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 Annual NeSDA Way Forward Report 2023 |

 Annual NeSDA Way Forward Report 2023

Context:

∙ Recently, the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG) has released the ‘Annual NeSDA Way Forward Report’ for 2023.

About the Report

∙ It was released by the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG), Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions.

∙ It highlights the significant progress made by the States and UTs during the year under mandatory e-Services and total e-Services under the NeSDA Framework.

Key Highlights of NeSDA 2023: 

∙ e-Services: As per the latest figures, the states and UTs are providing a total of 16,487 e-Services in December, 2023 as against 11,614 in April, 2023.

∙ The UT of Jammu and Kashmir topped the list of States/UTs with the maximum number of e-Services, providing 1,117 e-Services.

∙ Saturation Level: A saturation level of 76% of possible mandatory e-Services has been achieved by States and UTs, an increase from 69% under NeSDA 2021.

∙ State’s Performance: The States of Kerala, Assam and Odisha, besides the UT of Jammu and Kashmir, are providing hundred per cent e-Services through their respective unified portals.

The National e-Governance Service Delivery Assessment (NeSDA) Framework:– It was, launched in 2018, conceptualised with an overall objective to measure the depth and effectiveness of existing e-Governance service delivery mechanisms.a. Adoption of e-Service delivery through a single unified portal by states and UTs is a major objective of it.– It is based on the Online Service Index (OSI) of UNDESA eGovernment Survey, and has been customised for the Indian federal structure and the e-Governance landscape of the States and UTs.Categorisation of States:– To account for the variations in the size and diversity of the States, they have been categorised into three groups:a. North East States and Hill States (11)b. Union Territories (7), andc. Remaining States (18)

About e-Services

∙ It refers to services that make use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).

∙ It constitutes the online services available on the Internet, whereby a valid transaction of buying and selling (procurement) is possible.

Significances of e-Services

∙ E-services have a significant impact on India’s socio-economic landscape. It enhances the governance, boosting economic growth, and improving the ease of doing business in India. These include:

∙ Digital Infrastructure: India has set an ambitious target of doubling its economy to $5 trillion in five years.

∙ The country has made many efforts to become more digitised, and the Digital India Mission is envisioned to be created on digital security and trust.

∙ E-commerce: The e-commerce sector in India is the fastest-growing sector and is expected to grow at a 41% Compound Annual Growth Rate that will cross USD 103 billion by 2020.

∙ In 2015-16, e-commerce spending was 2% of total retail spending and has become a key driver to create new markets. It is expected to contribute 4% of GDP by 2020.

∙ Electronic Banking: E-banking has considerable growth potential in India due to the huge number of internet users (nearly 700 million internet users in 2020, which is the world’s second-largest and is expected to rise to over 974 million users by 2025), rising smartphone and mobile internet users.

∙ Education: Digital education leads to efficiencies in teaching and engaging students. Teachers experience more socio-emotional benefits after learning to use technology in education and report greater efficiency through better content access, more effective lesson planning, and classroom management.

Challenges and Concerns

∙ e-Waste: Growth of ICT sector has enhanced the usage of the electronic equipment exponentially. The consumption of electronic and electrical devices led to e-waste generation by millions of metric tonnes.

∙ Economical Challenges: The low e-readiness rank of India indicates that the use of ICTs in India is very low.

∙ Factors like privacy and security related to user’s personal information, digital divide etc. are also huge challenges for the implementation of e-Governance in India.

∙ E-learning Challenges: The COVID-19 pandemic has rendered India’s education system extremely biassed and faulty. The main thrust of providing learning opportunities while schools are shut is online teaching.

∙ However, this has led to an exacerbation of inequality, pedagogical issues leading to bad quality education, and an unwarranted thrust on online education.

∙ Rural Education Challenges: In rural areas, financial issues, lack of guidance, lack of infrastructure and faculty, and gender inequality pose significant challenges for education.

∙ Remote Work Challenges: India’s remote work ranking has dropped due to struggles in e-infrastructure, low English proficiency, and internet woes.

∙ Telecommunication Act of 2023 Impact: It has introduced several vital changes, but it also has contested provisions for safety standards and public emergencies which give the government unfettered power that can infringe on citizen privacy.

∙ Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC): While ONDC has the potential to revolutionise e-commerce in India, its implementation is complex and faces several challenges.

Related Government Initiatives

∙ e-Kranti (National e-Governance Plan 2.0): It has the vision of ‘Transforming e-Governance for Transforming Governance’.

∙ Key principles of e-Kranti: Transformation and not Translation; Integrated Services and not Individual Services; Government Process Reengineering (GPR) to be mandatory in every MMP; ICT Infrastructure on Demand; Cloud by Default; Mobile First; Fast Tracking Approvals; Mandating Standards and Protocols; Language Localization; National GIS (Geo-Spatial Information System); and Security and Electronic Data Preservation.

∙ The National e-Governance Plan (NeGP): It takes a holistic view of e-Governance initiatives across the country, integrating them into a collective vision.

∙ Various e-services like BHIM-UPI, GeM, GSTN, DigiLocker, UMANG, Jeevan Pramaan, e-Hospital, MyGov, e-NAM, etc., are being provided.

∙ Digital Currency: The digital rupee or Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) is seen as an excellent opportunity for India as it will potentially increase the ease of doing business.

∙ Industry Perspective: The 2024 Interim Budget shows India’s increasing focus on self-reliance through major investments in R&D, defence tech, skilling programs, and startup incentives to boost India’s position as a global tech leader.

Way Forward

∙ Open Digital Ecosystems (ODEs): The government can create digital commons, enable interoperability between various stakeholders, and leverage open source software, data, standards, licences, and APIs to enhance citizen experience.

∙ IndiaStack: This is an open platform initiative that brings opportunities for collaborations with researchers, data scientists, non-profits, and other technical experts.

∙ The goal of IndiaStack is to utilise a unique digital infrastructure to solve India’s hard problems towards presence-less, paperless, cashless service delivery.

∙ Government-as-a-service/platform (GaaP): This model offers a more organised, digital-based service delivery system.∙ By offering a single ID/card for multiple services, the focus has been on building an e-governance ecosystem that removes bureaucratic hurdles for citizens.

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