The government will soon be launching BPO call centers in villages to empower and digitally connect with the common man, according to Mr Ravi Shankar Prasad, the minister for communications and technology. He said 78 companies have so far expressed interest in setting up the BPOs in villages. The minister said the government is also pushing hard electronic manufacturing in the country and 120 million mobile phones have been manufactured in the last year. Also Read - India may soon announce its own ‘Atmanirbhar’ app store as alternative to Google, Apple
Speaking at the Raisina Dialogue, India’s flagship conference on geopolitics and geoeconomics, organized by Observer Research Foundation in association with the Ministry of External Affairs (March 1-3), he said India’s development goals and targets would be achieved in a time bound manner if the potential of digital connectivity is tapped. The minister said digital connectivity implies creating an opportunity for the common people to rise and progress. Also Read - Government to offer free movies to new internet users in remote areas: Report
Expressing concern over India’s contemporary problems of inequality, deprivation and poverty, the minister said that the time was ideal to put in place a digital architecture and technology that is open, inclusive and plural. This digital environment would allow people to empower themselves and improve their living conditions, said the minister. For example, persons having mobile phones and internet connections have far greater access to various public services, he said.
Explaining the work currently underway within the initiative, the union minister mentioned three aspects, namely creating a digital infrastructure, digital delivery of services and digital empowerment. The minister informed the participants that already digital technology is being used in several sectors. Numerous examples were given in this regard, such as issue of Aadhar identity cards, linkage of gas subsidy to bank accounts of consumers, opening of bank accounts under the Jan Dhan Yojana, digitization of postal services, establishment of common service centers for booking e-tickets, provision of banking and insurance services.
Digital delivery of services is increasing day by day. To support this point, the minister shared statistics of the number of service users that have increased from 90 million in 2014 to 760 million by the end of January 2016. There is also a plan to set up BPO centers in small urban centers of India, said the minister. With regard to improving citizen-government interaction, the union minister mentioned creation of MyGov.in, a portal using which the public can engage with the government functionaries on various matters, voice their concerns and give suggestions for improvement of public policies and development programs.
To take the Mission of Digital India forward, the minister emphasized that India presents diversity and hence the initiative should have linkage with the local in terms of the content and the language options for the people. Furthermore, preparing for threats arising from cyber security was also important and the strategy should address this concern, said the minister. Expansion and penetration of digital technology has a direct relationship with the volume of GDP produced, said the minister. Hence, the need for increasing mobile coverage and broadband width was emphasized.