Digital India Programme
Digital India, a flagship programme by the Government of India was launched on July 1, 2015, to transform India into a digitally empowered nation. Its objective is to connect rural areas to high-speed Internet networks and increase digital literacy. The vision of the Digital India programme is the integrated development of e-services, products, manufacturing, and employment opportunities. The focus is on three key areas: digital infrastructure as an accessible tool for all citizens, on-demand governance and services, and digital empowerment of citizens.
Impact of Digital India Programme On-Farm Productivity And Income
The Digital India programme has helped the agricultural sector in many ways. Digital technologies including the Internet, mobile technologies, data analytics, artificial intelligence, digital services, and applications are transforming agriculture and the food system. The impact of the Digital India programme on farm productivity and income are:
- Technological interventions enable farmers to collect, view and evaluate crop and soil conditions at various stages of production in a convenient and cost-effective manner. Remote sensing, ground sensors, unmanned aerial photography, market analysis and more are used for described benefits. All these digital technologies help in farm productivity and farmers’ income.
- Digital India can serve as preliminary evidence to provide an opportunity to identify potential problems and address them in a timely manner.
- Better market pricing and lower transaction costs are where Digital India will have the biggest impact. It could link every farmer to every part of the nation. By doing so, farmers would be able to reduce the cost they pay to intermediaries and increase their earnings.
- Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning (AI/ML) algorithms can generate real-time actionable insights to help improve crop yield, control pests, assist in soil screening, provide actionable data for farmers and reduce their workload.
- Blockchain technology provides tamper-proof and accurate data on farms, stocks, fast and secure transactions and food traceability. Thus, farmers do not have to depend on documents or files to record and store important data. This is an important focus area under the Digital India programme.
- Digital technology can also help governments to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of existing policies and programmes and drive better growth. For example, free high-quality satellite imagery significantly reduces the cost of monitoring many agricultural activities. This could enable the government to move towards a more targeted policy that pays (or penalizes) farmers based on environmental performance.
- With the Direct Cash Transfer system replacing agricultural subsidies, digital India would help the government reach the needy and underprivileged farmers. This would contribute to higher agricultural productivity and lower farmer debt loads.
- The use of mobile money has given customers in rural areas access to enormous options. Farmers may obtain credit and support savings through digital channels, which allow them to avoid substandard banking infrastructure. Initiatives like the PM Jan Dhan Yojana and Bhim, among others, may be crucial. This way online banking helps in farm productivity and farmers’ income.
- Ultimately, digital technologies can support trade in agricultural and food products by connecting private sector suppliers to new markets and provide governments with new ways to monitor and enforce standards, as well as provide faster and more efficient frontiers, and processes, which are necessary for perishable products.
Steps Taken By The Government To Improve Digital India
From time to time Government of India took a number of steps to improve Digital India. These are
- The government provides a framework for an India Digital Ecosystem of Agriculture(IDEA), that establishes an integrated agricultural data architecture. It would involve the use of public data that links them to digital land registers. The step will act as a breeding ground for building Agri solutions using new technologies to explore the contribution to creating an ecosystem for agricultural development in India.
- The National e-Governance Plan in Agriculture (NeGP-A), allocates funds to States for projects using modern technology E.g. Artificial Intelligence (AI), Mechanical Engineering (ML), Robotics, Drones, Data Analysis, and Blockchain, etc. are developed under the plan.
- The Government of India has launched the National Agriculture Market (e-NAM) system to create a transparent online competitive bidding system that will make it easier for farmers to get benefits from their produce.
- To make agriculture machinery support more transparent, the government has developed a DBT(Direct benefit transfer), a central performance testing portal for agricultural machinery, and a FARMS mobile application.
- Investment in digital interconnection and fibre-optic infrastructure is a worthy activity in the projects covered by the Central Industries’ Financing System Scheme under the Agricultural Infrastructure Fund. The programme provides support for building infrastructure according to crops and farm equipment in the community.
- The National Mission on agricultural extension and technology aims to strengthen agricultural extension so that farmers can receive the right technology and better agronomic methods. This is intended to be accomplished by interactive information transmission techniques, the application of ICT, the popularisation of contemporary technology, capacity building, etc.
- Bharat Nirman is an initiative to develop and improve fundamental rural infrastructure. This plan intends to improve rural communications infrastructure by 40% and provide telecommunication facilities to remote rural areas. There has been a rise in teledensity in rural areas under Bharat Nirman.
- Different kind of app has also been developed to improve Digital India. Such as
- Farm Mech App deals with decision support in choosing the right farm equipment for the five major crops of Tamil Nadu. It also has a strong network of over 2250 individual recruitment service providers on the Android platform.
- Farm Safety: This all provides safety instructions and information about safety equipment to avoid accidents when using different types of farm equipment.
- Rooftop Water Balance Model (Mobile App): Useful for defining design requirements for decision makers as to how water savings and water security can result from rooftop water collection systems.