Digital India – digitally ahead

e-kranti logo
The logo I have designed for National e-governance program e-kranti

Digital India a way to a better future –

  1. Digital India – enabling commodities exchange (e-mandi)
Image – pixabay

Now thanks to digital revolution Indian farmers can create account in commodities exchange and sell their products directly in the exchange. They get better price and can directly operate without the risk of being cheated by bigger players and aggregators. Even though e-choupal is a similar platform created for this but their farmers do not get full freedom of operation. If they can directly take part in commodities exchanges and get exposure to global market they will be in a better position to negotiate and obtain better profits. These farmers can also play in the futures and options market with their product and choose what product to go for cultivation based on market trends. A digital revolution in rural India can really show a new way of profit to modern day Indian farmers.

  1. Digital India – revolutionizing education
Digital education
Digital education (pixabay)

It is a well known and well debated topic that our education system has become archaic and obsolete. Many modern entrepreneurs have started innovative ways of teaching our children. The education that is more practical oriented and the system that is more adaptable to changes and is constantly updated is the need of the day. But these individual efforts are limited very much to pockets and to limited audience. The need of the hour in this decentralization process is also to centralize the best practices from across the globe.

In this process the university / board based education system has its own shortfalls. Here the students need to study whatever the board or university teaches them or set criteria for them to learn. For example if one needs a combination of subjects like history and statistics one may not get that in most universities. Also as the subjects are continuously evolving it may not be possible for any single university to manage upgrading their study material frequently.

An open university system where the student choose the way they want to learn the subjects and from where they want to learn and at what pace enables the students to learn with freedom. In the age of internet the classroom can be in our home and the lessons can be learnt more efficiently. We have already seen many examples of geniuses who are not even 10th standard pass in the conventional education system but they hold many patents against their names. These examples only show us that our children should not be confined in the limits of our individual boards and universities that can dictate what one needs to learn.

  1. Digital India – Bringing lessons from life
Digital lessons from life
Life lessons (image – pixabay)

Thanks to digital India now the lessons from life is at our desktops. Lessons of history and geography do not need to be confined in the pages of our books and left to the interpretation of the authors. In digitally revolutionized India students of any age can learn lessons from life directly from the historical places and historians and researchers directly. In fact research projects and documentaries shown on History channel or similar other knowledge channels makes our study books redundant. This new form of knowledge and interactions takes our interests to a different level. YouTube and social media gives us ample opportunity of gather knowledge and also innovate based on knowledge. These new channels bring lessons from our lives to our bedrooms and also make the fixed school or college timing redundant.

In digitally transformed India thus farmers and daily wage labourers too get an opportunity to learn. The knowledge is not limited to classrooms and the curriculum set by the universities and boards. A farmer may be illiterate but still he can gain knowledge pertaining to his produce from these alternate modes of knowledge transfer.

  1. Digital India – Making single window system work
The single window - digital windows work better
The single window – digital windows work better

Thanks to the digital form of revolution it is possible that single window system can really work in India. Andhra Pradesh as a state has already shown that and there is no new information that is required there. This digitization can be extended to the entire India and all states and UTs can adopt that model of streamlining the govt. processes. Since the various govt. dept.s. are integrated online it is possible to run this system efficiently.

Lower bandwidth and spreading the infrastructure to rural areas is a big challenge for govt. today. But with the proposed plan of fiber optics networking in place if the network issues are resolved India will very soon experience a new future.

  1. Digital India – Bringing efficiency in logistics
Efficient logistics (image pixabay)
Efficient logistics (image pixabay)

Even though India is among top 5 in many foodgrains production but still around 33% of its population live under poverty line and about a fourth of its population goes hungry (consumes lesser than 1800 calories every day). This is when Indian attained self sufficiency in terms of food grain production. But all this produce is either exported or rotten / wasted in the distribution channels. A 2011 UN and FAO study shows that wastage of fruits and vegetables in India is as high as 45%. Many a times we have come across situations where farmers have invested more money to grow a certain vegetable but overproduction of that vegetable forced them to incur huge loss.

A digital revolution and an e-mandi system (discussed earlier) can help farmers get the right information in time so that they can trade their produce in open market. But other than that also needed an efficient logistics system that can help the vegetables reach the end consumer without any wastage.

This challenge can be efficiently managed by creating bigger farmer co-operatives that uses technology and various modern logistical techniques to create efficiency for everyone in the system. This network if set up in all states can be effectively utilized for everyone’s benefit. The produce can be tracked easily using GPRS system and demand supply information can be obtained before hand with the help of online tools.

Even though e-mandi system and participation by ordinary farmers in futures and options trading through e-revolution can help percolate the much needed demand supply information to poor farmers, this system of e-logistics management will help them efficiently manage and upkeep the solution. This will act as the backbone of supply network without which we will not be able to achieve food security in true sense.

  1. Digital India – Intelligent railways – Ticketing
Ticket vending machine is similar to ATMs
Ticket vending machine is similar to ATMs

There is a simple way we can bring efficiency in Indian railways using technology. The railway need to have a prepaid card recognized by its system and set up ticket vending machines throughout all parts of the city. These will act as any bank ATM but vending all forms of railway tickets. The  user just selects the route and buys the ticket from these kiosks and pays through railway cards. These cards can be loaded through online or 24X7 call centers.

This facility will help railways create a hassle free network for its commuters and also reduce its overheads in terms of manpower and other recurring costs. Since this system will be managed by technology usage this will also eliminate the need of standing in long queues. The current system of online ticketing has its own challenges and people complain very often of non availability of tickets. Also not everyone can access online portals to buy tickets in time. These kiosks will help railways to make their processes more efficient.

  1. Digital India – Intelligent Railways – Luggage tracking

As mentioned in the previous point that Railways can be made more efficient by giving freedom to railway commuters of buying tickets from anywhere they want.

Track luggage - digitally
Track luggage – digitally

Now luggage tracking also can be easy for long distant trains. The tickets need to carry a bar code and each passenger need to weigh their luggage before boarding their train. That creates a data about their number of bags and total weight carried by each passenger. In case of extra weight carried the passenger pays extra money through his card by simply swipe system in the train. This can be totally free from any manual control and this weighing of their luggage and swiping in the train records their presence there. If this process is not followed then the passenger is marked absent. And the seat is shown free for allocation for next wait-listed passenger.

  1. Digital India – Intelligent Railways – Seat allocation and NO show management
No show management of future
No show management of future

The trains will be fitted with centralised railway information system pertaining to that train and each coach will have digital display of allocated seats instead of printed list of passengers. The passengers are required to swipe their tickets in the system within first hour of train departure anywhere in the train to inform the system about their presence.

The railway tracking system installed inside each coach (where the passenger swipes his ticket) gives him an option to confirm availability of all passengers travelling in that ticket. This automatically updates the railway database and the TTE can check all the information in his handheld smart device. This way the wait-list information is automatically updated and all passengers can view the list from trains digital display walls.

If a particular berth is found to be free even after the designated time the berth is automatically allocated next wait-listed passenger. This way corruption by TTEs to allocate seats based on money will reduce.

  1. Digital India – Efficiency in shopping grocery items
Grocery delivery - more efficient
Grocery delivery – more efficient

Already we see that in cities grocery is delivered at our doorstep. This delivery is only a phone call away. They do face scalability issue today. But the future of digital India lies in efficient distribution system and key to success is delivering farm fresh products in shortest possible time.

In digital India, people will order their vegetables through mobile apps and the mobile vegetable vans will deliver vegetables at their doorstep. The app will have capability to show where the nearest vegetable cart is.

Also the operators of this system can easily aggregate their orders, keep them in queue, replenish each mobile cart with required vegetables in time so that these carts can deliver the required goods in time. Once the order is placed through the app, the nearest cart packs the order according to order sizes and the same company carts collaborate to deliver the complete order in time.

For example, Mr Basu places an order using the app. At the time of giving the order cart A is near his house and thus the order will be placed with cart A. If Cart A do not have the complete order to replenish he will either confirm the level to which he can fulfil and the rest goes to a next available cart. Mr Basu gets the information instantly as the stock level of each cart is managed by the software and the stock level gets updated as that is being used up. In this way a network of mobile vans can replenish the orders more efficiently to the satisfaction of all concerned.

  1. Digital India – empowering people to start their own ventures
More entrepreneurs
More entrepreneurs

Digital India can empower all Indians to merchandise their products to millions of their customers. It can provide a platform through which such buyers and sellers meet and create business. Since people gets direct access to their own marketplace they will be more motivated to continue with their venture and make profits.

Since this will be based on a pull system rather than a push system that creates unnecessary inventory in the system the manufacturers run from less chance of producing waste.

  1. Digital India – Revolutionising judicial system
Digital India - revolutionizing our judicial system
Digital India – revolutionizing our judicial system

The important need for Indian people is digitization of crime data and legal system. Work towards digitization of judicial system is already in progress but digitization of our legal system is still a distant dream. I have proposed a solution around the same in 2009 but that is still under consideration of our Law Ministry.

The detailed recommendation already made with the ministry outlined the ways of achieving digitization in our courtrooms and digitization of all documents records with authentication. There is possibility of creating digital database of all evidences including objects and tools used as evidences. Anything other than documentary evidence can be recorded with proper images and specification details in digital format whereas the original object evidence is kept as object. In this way we can minimize to a great extent the need of court repository and only such object evidences are kept in original form.

Also if any documentary evidence need to be verified those can be recalled from the parties for verification. In any case before putting  any such document as evidence those need to be authenticated by the court and transformed into digital format and saved.

Also digitization of court procedure will enable recalling any documentary evidence or any order without any procedural delay.

In modern digitized courtrooms are wi-fi connected and the judges and advocates use tablets instead of think files containing court papers. A secured connection with proper access control gives the concerned people access to required documentation. People submit verified e-documents instead of Xerox copies of documents.

This way we can eliminate the danger of losing court papers which is a frequent happening in all our courts across India. That will save a lot of court days and justice delivery will be faster.

  1. Digital India – Consolidation of all payments (e wallet)

Like the way I have proposed a pre-loaded card for booking railway tickets, there needs to be a pre-loaded card accepted by all merchandises for monetary transactions. This can be refilled from any bank account using call center help and at the same time it needs to protected from any kind of fraud. This may also be used as another identity card for citizens.

This e-wallet needs to be accepted in all buses and small shops where the amount gets deducted from the cards balance. Since this only need database of this card the consolidation will be easier. This e-wallet will eliminate the need of transacting in cash if the per transaction cost is maintained at a lower level.

That can be made feasible by consolidating payments for various entities. For instant, if it is found that the card needs a minimum transaction amount of Rs. 200 and if a person wants to board a bus and pay using this card, then he can get a season ticket valid for 20 rides instead of getting one ticket worth Rs. 10. This kind of consolidation in different entities will enable the system to handle less cash and will make all transactions very efficient.

13. Digital India – Big Data for making BIG difference

Chasing big data (Image linked to source)
Chasing big data (Image linked to source)

Big data is the big differentiator today. Cloud computing, virtual data centers and public and private clouds for managing data is a big challenge for any global corporate. The data generated in social platforms by increasingly growing netizens of India is invaluable in terms of data mining possibilities. If the junk is removed from this data then big data can make a lot of difference in terms of understanding people’s behaviour and social norms and many more behavioural norms. This can create a big impact in creating better governance model.

We have already seen how the government authorities like police or law implementing agencies are using social platforms to connect with the citizens and collaborate with them to ensure safety of citizens. The same citizens are generating terabytes of data on social media and the data can be effectively mined to get more efficiency in various social reforms areas. This kind of big data analysis can create huge difference at the government level.

For instance, our government can analyze social behaviour of people of certain demographics to understand the social programs required by the set of people. Government can look into the information by generated from big data analytics from social sectors.

We can also look into the possibility of looking into standalone objects as data source. For example, a standalone lamppost in our streets can generate information about the pollution level of that area or can give information about traffic or crime committed.

If such stand alone objects, buildings, overhead telephone cables are used as source of data that data can be effectively used by general public by the help of data mining engines. For example, imagine an app on your mobile that tells you the roads that are clogged on your way to office and suggest alternate route to office. This app can use the data generated by the lamp posts, cars stuck in traffic or even from tweets of the people stuck to understand the traffic level and time required to reach one’s destination. This kind of analytics will also help the government in effective management of traffic. For example, the traffic guard comes to know about a vehicle being broken down in any particular road and starts action much before a traffic jam starts.

Imagine big data analytics being used in our railways where two trains talk to each other by analyzing the data generated by the other. In that way each will come to know if there is another train on the same track or imagine railway track being intelligent enough to transmit data of a crack developed in its way so that all trains on that route can be stopped. Railways will be able to avoid all major accidents.

14. Digital India – can we have digital Cricket, Football or Hockey

Let’s imagine more and see how digital India can revolutionize our games. What if the cricket bat and ball could talk to each other and behave according to the behaviour of the other or what if the hockey stick could generate the right force at the right angle to the hit the ball to goal?

If the above was possible probably our government would have controlled betting effectively.

The imagination can be stretched far beyond. What if the big data analytics is done to analyze the mood of every people and play music in their ears that can be caught through a specially designed headphones so that people of India is always in good mood and highly productive. That will be a positive step to curb crime or violence, too.

When it comes to government and good governance digital India has huge potential. If we keep thinking we will keep getting such potential abound all across. We only need to tap them in time and create opportunities for everyone.

Intel with its state-of-the-art innovations is creating #DigitalIndia. I am sure we will soon see these dreams becoming a reality in India.


All image courtesy except the logo is pixabay


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