With around Rs. 4.5 trillion of investment, PM Modi’s ‘Digital India Campaign’ is all set to one of the grandest initiatives to push digitalization in the country. This campaign focuses on creating digital awareness and empower Indians to excel at infrastructure development, governance, manufacturing, electronic services and more. Let’s try to understand its scope and how security is going to be an inseparable part of the campaign.

Why Digital India?

About a third of India’s 252 million internet users and a fourth of mobile internet users are in rural areas. But internet penetration in villages, at 8.6% compared to 37.4% in cities, has a long way to go, and this is the statistic ‘Digital India’ hopes to change. As per a World Bank report, a 10% increase in a country’s broadband connections leads to a 1.38% rise in its gross domestic product.

Government Grand Vision

Our government has emphasized the need for leveraging technology to drive the nation and bring in transparency within governance and simplifying citizens’ access to public services.

The vision of building ‘one hundred smart cities’ – which has been allocated Rs. 7,060 crore – is a major project that would rely strongly on technology, calling for a robust cloud computing backend coupled with real-time surveillance and big data analytics technologies.  The Digital India program will be implemented in phases from the current year until 2018.

The vision of the government under the project includes the creation of ICT infrastructure like the high-speed Internet at the gram panchayat level, on-demand availability of government services like health, education, etc., and digital empowerment of citizens, especially through digital literacy. Under the program, the government will train one person in each household digitally through ICT training to 10 lakh people with an outlay of Rs.376 crores.

Impact on the overall economy

Analysts feel ‘Digital India’ has the potential to be one of most transformative programs in recent times. Digital India Initiatives would provide the much-needed impetus to the economic growth given its focus on key social and industry sectors. Not only IT/ITeS, telecom, electronics manufacturing sectors would be benefited from Digital India, but we would see a positive impact on other industry sectors as well, like Power Sector, Banking, and Financial Services.

Implementation & Monitoring Strategy

Digital India Advisory Group (DIAG) would be created, which will be headed by Minister of Communications to supervise the implementation of the program, advice the government on policy issues and strategic interventions necessary for accelerating the implementation of Digital India Programme across Central and State government ministries/departments. The government will appoint nodal officers at key ministries to ensure smooth implementation of ‘Rs. 1 lakh crore ‘Digital India’ program. The new posts of ‘Chief Information Officers’ (CIO) would be created in at least 10 key ministries to supervise the implementation.

Digital India Initiatives & Need for Cyber Security

We have already discussed the alarming rise of cyber crimes in India and the government’s continuous struggle to cope up with the latest trends of attacks. Apart from domestic cyber threats, India also faces tough cyber-attacks from countries including Pakistan, China, UAE, US, Turkey, Brazil, Bangladesh, Algeria and nations in Europe.

Please read 627% Growth in Unethical Hacking and Eye-Opening Website Security Stats from India.

As per statistics from the National Crime Records Bureau and other sources.

  • 1,791 cases were registered in 2011, which grew to 2,876 cases in 2012, and to 4,356 cases by 2013.
  • Hacking formed close to 60% of all cyber offenses.
  • 58% attacks are for financial gains and 42% by foreign governments
  • 155.GOV and.NIC domains were hacked last year
  • 32,323 public Indian website was hacked in 2014 with 14% Y-o-Y increase

To counter this alarming situation, the Indian Government has aimed to step up cybersecurity measures under Digital India program starting with an Rs. An 800-crore center that will help people check and clean their computer system from viruses and other malware.

The program is intending to build capability to tell you that not only can track the malware in the computer system but will clean that infection as well. A year in the works, the National Cyber Security and Coordination Centre (NCSC) will analyze Internet traffic data scanned and integrated from various gateway routers at a centralized location.

It will facilitate the real-time assessment of cyber-security threats and generate actionable reports for various agencies. As a multi-agency body under the Department of Electronics and IT, the NCSC will include the National Security Council Secretariat, the Intelligence Bureau, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO), the three armed forces and the Department of Telecommunications. It is expected to subsume the work done by CERT-In as well as issue alerts in the event of a cyber-attack.