DIGITAL INDIA: Transforming the India through Digital Empowerment
Authors: Kirti, Mukesh Kumar and Pankaj Kr. Mandal

The ICTs and their evolution are seen assisting societies and nations to build a sound and sustainable production capacity and a decent standard of living which are critical for the economic development of the nation. Digitization has proved itself to be a game changer because of its significant influence over economic growth and employment of any nation across the world. Recognizing the same prominent status of its in this highly competitive world and the larger positive impact that it can bring to Indian economy and its population, government of India has launched a flagship programme named “Digital India” in order to transform the country into a knowledge economy and digitally empowered society by utilizing various e-governance initiatives so as to ensure bridging of digital divide and promotion of inclusive growth. Concentrated on trinity of safe and secure digital infrastructure, delivery of services digitally and digital literacy of citizens, Digital India aims to make government services available electronically to all citizens through bettered online infrastructure and enhanced internet connectivity . Though, digital empowerment of citizens with creation of competence among individuals in use of digital devices is a major focus area of “Digital India Programme”, the vision of this programme can only be realized when the digital natives will be raised as individuals furnished with digital literacy so that they become efficient in this multi-dimensional digital world. Digital empowerment is basically had two terms in it, Digital and Empowerment. Digital describes electronic technology that generates, stores, processes data and are recorded in binary code of combinations of the digits 0 and 1, also called bits, which represent words and images. Whereas, empowerment describes the different ways in which members of different communities can interact effectively. The term digital empowerment is defined by the Makinen (2006), refers to the ability of an individual to use digital technologies effectively in order to develop life skills and strengthen his or her capacity within the information society . According to Akkoyunlu et al. (2010), Digital empowerment means, as digital participants, being adapted to information technologies digitally and making maximum use of the potentials of information technologies. The digital empowerment level of citizens in the digital age, have enormous practical value. To be able to apply for jobs online, people need skills to find relevant information. To get relevant health information, people need to be able to distinguish between a marketing ploy for nutritional supplements and solid information based on research evidence. A thorough understanding of methodology of knowledge construction and its way of representing a particular reality and articulating a certain point of view is a necessity to make full use of online educational opportunities. For people to take social action and truly engage in actual civic activities that improve their communities, they need to feel a sense of empowerment that comes from working collaboratively to solve problems. For standing out on a global platform, India has to look upon the inclusive growth through digital inclusion as a key for growth. Today, every nation wants to be fully digitalized and the programme like digital India strives to provide equal benefit to the user and service provider. Further it aims at changing the manner in which governance and public services are provided to citizens. Digital competence will make a significant impact on the future of both individuals and societies.

On one side, being digital competent is an indispensable necessity for information societies while on the other side; it also signifies the closure of digital divide for the societies. The competitive power of individuals in the business market, as well as their status and earning power get influenced by the degree of digital empowerment. This emerging and vibrant sector of digital technology services has a huge potential to create employment for younger generation which is entering into workforce every year, to increase production, export and “social belonging” and in this way, it has evolved as an answer to most of the developmental problems that are encountered globally, as a nation, as a society or as an individual. This digital empowerment can only be brought through responsible educational institutions that aid individuals in acquisition of information literacy skills as one of the duties bestowed on these institutions is to train individuals in accordance with the changing needs of the society. Though, present educational systems has an obligation to better the individuals who have the appropriate attributes and aptitude in accordance with the information age and who can contribute for larger benefits of the information society but there is no clear cut tool to measure the level of digital empowerment and formulate the skill needs of students.

References:

Makinen, M. Digital empowerment as a process for enhancing citizens’ participation, E-learning, 3(3), 381-395, 2006.

Akkoyunlu, B., Soylu, M.Y. and Caglar, M.A. Study on developing ‘Digital Empowerment Scale’ for university students, Hacettepe University Journal of Education, 39(39), 10-19, 2010.



About Author / Additional Info:
My self is Assistant Professor cum Junior Scientist at
Department of Agricultural Extension and communication
Ranchi Agriculture College, Birsa Agricultural University, Ranchi, Jharkhand