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National Digital Literacy Mission and Digital India Programme
Aug 23, 2014

In India, across over 6,50,000 villages  and 2,50,000 panchayats represented by 3 million panchayat members. Approx 40% population is living below poverty line, illiteracy rate is more than 25-30% and digital literacy is almost no-existent among more than 90% of India’s population.

While the country boasts the world’s second fastest-growing mobile market, it is lagging behind when it comes to internet connectivity. Connecting the community and its members to the world through the Internet is becoming increasingly essential for community vitality for the development and social progress in recent years.


In a country with more than 6,50,000 villages, where more than half of its population live in rural areas and off-the-map villages. Most are remote and too isolated to benefit from the country’s impressive economic progress. Yet there’s a growing desire among people in rural India to be part of its modernization process. But, the last-mile delivery has always been a challenge for India. Increasingly the government with the support of NGOs is looking at better ways to reach remote, rural India.


For this purpose, the Universal Services Obligation Fund (USOF) has established Bharat Broadband Network Ltd. (BBNL) to roll out the National Optical Fiber Network (NOFN) plan. BBNL will lay out the optic fiber cable terminating in each of the 250,000 gram panchayats in the country, providing 100 MBPs link to be used as information highway to be utilized diversely by all kind of stakeholders to ensure that digital inclusion has reached in all villages across the country. For this, BBNL has identified three pilot blocks–Arain (Rajasthan); Naogang (North Tripura) and Pravada (Visakhapatnam) where the fiber connectivity would be reached and the same would be available for usage free for a month and later on do costing of the project.


With a hope and desire to light up the rural communities and to complement the objectives of NOFN plan, Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF) supported by with Intel Corporation as a part of the National Digital Literacy Mission has launched Follow the Fibre Programme (FtF) to help rural communities conquer this challenge of digital illiteracy.


National Digital Literacy Mission Programme is a dynamic and integrated platform of digital literacy awareness, education and capacity programmes that will help rural communities to take lead in the global digital economy and help them in maintaining the competitiveness and also shape a technologically empowered society. NDLM is an effort to complement the objectives of National Optic Fibre Netowrk (NOFN) plan to transform one from each household as digitally literate. Under NDLM, we pledge to work with multi-stakeholder to Digitally Literate at least One adult from each of 147 million rural household of India.


DLM will be an ecosystem of digital literacy awareness, education and training that will help India take a lead in the global digital economy and help us maintain the competitiveness and also shape a technologically empowered society. DLM is an effort to extend NOFN objectives to empower rural citizens by making them digitally literate.


The vision of Digital Literacy Mission (DLM) is to create multi-stakeholder, consortium and work with government and their various schemes and agendas to showcase in some of those panchayats constituencies that how making them digitally literate can change the scenario of governance, empowerment, social inclusion, educational approach and employment.


DIGITAL INDIA PROGRAMME: On 20 August the Cabinet gave approval for Digital India—an ambitious programme to transform India into digital empowered society and knowledge economy. Envisaged by the Department of Electronics and Information Technology, Digital India will be implemented in phases from the current year till 2018. Digital India is transformational in nature and is aimed at ensuring that government services are available to citizens electronically. It would also bring in public accountability through mandated delivery of government’s services electronically. 


The programme aims at providing digital infrastructure as a utility to every citizen as well as high-speed internet as a core utility in all gram panchayats. It also envisions providing a “cradle to grave digital identity” that is “unique, lifelong and online”. The overall scope of this programme is to prepare India for a knowledge future, to make technology central to enabling change and to become an umbrella programme covering many departments.


The programme aims to seamlessly integrate departments to provide easy and a single window access to all persons. It also aims at making available government services in real time from online and mobile platforms. The government will set up a programme management structure for monitoring implementation of his programme.


The key components of the management structure would consist of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) for according approval to projects, a Monitoring Committee headed by the Prime Minister, a Digital India Advisory Group chaired by the Minister of Communications and IT, an Apex Committee chaired by the Cabinet Secretary.


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