and arresting criminals and speedy investigating any case.
- The implementation of this software will integrate different software and platforms used by these states under a unilateral platform that will track criminals across the nation at ease.
- The CCTN project will also involve the training of police technology in using the latest technology. It also fulfills the additional objective of strengthening e-governance across the states.
- The Project will interconnect about 15000 Police Stations and additional 5000 offices of supervisory police officers across the country
- It will digitize data related to FIR registration, investigation and charge sheets in all police stations.
- It would help in developing a national database of crime and criminals
- The full implementation of the project with all the new components would lead to a Central citizen portal having linkages with State level citizen portals that will provide a number of citizen friendly services.
National Policy On Information Technology (Npit)
- India aspires to become a knowledge economy by developing its IT and Information Technology Enabled Service (ITES).
- NPIT vision is to develop India into IT hub and use IT cyberspace as a source for inclusive and rapid growth in national economy.
- Objective of NPIT
- Increase revenue of IT and ITES.
- Acquire global market share in emerging IT technologies and services
- Promote innovation and R&D in cutting edge technologies.
- Adopt strategies to improve competitiveness and productivity.
- Aid SMEs to adopt IT technologies,
- To make at least one individual in every household e-literate.
- Provide all public services in electronic mode.
- Utilize ITC in social sectors like Education, health, rural development and financial services.
- Capacity building by developing Human resource.
- These goals can be achieved by following a systematic strategy. There is need to create an environment of IT/ITES competitiveness so as to enhance productivity
- Human resource development through skill development and expertise creation can prove to be good.
- R&D, internet and mobile driven services, GIS based IT services and security of cyber space can be other strategies.
Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (Cert-In)
- CERT-In is the national nodal agency for responding to computer security incidents as and when they occur. The constituency of CERT-In is the Indian Cyber Community.
- CERT-In was established in 2004 as a functional organization of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.
- Functions: The Information Technology (Amendment) Act 2008 designated CERT-In to serve as the national agency to perform the following functions in the area of cyber security:
- Collection, analysis and dissemination of information on cyber incidents.
- Forecast and alerts of cyber security incidents
- Emergency measures for handling cyber security incidents
- Coordination of cyber incident response activities.
- Issue guidelines, advisories, vulnerability notes and whitepapers relating to information
- security practices, procedures, prevention, response and reporting of cyber incidents.
- Such other functions relating to cyber security as may be prescribed.
- It reports the incidence on daily basis and alerts computer system users about the vulnerability of the system. Recently it reported multiple vulnerabilities in Apple iOS.
- In 2014 CERT-in reported a new Virus and malware named Hikiti Malware, Dyreza Trojan, and ShellShock Malware.
Computer Emergency Response Team in Financial Sector (Cert-Fin)
- Cert-Fin will act as an umbrella Cert for the financial sector and report to Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (Cert-In) at the national level, in accordance with the information technology Act and rules.
- Cert-Fin will work closely with all financial-sector regulators and stakeholders on issues of cyber security.
- Cert-Fin will be an independent body, to be set up as a company under Section 8 of the Companies Act, 2013, with a governing board.
- It will have an advisory board for providing direction, reviewing performance and recommendations, and allocation of resources.
- It has also been recommended that each financial-sector regulator will have a separate entity that will provide information in real-time to Cert-Fin.
- There would be a bank-Cert (which would be the Reserve Bank of India), a securities-cert, insurance-cert, and pension-cert; all of which will directly report to Cert-Fin.
- Cert-Fin will then report to the National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre (NCIIPC), which monitors, and coordinates protected systems of critical national infrastructure.
Importance of CERT-Fin
- Cert-Fin will collect, analyze and disseminate information on cyber incidents across financial sectors. It will forecast and send alerts on cybersecurity incidents. It will also take emergency measures on cybersecurity incidents.
- It will coordinate responses and activities for cyber incidents and issue guidelines, advisories, and white papers relating to vulnerabilities and information security.
- It will monitor efforts in the financial sector towards maintaining modern cybersecurity architecture, developing awareness among regulated entities and the public in general.
- Cert-Fin will also create awareness on security issues through the dissemination of information on its website and operate a 24×7 incidence response help desk.
- It will also provide incident prevention and response services as well as quality management services and will carry out functions similar to Cert-In, which operates at the national level, for priority cybersecurity in the financial sector.
- Cert-Fin will offer policy suggestions for strengthening financial sector cybersecurity to all the stakeholders, including regulators and the government.
The Information Technology Act, 2000
- The Information Technology Act, 2000 was enacted by the Indian Parliament in 2000. It is the primary law in India for matters related to cybercrime and e-commerce.
- It is the primary law in India dealing with cybercrime and electronic commerce. It is based on the United Nations Model Law on Electronic Commerce 1996 (UNCITRAL Model) recommended by the General Assembly of United Nations by a resolution dated 30 January 1997.
- The original Act contained 94 sections, divided in 13 chapters and 4 schedules. The laws apply to the whole of India.
- Persons of other nationalities can also be indicted under the law if the crime involves a computer or network located in India.
- The Act provides the legal framework for electronic governance by giving recognition to electronic records and digital signatures.
- The formation of Controller of Certifying Authorities was directed by the Act, to regulate issuing of digital signatures.
- It also defines cybercrimes and prescribed penalties for them. It also established a Cyber Appellate Tribunal to resolve disputes arising from this new law.
- The Act also amended various sections of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, Indian Evidence Act, 1872, Banker’s Book Evidence Act, 1891, and Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 to make them compliant with new technologies.
Side Note: Struck down of Section 66A of the IT Act
- In Shreya Singhal vs. Union of India (2015), the Supreme court struck down Section 66A of the IT Act.
- The section had criminalised the sending of any message through a computer resource that was grossly offensive, menacing, or caused annoyance, inconvenience, danger, insult, injury and intimidation.
- The Court found the offence was defined so widely that both innocent and offensive messaging could be brought under its ambit.
- It led to the constitutional protection for free speech and expression.
Q. In India, it is legally mandatory for which of the following to report on cybersecurity incidents?
- Service providers
- Data centres
- Body corporate
Select the correct answer using the code given below:
a) 1 only
b) 1 and 2 only
c) 3 only
d) 1, 2 and 3
Cyber Surakshit Bharat
- Cyber Surakshit Bharat is first public-private partnership of its kind.
- It will leverage the expertise of the IT industry in cybersecurity.
- The founding partners include leading IT companies such as Microsoft, Intel, WIPRO, Redhat and Dimension Data.
- Its knowledge partners include Cert-In, NIC, NASSCOM and FIDO Alliance and premier consultancy firms Deloitte and EY.
- It will be operated on three principles of awareness, education and enablement.
- It will include an awareness program on importance of cybersecurity.
- It will also include a series of workshops on the best practices and enablement of the officials with cybersecurity health tool kits to manage and mitigate cyber threats.
- DigiLocker is a flagship initiative of MeitY under ‘Digital India’ programme. Digi Locker is a “digital locker” service operated by the Government of India that enables Indian citizens to store certain official documents on the cloud.
- The service is aimed towards reducing the need to carry physical documents and is part of the government’s Digital India initiative.
- 1 GB of storage space is offered to users to store identification card issued by government agencies, education certificates, PAN cards, driving licenses, vehicle ownership documents and some other documents.
- There is also an associated facility for e-signing documents. The service is intended to minimize the use of physical documents, reduce administrative expenses, provide authenticity of the e-documents, provide secure access to government-issued documents, and to make it easy for the residents to receive services.
- Apart from e-documents, DigiLocker can store a Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) link of e-documents issued by various issuer departments.
Q. Regarding ‘DigiLocker’ sometimes seen in the news, which of the following statements is/are correct? (2016)
- It is a digital locker system offered by the Government under Digital India Programme.
- It allows you to access your e-documents irrespective of your physical location.
Select the correct answer using the code given below–
a) 1 only
b) 2 only
c) Both 1 and 2
d) Neither 1 nor 2
- A supercomputer is a computer with a high level of performance as compared to a general-purpose computer.
- The performance of a supercomputer is commonly measured in floating-point operations per second (FLOPS) instead of million instructions per second (MIPS). Supercomputers were started in 1960s.
- Supercomputers are primarily designed to be used in enterprises and organizations that require massive computing power. For example: weather forecasting, scientific research, intelligence gathering and analysis, data mining etc.
- Globally, China has the maximum number of supercomputers and maintains the top position in the world, followed by the US, Japan, France, Germany, Netherlands, Ireland and the United Kingdom.
- India’s first supercomputer was PARAM 8000.
- PARAM Shivay, the first supercomputer assembled indigenously, was installed in IIT (BHU), followed by PARAM Shakti, PARAM Brahma, PARAM Yukti, PARAM Sanganak at IIT-Kharagpur, IISER, Pune, JNCASR, Bengaluru and IIT Kanpur respectively.
- In the 12th five-year plan, the government of India (GOI) had committed that $2.5bn would be sanctioned for the research in the supercomputing field.
- In 2015, GOI approved a 7-year supercomputing program known as National Supercomputing Mission which aims to create a cluster of 73 supercomputers connecting various academic and research institutions across India with $730mn investment.
- India’s two fastest supercomputers built for weather forecasting, Pratyush and Mihir, have broken into the top 100 list globally in 2018.
- Pratyush and Mihir are the supercomputers established at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune, and National Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecast (NCMRWF), Noida respectively.
- They are located at two government institutes, one being 4.0 PetaFlops unit at IITM, Pune, and another 2.8 PetaFlops unit at the National Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF), Noida. Both units and provides a combined output of 6.8 PetaFlops.
- In 2020, PARAM Siddhi, the High-Performance Computing-Artificial Intelligence (HPC-AI) supercomputer, achieved global ranking of 62nd in Top 500 most powerful supercomputer systems in the world.
- The National Supercomputing Mission (NSM) has also deployed PARAM Ganga – a High-Performance Computational (HPC) facility at IIT Roorkee, with a supercomputing capacity of 1.66 Petaflops, and Earlier to this, the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bengaluru installed the supercomputer ‘Param Pravega’.
National Supercomputing Mission
- In 2015, the National Supercomputing Mission was launched to enhance the research capacities and capabilities in the country by connecting them to form a Supercomputing grid, with National Knowledge Network (NKN) as the backbone.
- The NKN project is aimed at establishing a strong and robust Indian network which will be capable of providing secure and reliable connectivity.
- It supports the government’s vision of ‘Digital India’ and ‘Make in India’ initiatives.
- The Mission is being jointly steered by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY).
- It is implemented by the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), Pune, and the IISc, Bengaluru.
- The mission was planned in three phases:
- Phase I looking at assembling supercomputers,
- Phase II looking at manufacturing certain components within the country.
- Phase III where a supercomputer is designed by India.
- An indigenously developed server platform called ‘Rudra’ is being tried out in a pilot system, with an interconnect for inter node communication called Trinetra also having been developed.
National Knowledge Network (Nkn)
National Knowledge Network is a multi-gigabit national research and education network, whose purpose is to provide a unified high speed network backbone for educational and research institutions in India. The network is managed by the National Informatics Centre.
The leading mission-oriented agencies in the fields of nuclear, space, and defense research are also part of NKN. By facilitating the flow of information and knowledge, the network addresses the critical issue of access and creates a new paradigm of collaboration to enrich the research efforts in the country.
The network design is based on a proactive approach that takes into account the future requirements and new possibilities that this infrastructure may unfold, both in terms of usage and perceived benefits. This will bring about a knowledge revolution that will be instrumental in transforming society and promoting inclusive growth.
Role of NKN:
- Establishing a high-speed backbone connectivity which will enable knowledge and information sharing amongst NKN connected institutes
- Enabling collaborative research, development and innovation amongst NKN connected institutes
- Facilitating advanced distance education in specialized fields like engineering, science, medicine etc.
- Facilitating an ultra-high-speed e-governance backbone
- Facilitating connection between different sectoral networks in the field of research.
National Digital Communications Policy, 2018
The new National Digital Communications Policy -2018 will replace the existing National Telecom Policy-2012, to cater to the modern technological advancements such as 5G, IoT, M2M etc. in the Telecom Sector.
- Connect India: Creating Robust Digital Communications Infrastructure.
- National Broadband Mission (Rashtriya Broadband Abhiyan)- Provide Universal broadband connectivity at 50Mbps to every citizen by 2022.
- BharatNet- Provide 1 Gbps connectivity to all Gram Panchayats of India by 2020 and 10 Gbps by 2022.
- GramNet – Connecting all key rural development institutions with 10 Mbps upgradeable to 100 Mbps.
- NagarNet – Establishing 1 Million public Wi-Fi Hotspots in urban areas.
- JanWiFi – Establishing 2 Million Wi-Fi Hotspots in rural areas.
- Enable 100 Mbps broadband on demand to all key development institutions including all educational institutions by 2022.
- Fibre First Initiative to take fibre to the home, to enterprises and to key development institutions in Tier I, II and III towns and to rural clusters.
- Establishment of a National Digital Grid by National Fibre Authority.
- Strengthening Satellite Communication Technologies in India by reviewing SATCOM policy, making available new spectrum bands, streamlining administrative processes for assignment and allocations, clearances and permissions related to satellite communication systems, etc.
- Ensuring Customer Satisfaction, Quality of Service and effective Grievance Redressal by establishing Telecom Ombudsman, framing a comprehensive policy to encourage the adoption of environmental and safety standards and incentivising the use of renewable energy technologies in the communications sector.
- Propel India: Enabling Next Generation Technologies and Services through Investments, Innovation and IPR generation.
- Attract investments of USD 100 Billion in the Digital Communications Sector, expand IoT ecosystem to 5 Billion connected devices, accelerate transition to Industry 4.0 by 2022.
- Creation of innovation led Start-ups in Digital Communications sector.
- Creation of Globally recognized IPRs (Intellectual Property Rights) in India.
- Development of Standard Essential Patents (SEPs) in the field of digital communication technologies.
- Train/ Re-skill 1 Million manpower for building New Age Skills.
- Secure India:Ensuring Sovereignty, Safety and Security of Digital Communications.
- Establish a comprehensive data protection regime for digital communications that safeguards the privacy, autonomy and choice of individuals and facilitates India’s effective participation in the global digital economy.
- Ensure that net neutrality principles are upheld and aligned with service requirements, bandwidth availability and network capabilities including next generation access technologies.
- Develop and deploy robust digital communication network security frameworks.
- Build capacity for security testing and establish appropriate security standards.
- Address security issues relating to encryption and security clearances.
- Enforce accountability through appropriate institutional mechanisms to assure citizens of safe and secure digital communications infrastructure and services.
National Telecom Policy-2012
- GoI had launched NPT-2012 in the backdrop of the 2-G scam. This policy aims to provide a Unified Licensing Regime with the approval of the Ministry of IT and Communication.
- The vision of the policy is, “to provide secure, reliable, affordable and high quality converged telecommunication services anytime, anywhere for an accelerated inclusive socio-economic development”.
- The policy also aims at recognizing telecom as infrastructure in order to realize the potential of ICT for development.
- The main components of the policy are:
- Broadband Rural Telephony and Universal Service Obligation Fund
- R&D, Manufacturing and Standardization of Telecommunication Equipment
- Licensing, Convergence and Value Added Services
- Spectrum Management
- Quality of Service and Protection of Consumer Interest
Cloud Computing And Meghraj Initiative
- Cloud computing is a general term for anything that involves delivering hosted services over the internet.
- These services are divided into three main categories or types of cloud computing: infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS) and software as a service (SaaS).
- It is the pool of shared resources such as networks, servers, storage, applications, and services that can be provided to the consumer rather than the consumer managing them on her own which is costly and time-consuming.
- Rather than owning their own computing infrastructure or data centres, companies or individuals can rent access to storage (or application or services) from a cloud service provider.
- The Government of India is embracing cloud computing technology for expanding its e-governance initiatives throughout the country. In India, the focus of e-governance is to reduce corruption and ensure the government schemes are reaching people living in rural areas of the country. Further, e-governance services ensure quicker service delivery and eliminate the involvement of middlemen who tend to capitalize on loopholes for quick money by means of exploiting people.
- In order to utilise and harness the benefits of Cloud Computing, Government of India has embarked upon an ambitious initiative – “GI Cloud” which has been named as ‘MeghRaj’.
- Meghraj is the name given to the initiative of the Government of India for its new program which is going to take advantage of the Cloud Computing. Meghraj is just a name coined for the purpose (Megh=Cloud, Raj=Rule i.e. Rule of Cloud Computing).
- It will enable the government to leverage cloud computing for the effective delivery of e-services.
- This initiative is to implement various components including governance mechanisms to ensure proliferation of Cloud in the government.
- The focus of this initiative is to accelerate delivery of e-services in the country while optimizing ICT spending of the Government.
- MeghRaj will ensure optimum utilization of the infrastructure and speed up the development and deployment of eGov applications.
- The architectural vision of GI Cloud encompasses a set of discrete cloud computing environments spread across multiple locations, built on existing or new (augmented) infrastructure, following a set of common protocols, guidelines and standards issued by the Government of India.
Advantages of Cloud Computing:
- Seamless Connectivity: Cloud-based software offers companies from all sectors a number of benefits, including the ability to use software from any device either via a native app or a browser. As a result, users can carry their files and settings over to other devices in a completely seamless manner.
- Higher Accessibility: Cloud computing is far more than just accessing files on multiple devices. Thanks to cloud computing services, users can check their email on any computer and even store files using services such as Dropbox and Google Drive.
- Improved Disaster Recovery: Cloud computing services also make it possible for users to back up their music, files, and photos, ensuring those files are immediately available in the event of a hard drive crash.
- Cost-Saving: It also offers big businesses huge cost-saving potential. Before the cloud became a viable alternative, companies were required to purchase, construct, and maintain costly information management technology and infrastructure.
- Scalability: can be improvised to cater to increased demand, say in SMART city mission
- Companies can swap costly server centers and IT departments for fast Internet connections, where employees interact with the cloud online to complete their tasks.
- The cloud structure allows individuals to save storage space on their desktops or laptops.
- Increased Collaboration and flexibility: It also lets users upgrade software more quickly because software companies can offer their products via the web rather than through more traditional, tangible methods involving discs or flash drives.
- For example, Adobe customers can access applications in its Creative Suite through an Internet-based subscription. This allows users to download new versions and fixes to their programs easily.
- Environmentally friendly: Cloud computing reduces a company’s carbon footprint by minimizing energy consumption and carbon emissions by more than 30%. For small businesses, the decreased energy usage can reach up to 90% = A huge money saver.
Cloud computing in Indian Governance:
- E-Gram Panchayat
- The majority of the Indian population lives in villages, and the Panchayats represent the face of governance for these villagers. To improve the quality of governance, the Indian government initiated an e-governance scheme known as ePanchayat to simplify and enhance internal government operations. The module was constructed in 4 phases of e-governance.
- Indian Railways on Cloud
- Governed by the Central Railway Ministry of India, the Indian railway network is the largest rail network in Asia and second-largest rail network in the world. A research carried by the railway ministry says out of 17 million passengers every day, only 1 million passengers carry confirmed rail tickets. This results in substantial monetary loss. To avoid loss, the Indian government decided to implement cloud technology for Indian railways. Today, the central government maintains the railway data on the cloud.
- Kisan Suvidha
- The Indian government came up with the portal Kisan Suvidha to help farmers with the relevant information instantly. It delivers farmers with detailed knowledge on weather, market prices, seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, agriculture machinery, dealers, agro advisories, plant protection and IPM practices. It notifies them with extreme weather conditions and the changing market price.
- DigiLocker is the public cloud-based storage introduced by the Indian government for the citizens of India. It is much more than an online drive where you upload your documents to be accessed depending on your convenience. The documents are digitally verified and signed by the government of India in a few seconds with an authentic DigiLocker verification seal. With more than 57.13 million users and 4.27 billion issued documents, DigiLocker has proved to be one of the biggest success stories of cloud in the government.
- eHospital is the cloud-based healthcare projected implemented by the government of India to ease the process of healthcare management. The system was designed to speed up services like online registration, payment of fees and appointment, online diagnostic reports, checking on the availability of blood online, etc. This hospital model assigns a unique identification number to every patient at the time of registration. The medical history of a particular patient can be accessed using the number.
- In India, cloud computing has ensured the success of national initiatives and schemes such as Swachh Bharat Mission, e-Hospital, National Scholarship, My-Gov and e-Transport.
- One of India’s most landmark initiatives, the Government e-Marketplace (GeM) uses a multi-cloud architecture to ensure scalability. Today, the GeM serves over 50,000 buyer organisations and has a listing of over 19 lakh products and more than 80,000 services.
- NIC’s SaaS-based service, S3WaaS, has empowered district administrators to create, configure and deploy scalable and accessible websites without much effort and technical knowledge.
- The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), announced last year that it had gone fully digital with the launch of a unique cloud-based and AI-powered big analytics platform. All project documents and correspondences related to NHAI will be stored in a cloud-based data lake, which is linked with GIS tagging and a unique project ID, so that project data can be retrieved easily from any location.
- The Indian Railways has given the responsibility of deploying open source Hospital Management Information System (HMIS), an integrated clinical information system, for its 125 health facilities and 650 polyclinics across the country for improved hospital administration and patient healthcare, using a cloud platform.
- With all of the speed, efficiencies, and innovations that come with cloud computing, there are naturally risks.
- Security has always been a big concern with the cloud especially when it comes to sensitive medical records and financial information.
- While regulations force cloud computing services to shore up their security and compliance measures, it remains an ongoing issue. Encryption protects vital information, but if that encryption key is lost, the data disappears.
- Servers maintained by cloud computing companies may fall victim to natural disasters, internal bugs, and power outages, too.
- The geographical reach of cloud computing cuts both ways: A blackout in California could paralyze users in New York, and a firm in Texas could lose its data if something causes its Maine-based provider to crash.
- As with any technology, there is a learning curve for both employees and managers. But with many individuals accessing and manipulating information through single portal, inadvertent mistakes can transfer across an entire system.
- Maintenance costs: While the upfront or capital cost for the cloud-based server is very low compared to traditional hosting, the cloud server requires the same amount to be paid each month to maintain both servers as well as data.
- Internet connectivity: For cloud-based services, consistent internet connection is important because if any one of the cloud-based service providers loses connectivity, then the company will be out of business until that internet connection returns.
- A common argument from critics is that cloud computing cannot succeed because it means that organizations must lose control of their data, such as an email provider that stores data in multiple locations around the world. A large regulated company, like a bank, might be required to store data in the United States.
- Community radio is a radio service offering a third model of radio broadcasting in addition to commercial and public broadcasting.
- Community stations serve geographic communities and communities of interest.
- They broadcast content that is popular and relevant to a local, specific audience but is often overlooked by commercial or mass-media broadcasters.
- Community radio stations are operated, owned, and influenced by the communities they serve.
- They are generally non-profit and provide a mechanism for enabling individuals, groups, and communities to tell their own stories, to share experiences, and, in a media-rich world, to become creators and contributors of media.
- In India, the campaign to legitimize community radio began in the mid-1990s, soon after the Supreme Court of India ruled in its judgment of February 1995 that “airwaves are public property”.
- The judgment inspired several free speech advocates, academics, and community members across the country to being a concerted campaign to legitimize community radio in India.
- In 1996, a Bangalore-based media advocacy group called VOICES organized a gathering of community radio stakeholders.
- By early 2003, the government of India released the first set of community radio guidelines drafted by Dr. Hari Om Srivastava and also the technology to be used, but unfortunately, restricted eligibility to educational institutions only.
- On 16 November 2006, the government of India implemented new Community Radio Guidelines, which permit NGOs, educational institutions and agricultural institutions to own and operate community radio stations.
Global Centre For Cybersecurity
- The Global Centre for Cybersecurity will function as an autonomous organization under WEF.
- It will help to build a safe and secure global cyberspace.
- Its aim is to establish first global platform for governments, businesses, experts and law enforcement agencies to collaborate on cybersecurity challenges.
- It will draw on WEF’s government and industry support to work towards more secure cyberspace through its established multi stakeholder approach.
- The Council of Europe’s (CoE) Cybercrime Convention is also known as the Budapest Convention. It was open for signature in 2001 and came into force in 2004.
- The convention is the sole legally binding international multilateral treaty on cybercrime.
- It coordinates cybercrime investigations between nation-states and criminalizes certain cybercrime conduct.
- It is open for ratification even to states that are not members of the Council of Europe.
- It serves as a guideline for any country developing comprehensive national legislation against Cybercrime and as a framework for international cooperation between state parties to this treaty.
- The Budapest Convention is supplemented by a Protocol on Xenophobia and Racism committed through computer systems.
- Significance: Almost all stakeholders agree that the current form of cross-border data sharing for law enforcement through the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) is insufficient for the digital age. However, there is an ongoing debate whether to revamp MLAT or form an entirely new system for cybercrimes in the form of this Convention.
- This Convention has eagerly called for Indian participation since its formation in 2001, but India has decided not to be a party to it.
India’s concerns over signing of this agreement:
- India did not participate in the negotiation of the Convention and thus is worried about it.
- The Convention, through its Article 32b allows for trans-border access to data and thus infringes on national sovereignty.
- The regime of the Convention is not effective, “the promise of cooperation not firm enough,” or that there are grounds for refusal to cooperate.