HindustanTimes Sun,28 Dec 2014

With Prez speech, govt lays foundation for a 'Digital India'

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, June 09, 2014
First Published: 23:14 IST(9/6/2014) | Last Updated: 10:49 IST(10/6/2014)

The signs have been clear in the first few weeks, but it was formally stated by President Pranab Mukherjee in his address to Parliament on Monday. "Digital India," he said, would be the "backbone" of the government's "new ways of working".

The aim would be to ensure transparency in decision-making, enable service delivery and dilute corruption.

President Pranab Mukherjee gestures a greeting as he arrives with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to address the joint session of Parliament in New Delhi. (AFP photo)

Elaborating on the specifics, Mukherjee said the government will strive to provide WiFi zones in critical public areas in the next five years. "My government will roll out broadband highway to reach every village and make all schools e-enabled in a phased manner."

The national e-governance plan would be expanded, he added, to cover every government office, from the Centre to the panchayat, to ensure service delivery. These initiatives were a part of the UPA government, but had often hit implementation roadblocks.

Read: President speaks PM Modi’s election language

The government has been actively using the social media already, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself leading the way. It was an integral part of his campaign, and in his very first statement released on the PMO website after taking oath, Modi had said he will use the social media to stay in touch with citizens directly.

Mukherjee enunciated the approach, and said, "Emerging technologies such as the social media will be used as a tool for participative governance, directly engaging the people in policy-making and administration."

In his interactions with senior bureaucrats, Modi has already said they can reach out to him directly through email. The digitisation of government records will also be done for "improving accessibility", said the President.

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