Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
Union cabinet has approved PM Gramin Digital SakshartaAbhiyan (PMGDISHA) to make 6 crore households digitally literate. This is a significant scheme which aims to help the common man to understand the nuances of the changing medium of communication, especially payment. The outlay for this project is Rs.2,351.38 crore to usher in digital literacy in rural India by March,.2019.
The ICRIER had carried out a survey which revealed that penetration of ordinary mobiles would increase by 10% then the GDP would increase by 1.2%, if broadband penetration increased by 10% then the increase in the GDP was 2.7% and if the local, state and central government services, land records, tax information, health information, agricultural information is provided on mobile phones then GDP could as much increase by 3.2%.
Thus, PMGDISHA is a very ambitious scheme on the part of PM.
Now the infrastructure has to be greatly improved to provide these digital services. India’s infrastructure is not at the stage where it can reap the benefits of the Information and Communications technologies and revolutions. World Economic Forum had conducted an Annual Network Readiness Index where they assess the Information and Communication capabilities of 140 nations.
In 2013, India was at 68th position but in 2016 India has slipped to 98th position. This is demands the stepping up of efforts in increasing the building of infrastructural capabilities. It involves bringing optical fibre connectivity in each gram panchayat and also increase the 4G coverage in the villages.Till the time people don’t get the connections, they wont use the smartphones or computers.
Together with it, there needs to be sync between content and user interface. The regional language content has been developed and needs to be more widely propagated. Huge amount of government records have been brought online in a user friendly manner where people with low levels of literacy will be able to understand them.
The government has allocated large amount of resources for the BharatNet project. There is not such a connectivity issue in urban areas but there is a congestion problem because of overuse that there are call drops. So, when the medium of digital payments is being propagated, connections shouldn’t fail during net banking transactions
Another challenge in digital and financial transaction is the security and privacy due to increased threat of cybercrimes. There are lot of apps which are not very secure. The PM said that ‘your fingerprint will be your bank account’. This app is based solely on biometrics which makes it inherently insecure as nowadays, cameras have become so advanced that anything touched by a person can lead to capturing its fingerprints. The digital images of fingerprints are so good that many of the fingerprint scanner cannot distinguish between the fingerprint and its photograph.
So, there is lot of scope for cyber criminals. Hence people have to be trained and given education about the safety of their information, especially financial.
At the same time, it is difficult for rural people to immediately follow the new and on-going developmentsas they have to initially understand the technologies, the procedures and train them to keep information secure.
India needs atleast 1-1.5 million cybersecurity professionals each year to make banking secure. In the smart phones, the apps are vulnerable to man in the browser attacks and man in middle attacks. So a sophisticated cyber-criminal can siphon of thousands and crores of rupees in seconds. Also, these transactions need not be carried out only from India. Internet hackers in European or Latin American countries are already targeting Indian markets. So there is need to see how the apps are structured and whether they adhere to international security standards.
ISO has series called 27004 which means that information is to be kept secured by the organisation. The banks have to follow the standards too but so far they haven’t especially the 20022 standards. The private players are also in the fray and have to take similar initiatives to train their consumers. They have been taking part in cyber security, digital literacy campaigns etc.becauseif they get hit by fraudulent transactions, then they become liable. So they are educating the consumers. So far there is no individual regulator who will look after the individual responsibilities, liabilities for fraudulent transactions. Hence, consumer education has to be done because even well educated and technically conversant people are also falling prey to the scams. Most people ignore such practices despite having knowledge as they prefer ease of use over security.
The public needs to be educated on various fronts like they should not give their bank account number, PIN, OTP, passwords to any one on email or phone.
Training for PMGDISHA
Here, 100% reimbursement is provided to a person if he/she trains someone from SC/ST/BPL people/ASHA workers etc. If someone teaches person from general or OBC category, 75% of the cost to be reimbursed by government and 25% charged from candidate. The cost of training is 500rs.
The recipients can be taught how to email, send and read SMS from banks, when not to click on unknown links or visit websites etc and that it has to be always done by typing the URL, how not to answer to the person who say they are calling from bank and want personal details, how to be careful while giving thumbprints on scanner etc. The basic training can be imparted to people as government has provided money for it and such teaching takes less than few hours/days depending upon the rural population.
As per 71st NSSO Survey on education 2014, only 6% of rural households have a computer. This means that more than 15 crore rural households (@ 94% of 16.85 crore households) do not have computers and a significant number of these households are likely to be digitally illiterate. Thus, PMGDISHA is a step forward in this direction to make these households digitally literate.
Digitally literate persons would be able to operate computers/digital access devices (like tablets, smart phones, etc.), send and receive emails, browse internet, access Government Services, search for information, undertaking cashless transactions, etc. and hence use IT to actively participate in the process of nation building.
Man in the browser
It is a proxy Trojan horse that infects a web browser by taking advantage of vulnerabilities in browser security to modify web pages, modify transaction content or insert additional transactions, all in a completely covert fashion invisible to both the user and host web application.
Man in the middle
It is a computer attack where the attacker secretly relays and possibly alters the communication between two parties who believe they are directly communicating with each other.
Connecting the dots:
Digital India is the new mission of the decade for India. Identify the major roadblocks in achieving this milestone and state how can it be resolved.