On the 4th anniversary of Digital India, PM Modi’s vision is now reaching millions through multiple stakeholders taking digital to the grassroots.
Digital India movement is celebrating its 4th anniversary. Prime Minister Narendra Modi envisioned this plan to empower people, reduce corruption and improve public service delivery for the poor.
PM Modi’s vision is supported by many stakeholders of Digital India taking the tool of empowerment to the grassroots.
From the infrastructure provided by large telecom players like Mukesh Ambani-led Jio, and Vodafone-Idea that gave India digital roots, to unselfish groundwork from many stakeholders taking digital to India’s roots; PM Modi’s vision has come a long way.
The National Transformation
In terms of digital, India has potential like no other. A population of 1.3 billion represents potentially not just the world’s biggest market, but also the biggest potential economic force.
The push by India’s government and industry stakeholders in telecom, and information technology took internet and smartphones far and wide, bringing the power of digital at one arm’s reach of most citizens.
The urban areas of India took to the internet revolution in the blink of an eye. They were educated, aware, equipped enough to endorse and leverage the new services and opportunities presented by the penetration of internet and the advent of e-commerce in India.
Mukesh Ambani’s Jio took the digital revolution to a whole new level, letting people use high-speed mobile internet for free.
Mukesh Ambani’s Jio took the revolution to a whole new level, letting the population leverage the power of high-speed mobile internet without spending a penny for it. Being able to buy a smartphone and knowing how to operate it was all they needed, and a world of unlimited opportunities opened up.
Taking Digital to the roots
But apart from the bigger corporates and government-backed schemes, Digital India also encompasses many innovative stakeholders working at grassroots level.
On the 4th anniversary of Digital India, PM Modi offered salute to all those stakeholders assiduously working to strengthen the people’s movement.
PM Modi thanked such stakeholders on his twitter account, “The Digital India initiative is a people’s movement, powered by people’s strength and their efforts to learn as well as innovate. I salute all those assiduously working to strengthen Digital India and wish them the very best for their future efforts,”
Gyan Shanker Prasad Varma, the force behind Credence Education and Welfare Society, a non-profit is spreading the gospel of digital to the rural parts of India. Varma started out from the agrarian state of Bihar, and reaches out to rural households with his approach to digital education.
Gyan Shanker Prasad Varma is the force behind Credence Education and Welfare Society, a non-profit spreading the gospel of digital to rural India.
“When Jio revolution took Digital India to a whole new level, I bore witness to the overnight transformation in the cities,” explains youth politician and digital activist Gyan Shanker, “But I kept noticing a stark difference in my visits to rural areas. They aren’t as ready as the urban population to leverage the power of the internet for betterment of life.”
Rural population-centric digitization
Through an individual-centric model, he is helping young and old from villages have access to smart devices and also imparting hands on knowledge to help them be well-versed with the technology. “Our model is empowering and inspiring. People living in villages lack awareness. If aware and educated, they can achieve the same potential from their own humble homes.”
Varma’s organization works to bring smart devices to village folks. “The aim is to provide at least one smartphone in every rural household,” tells Varma, “and then we educate the children on the devices. Children are quick learners and once they grasp the power of digital, they can then take time and educate their family members.”
“People living in villages lack awareness. If aware and educated, they can achieve the same potential from their own humble homes.” – Gyan Shanker Prasad Varma
In a way, Verma’s model is similar to what Mukesh Ambani has done erecting thousands of cell-phone towers and laying miles of fiber-optic cables across India.
Although, there is a difference in scale, when adjudged in terms of its impact in proportion, Varma has created significant wave from the humblest of beginnings.
Reducing the economic divide
There model has touched 25+ villages, and impacted hundreds of people who are now able to communicate more freely, capture and share their memories and be more aware of the world through access to the internet.
The next step in Varma’s plan is to help them monetize this knowledge, and build an economic ecosystem around their rural digital networks. “We are studying business models from developed rural ecosystems around the world and how they are using digital means for agrarian economy.”
Among the plans of Credence Society is setting up an e-platform for villages to transact and trade with each other. Piloting from Bihar, the platform will enable local clusters of villages where individuals can list their produce and surplus for nearby villages. “I envision that this platform will bring neighbouring villages closer in their individual economics and help them combine resources.”
Credence Society is setting up an e-platform for villages to transact and trade with each other.
The plan is in development stages and plans to hit at least a dozen village clusters by the end of the year. As per Gyan Varma, listing will be free of cost for farmers and they are forming a ground team to take the plan to each and every household and help the families understand how the platform will be beneficial to them.
Varma’s plan isn’t just to empower India’s rural population, it is to make them stakeholders and partners in the dream to make villages prospering digital ecosystems in their own right.