Digital India to bridge gap between digital haves, have-nots
New Delhi: The Narendra Modi government’s ambitious Rs 1 lakh crore Digital India programme will bridge the gap between the digital haves and have-nots as the initiative will provide a wide range of public services to the poor and improve e-governance.
"Broadband connectivity leads to increase in GDP," Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told Bloomberg TV India in an exclusive interview.
Global and Indian IT and telecom majors have a big role to play for Digital India, which will be launched on July 1, Prasad said. The Telecom Minister said he has met Cisco for participation in education and net connectivity.
Asserting that the Digital India is mainly for the poor and common people, he said 10 states are now on board for better rollout of national optic fibre network (NOFN). Major states like Maharashtra, Madhya Prasad, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Haryana and Chhattisgarh are ready to roll out the NOFN to facilitate Digital India.
“We will create a SPV to facilitate national optic fiber network,” he said adding the government was considering if it was possible to have one central SPV or multiple state-specific ones.
With the aim of attaining zero electronics imports by 2020, Prasad said the government wants to boost domestic manufacturing of electronic equipments and 21 electronic clusters have been approved so far as against just two earlier.
The government has received investment proposals worth Rs 20,000 crore and approved Rs 9,000 crore already for these clusters. “Electronics manufacturing goes way beyond just making mobile phones,” he said adding electronic manufacturing was a priority for the ministry and hence the government was pushing for Indian manufacturing of entire range of electronic products.
Two proposals for semi-conductor manufacturing are still under review, he said.
The shutdown of Nokia’s plant in Tamil Nadu was not because of fault of the NDA government. It was a legacy issue, he said, adding Microsoft's Nokia takeover orphaned the Tamil Nadu plant.
Outlining the growth potential, Prasad said India may soon overtake US in smart phone sales.