Government will initially spend Rs 69,524 crore on various IT and telecom projects under the ‘Digital India’ programme.The government has identified broadband and mobile networks as key growth pillars under Digital India. An official document shows that NDA government has enhanced expenditure on broadband network to connect all 2.5 lakh village panchayats to Rs 32,000 crore. The UPA government had approved Rs 20,000 crore for the project. Simultaneously, it has also advanced deadline to finish roll out of national optical fibre network (NOFN) by a quarter to December 2016 from earlier announced date of March 2017. To provide mobile connectivity to approximately 42,300 villages that still don’t have any network coverage, the government has earmarked Rs 16,000 crore. The mobile connectivity in all of these unconnected villages has to be provided by 2018. The government has decided to create national information infrastructure at a cost of Rs 15,686 crore. The project will include integration of existing programme like the National Knowledge Network and and NOFN. Under the National Rural Internet Mission, government has earmarked fund of Rs 4,750 crore to make roll out Common Service Centres (CSCs) across 2.5 lakh villages.
Through CSCs people in rural area get access to government services like birth certificate, train tickets, pay various fees etc without actually having to visit concerned office. The CSCs are present at about 1.3 lakh locations. Besides this government has earmarked Rs 200 crore to train 1 crore students in small towns and villages for IT sector jobs over period of next 5 years. UPA government had started National Knowledge Network to connect 1,500 universities with high speed broadband network. The NDA government has decided to provide WiFi at all universities in the country with estimated cost of Rs 790 crore by end of next year. Under Digital India programme, government has decided to spend Rs 98 crore on secure email, which will now be primary mode of communications, for official communications.
At present 10 lakh government employees have been moved to secure email communication and by March 2015 around 50 lakh employees will be moved on to the new system. The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the digital India programme that deal with all projects involving IT and communication technology like e-governance and broadband connectivity. The initial cost of the project, to be implemented over the next five years, is estimated at Rs 1,13,000 crore. The Digital India programme has various other provisions which include wifi hotspots at public places, ebooks for schools, national portal for lost and found children, biometric attendance at government offices for which funds are yet to be finalised.