Modi government, which completed one year at the Centre, is preparing for a big-ticket launch of Digital India, taking technology to the villages and block levels, through merchandise, hackathons and games spread over a week-long initiative across the country.
The National e-Governance Division (NeGD), under the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY), has empanelled agencies for a messaging campaign, gamification, printing and merchandise, advertising and creatives, including advertising for rural outreach and social media.
Working directly with the Prime Minister’s Office, NeGD has been tasked with preparing for the launch since February. Though no formal dates have been fixed yet, the Digital India Week (DIW) is likely to take off in July, and will involve stakeholders across state governments and ministries, and is expected to be the flagship programme for the second year of the BJP government, ET has learnt.
“They really want to make this the biggest programme of the second year. The idea is that many things have been done in the digital space that need to get highlighted,” an individual with knowledge of the plans told ET.
The event is certainly being planned on a grand scale, according to the tender documents issued by the government. The government has asked for merchandise such as t-shirts, caps, trophies, pen drives and leather cloth and plastic bags. A gamification agency will work on the portals, mobile applications and social media handles to boost participation. The messaging agency must be able to carry out, track, record and analyse 50 lakh to one crore messages a day.
The event will be launched by the Prime Minister through a radio address on “Mann ki Baat”, which will be followed by events at gram panchayats, block and sub divisional headquarters, district and state levels, eventually culminating in a national event, according to a presentation seen by ET.
As part of the run-up to the DIW, events such as hackathons, training programmes and webinars would be held in schools and colleges, followed by crowdsourcing ideas through the government’s portal MyGov, as well as a new Digital India portal that is being designed.
“It is a typical BJP-style campaign. The Prime Minister does not want to hold the final day event in Delhi and the location is being finalised. All state and line ministries have been involved, and are being asked to showcase e-services and best practices, along with the launch of some programmes like digital locker,” said another person familiar with the plans being rolled out for the DIW. The watch words of the campaign will be “inform, educate and engage”, which will include taking the message of Digital India to the masses through educational institutions, industry and government agencies. “It will educate people on various important services such as digital literacy, cyber hygiene and e-waste management, and also look at engaging a large number of people, especially youth on a continuous basis,” said a person familiar with the ongoing preparation. NeGD is looking at using the principles of gamification to gather feedback. Experts on e-governance say this is a good move as most e-governance projects, across the world, fail because there’s not enough buy-in from stakeholders or the goals aren’t communicated widely to the public.
“E-governance needs evangelising. That is what this campaign looks like it will do. Some parts are dated ” such as posters and the print elements. But this is a good idea.