Constraints to telecom infra handicap digital India

Our Bureau Chennai | Updated on October 09, 2018 Published on October 09, 2018

(from left) Krishnakumar Natarjan, Chairman, CII Connect 2018; M Manikandan, Minister of IT, Tamil Nadu; Santhosh babu, Secretary-Information Technology, Govt of Tamil Nadu at CII Connect 2018 in Chennai on Tuesday

One of the biggest challenges that the Digital India programme faces is inadequacy of required infrastructure, says a KPMG report.

At the heart of the programme enabling government’s multiple digital initiatives and programmes is the telecom infrastructure. To ease the infrastructure roll out, the Centre introduced the Right of Way (RoW) rules in November 2016. However, due to lack of clarity and implementation, the RoW has posed challenges to the sector.

Since tower policies in some States are not aligned with RoW rules, there is considerable delay in deploying the infrastructure for telecom services, said the report ‘Convergence Towards Inclusive Digital Growth’ released at CII Connect 2018 by the Tamil Nadu IT Minister M Manikandan.

Also, phase I of BharatNet was completed in December 2017, missing the revised deadline of March by nine months,

On Smart Cities mission, the report said that from about 3,000 Smart City projects in implementation to providing billions in incentives, the government has taken numerous steps to cater to growing urbanisation. However, the mission , though ambitious, is facing challenges like lack of skilled manpower, insufficient funds, non-existent security framework and absence of coordination between the Centre and States.

Lack of awareness about digital platforms could also dent the vision of the government’s Digital India programme. Due to low awareness of internet banking and other digital services, cash continues to be the preferred mode of transaction for a majority of merchants..

Absence of internet, unavailability of digital services in local languages and a sizeable number of population without computer or laptop are a stumbling block to gaining widespread digital literacy, the report said.

On cybersecurity, with the substantial amount of data generated by numerous Digital India programmes, data security has emerged a critical challenge for the government. In 2017, about 3.2 million records were either lost, stolen or exposed in the country.

In May 2017, over 130 million Aadhaar numbers and bank account details of about 100 million people were leaked through government portals, the report said quoting publicly available information.

In its five major recommendations, KPMG suggested to the government to develop digital infrastructure, ensure data security, upgrade economic curriculum, need for clear regulatory guidelines and greater autonomy for academia for ‘inclusive growth.’

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Published on October 09, 2018
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