[Solved] Implementation of information and Communication Technology (ICT) based Projects / Programmes usually suffers in terms of certain vital factors. Identify these factors, and suggest measures for their effective implementation ( UPSC GS-2 Mains 2019)

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is the backbone of third industrial revolution which has helped the world to attain fair degree of automation. When coupled with social sector development projects, service delivery to public and public infrastructure development it has proved itself time and again in effective implementation. But owing to level of digital literacy in India ICT based projects have encountered several drawbacks. Government of India and state government have provided a number of ICT based solutions to its citizens which have not been as successful as envisioned.

 Factors which leads to failure of ICT based programmes and projects: • Lack of digital literacy among targeted beneficiaries is a vital factor behind failure of these programmes.

 • For example, literacy rate among farming communities in India is very low (digital illiteracy: about 90% of Indian population is digitally illiterate) due to which they are unable to use ICT based platforms such as Kisaan Knowledge Management System, National Agriculture Marketing Portal, Agmarknet Portal e.t.c.

 • Complexity in some platforms such as Goods and service tax which requires filling online forms and details which caused extra economic burden on businessmen to hire employees for it is another example of unpopularity of ICT among beneficiaries.

 • Lack of user education and there are limited facilities to train personnel. India needs over one million cyber security experts to check and monitor the growing menace of digital crime.

 • There is a vital gap in information sharing mechanism as digitally literate persons also could not access these platforms due to lack of knowledge about them. It happens due to lack of advertisement and awareness by the government.

 • Unavailability of telecommunication and internet services also hinders the accessibility of ICT based platforms in remote rural areas.

 • Privacy concerns and threat of ransom ware.

 • Slow roll-out of Wi-Fi hotspots and the slow speed, in comparison to other developed nation.

 Measures to be taken to successfully implement ICT based programmes and projects: • Complexity of the serving platforms must be reduced so that beneficiaries can easily access them with little knowledge.

 • Training – Making rural population familiar with the use of computer and basic functions. Example – PMGDISHA

 • Campaigns targeted to educate beneficiaries about accessibility of these platforms should be promoted by live demonstration and/or through teleconferencing. Example – National Optical Fiber Network: to ensure broadband connectivity.

 • Educating vulnerable sections such as unorganized workers through top to bottom approach in industries in which they work will help reap to benefits of these platforms.

 • Connecting Gram panchayats and remote corners of the countries will help to fulfill the ambitions as envisaged by ICT based programmes.

 • Capability building measures of the people at the grassroots level.

 • Nudge and motivate citizenry to make use of the information and communication technology (ICT) mechanisms. Example: incentives for digital transactions.

 • Enactment of Data protection bill.

 Governments move to provide accessibility to ICT based programmes:

 • Government has setup Common Service Centers (CSCs) across the country to help marginalized section of community to access benefits of these platforms.

 • CSCs are working in 1.8 lakh gram panchayats and very soon it will reach 2.5 lakh gram panchayats by end of the year. Close to 2 lakh CSCs are currently operational in the country.

 • Apart from it, government has setup service centers for various e-services in banks, post-offices and other government offices.

 • Further, improvement of internet connectivity through National Optical Fibre Network under Bharat Net will boost accessibility to these platforms.

 Information and communications technology (ICT) represents an enormous opportunity to introduce significant and lasting positive change across the developing world. The rapid penetration of mobile access in particular has resulted in considerable improvements in the lives of the poor in both rural and urban contexts.

 The effectiveness of such ICT projects suffer from the following vital factors:

1. digital divide : rural and urban, rich and poor, men and women

 2. digital illiteracy: about 90% of Indian population is digitally illiterate

3. Slow roll-out of Wi-Fi hotspots and the slow speed, in comparison to other developed nation.

 4. Most small and medium scale industry is struggling to adapt to modern technology.

 5. Entry level smartphones have limited capabilities for smooth internet access, and the outreach of the ‘smartphonesʼ is limited.

 6. There is an absence of enough skilled manpower in digital technology.

 7. Lack of user education and there are limited facilities to train personnel. India needs over one million cybersecurity experts to check and monitor the growing menace of digital crime.

 8. Privacy concerns and threat of ransom ware.

 9. Language barrier. Most of the ICT services are available in English.

 Suggestions:

 1. Literacy – Steps should be taken towards making people digitally literate. Example – National Digital Literacy Mission

 2. Training – Making rural population familiar with the use of computer and basic functions.

 Example – PMGDISHA

 3. Accessibility – Making internet accessible to all. Example – National Optical Fibre Network: to ensure broadband connectivity.

 4. Make ICT services available in all the regional languages.

 5. Affordability – Reducing phone prices and internet service prices.

 6. Nudge and motivate citizenry to make use of the information and communication technology (ICT) mechanisms.

 Example: incentives for digital transactions.

 7. Reducing the trust deficit that people have with respect to IT enabled services – One come across individuals who would not use ATM but rather visit bank branch and withdraw money.

 8. Enactment of Data protection bill.

 It is quite obvious that digitalization improves G2C,G2Gand G2B connectivity with improved efficiency, accountability and transparency gaining customized satisfactory approach but it is true that it need to be backed by strong legislature ensuring privacy and safety with the aim that even the last man must be capable of harnessing its benefit.

Conclusion:

 For a vast country like India, it becomes imperative to provide citizen centric solutions based on ICT to reduce congestion in government offices and provide alternative of effective service delivery to its citizens. United Nation declaring right to internet as basic right of an individual must be fulfilled by state along with imparting of education related to ICT operation. It will help India by providing social sector services and better technologies and expertise to its citizens at their doorsteps.

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