The Union Cabinet has displayed unwavering support for Digital India's progression by endorsing a five-year extension of the scheme. An impressive outlay of Rs 14,903 crore has been allocated for this purpose, spanning from FY2021-22 to FY2025-26. Interestingly, the scheme has some special provisions to support the growing Indian Startup Ecosystem, especially in Tier II & Tier III cities.
Digital India Scheme For Startups
Within this substantial allocation, a dedicated portion is earmarked to financially support 1,200 startups located in tier 2 and 3 cities. Notably, this decision stems from the observation that around 57 percent of startups funded through the Startup India Seed Fund Scheme originate from these regions. This emphasis on decentralization holds immense promise for fostering innovation beyond metropolitan hubs.
Digital India's Digilocker Expansion For MSMEs
DigiLocker, the government-operated online repository for official documents, is poised to undergo expansion. This expansion will encompass Medium, Small, and Micro Enterprises (MSMEs), facilitating their access to verified documents essential for securing business loans. This dedicated effort reflects the government's commitment to simplifying bureaucratic processes and fostering ease of business transactions.
Foundation of Digital India Scheme
India's startup culture has experienced an unprecedented surge under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, beginning in 2016. Aiming to fortify the nation's startup ecosystem, the inauguration of the Startup India initiative on January 16, 2016, marked a pivotal moment. The initiative's core objective was to cultivate a robust environment that nurtures innovation and encourages startups to flourish. By achieving this, India aspired to stimulate sustainable economic growth while generating substantial employment prospects.
In order to materialize the ambitious vision of establishing India as a thriving haven for startups, it was imperative to establish the country as digitally self-sufficient and dependable. This gave birth to Digital India, a flagship program introduced by the Government of India on July 1, 2015. Spearheaded by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the program's overarching goal was to orchestrate India's transformation into a digitally empowered society and a knowledge-based economy.
As a result of these strategic endeavors, India has emerged as a fertile breeding ground for startups, securing an impressive global ranking of 3rd within the Startup ecosystem. This ranking extends not only to the startup landscape but also encompasses the number of Unicorns in the nation. Remarkably, India boasts an impressive count of 99,380 recognized startups, a distinction bestowed upon them by DPIIT.
Key Highlights Of Digital Indian Scheme Expansion
1. FutureSkills Prime Programme: Empowering IT Professionals
As a testament to India's dedication to skill enhancement, the FutureSkills Prime Programme will re-skill and up-skill 6.25 lakh IT professionals. This initiative reflects the government's recognition of the paramount importance of staying abreast of technological advancements.
2. Information Security & Education Awareness (ISEA) Programme: Safeguarding Knowledge
Acknowledging the critical nature of information security, 2.65 lakh individuals are slated to receive training under the ISEA Programme. This endeavor aligns with India's commitment to fortifying its cyber defenses.
3. Unified Mobile Application for New-age Governance (UMANG) App Expansion: Accessibility Redefined
The UMANG app/platform is set to undergo a significant expansion, incorporating an additional 540 services. Building upon the existing 1,700 services, this expansion reflects the government's drive to enhance citizen access to governance-related services.
4. National Super Computer Mission: Advancing Computational Prowess
In an ambitious move, the National Super Computer Mission will introduce 9 new supercomputers to complement the existing 18. This step is anticipated to propel India's computational capabilities to unprecedented heights.
5. Bhashini: Bridging Language Barriers Through AI
The innovative AI-enabled multi-language translation tool, Bhashini, will be deployed across all 22 schedule 8 languages. This initiative underscores the government's commitment to promoting linguistic inclusivity.
6. Modernisation of the National Knowledge Network (NKN): Strengthening Educational Institutions
Aiming to bolster the nation's educational landscape, the NKN, connecting 1,787 educational institutions, will undergo modernization. This step seeks to harness technology for educational advancement.
7. Centres of Excellence in Artificial Intelligence: Fostering Innovation
As a strategic move, 3 Centers of Excellence in Artificial Intelligence are set to be established, focusing on health, agriculture, and sustainable cities. These centers are poised to serve as hubs for groundbreaking AI research.
8. Cyber-awareness Courses: Empowering the Youth
Recognizing the significance of cyber awareness, courses targeting 12 crore college students will be introduced. This initiative reflects the government's commitment to cultivating a cyber-resilient generation.
9. Elevating Cybersecurity: Strengthening the Nation's Defenses
India's cybersecurity landscape will witness a transformation through the development of tools and the integration of over 200 sites with the National Cyber Coordination Centre. This comprehensive approach underscores the nation's commitment to digital safety.
The resounding triumph of startups in India can be attributed to the nation's remarkable evolution into a digital powerhouse. This digital metamorphosis has not only facilitated the ease of doing business but has also amplified the capacity for innovation and entrepreneurial growth.