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Digital Infrastructure: Core of Governance

Which are the various key components of digital infrastructure of Government?

1. Pan India Network

a. NICNET: It connects Government offices across the nation using fibre optic, copper cable, VSAT and Radio frequency.

b. National Knowledge Network: It provides Multigigabit nationwide network. It extends high speed connectivity to leading Research Academic Institutions.

2. Data Centres

a. National Informatics Centre (NIC) has established Data Centres in various cities that offer robust, resilient and secure set-up for e-Governance applications, web portals and websites.

b. It hosts support to several e-Governance projects like e-procurement, e-courts, Cyber Swachhta Kendra, etc.

3. National Cloud (MeghRaj)

a. It was launched by Government of India in 2014 for Cloud Computing.

b. It has helped in optimum utilization of existing infrastructure, reusability, efficient service delivery, etc.

c. Various Government initiatives like Swachh Bharat Mission, My-Gov, etc. have been successfully launched due to cloud infrastructure.

4. Geospatial Technology

a. Geographical Information Systems (GIS): They offer location-based access, visual gap analysis and actual on-site representation of various activities.

b. Bharat Maps: It is a multi-layered GIS platform comprising of country wise maps, satellite images and hybrid maps.

c. MGNERGA: GIS helps MGNERGA workers to get information about availability of work in near locations, work site location information, real time transparent attendance and payment information. It will also enhance the concurrent social audit by citizens.

5. Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT)

a. Public Finance Management System: It electronically interfaces with all banks, eliminating delay and increasing transparency.

b. Swachh Bharat Mission used DBY for fund transfers to beneficiaries.

6. Email services

a. The email services have evolved over time in terms of scalability, security, responsiveness and feature sets.

b. The Government has provided a secure email service to all for official communication.

c. Features like Geo-fencing, device mapping and adaptive authentication are offered.

7. Video-conferencing

a. It is now extensively used at all levels of governance – Centre to State, State to District and Sub-districts, and government to public.

b. This has saved both time and cost.

Where has Digital infrastructure helped?

a. Services like e-Office, e-Transport, e-Hospital, etc. are expanded through digital infrastructure.

b. It has seen an extensive array of G2G, G2B and G2C services benefitting citizens, banks, insurance companies, various Government Departments, etc.

c.  e-Way Bill system has been a key in the success of Goods and Services Tax (GST) implementation.

d. For rural development, government has used it in programs like Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Gramin (PMAY-G), MGNREGA, etc.

How it is safeguards against cyber threats?

a. It is one of the key concerns of digital infrastructure.

b. Computer Emergency Response Team (NIC-CERT) group analyses, monitors and responds to cyber threats on critical government cyber infrastructures.

c. NIC-CERT works in close guidance of CERT-In.

What is the way ahead?

a. National Informatics Centre (NIC) continuously evaluates new technologies to enhance government digital infrastructure.

b. Areas such as Artificial Intelligence, IOT, 5G, etc. have been identified for future initiatives.

c. NIC caters to the needs of all levels of governance – central, state, districts and sub-districts and executive, legislative & judiciary level of the government.

d. Initiatives have been undertaken to establish Centres of Excellence for Data Analytics, Block Chain, Artificial Intelligence, etc.