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MeitY expenditure under Digital India has doubled: IT Minister

The Ministry of Electronics and IT’s expenditure under the Digital India programme has more than doubled to over IN ₹3,328 crores (about US $482 million) in FY 2018-2019 from the previous fiscal.

The IT Minister, Ravi Prasad, on Thursday informed Parliament that expenditure by MeitY under the Digital India programme was IN ₹1,453 crores (about US $210 million) in FY 2015-2016, IN ₹1,217 crores (about US $167 million) in FY 2016-2017, IN ₹1,407 crores (about US $204 million) in FY 2017-2018, and IN ₹3,328 crores (about US $482 million) in FY 2018-2019.

In a written reply to the Rajya Sabha, the Minister said that each project has its own budgetary requirement and accordingly, project-plans are charted out by the implementing ministries and departments. Budget details are being maintained by the concerned ministries and departments and states and union territories.

He said that under the Digital India programme, the Ministry has effectively utilised digital technologies to transform the lives of people while ensuring the digital inclusion of all segments in the country.

He pointed out that as of 24 June 2019, 1.23 billion residents have been provided with biometric-based digital identities (Aadhaar) as compared to 610 million residents in 2013-2014.

Aadhaar combined with initiatives like the Digital Locker, eSign, and various forms of digital payments have paved the way for citizens to get access to national services on their mobile phones instead of having to run to multiple government offices, he said.

Moreover, digital payment transactions have grown multi-fold from 3.16 billion transactions in 2014-2015 to 21.82 billion transactions in 2018-2019.

He said under the Modified Special Incentive Package (M-SIPS), 201 applications with proposed investment of about IN ₹52,083 crores (about US $7.5 billion) have been approved, while 20 applications with proposed investments of about IN ₹5,048 crores (about US $732 million) have been recommended by the Appraisal Committee for approval.

Digital India is a government flagship program. The rate of technology adoption increased between 2013 and 2018, bolstered by government initiatives and mobile penetration. During this time, the country clocked 1.22 billion Aadhaar registrations, 870 million Aadhaar-linked bank accounts, and 98 million daily e-government transactions. Building on this foundation, India can further scale-up its digital economy.

In a memorandum to the commission, MeitY said that the Digital India programme requires unprecedented IT capabilities for states and union territories to achieve its objectives and transforms India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy.

The continuation of the ICT infrastructure and capacity building schemes is vital to bolstering ICT in the country.

Also, Digital India’s key vision area is to provide digital infrastructure as a utility to every citizen, starting from delivering digital identities to 1.3 billion citizens and linking about 250,000 village council through optical fibres.

OpenGov reported earlier that India has the potential to create over US $1 trillion of economic value from the digital economy by 2025, up from around US $200 billion currently.

About 50% of the potential economic value could come from new digital ecosystems in diverse sectors, including, among others, financial services, agriculture, healthcare, logistics, jobs, and e-governance.

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