Most people unaware of Digital India initiatives

Most people unaware of Digital India initiatives

By ANUBHAV PARSHEERA & PRADHUMAN SODHA | NEW DELHI | 26 March, 2016
Senior citizens are wary of new technology, others are concerned about security.
Digital India’s initiatives and services are not being availed of by most people because of a lack of awareness about them. General enquiries made by these reporters revealed that services like e-Vahan and Digi-Locker, which were introduced to make the common man’s life much easier and to increase transparency and efficiency in government work, are to a large extent unknown. And these are just two instances. 
e-Vahan Bima, an electronic motor insurance service that will allow drivers and traffic police authorities to access car insurance documents digitally through smart-phones, and Digi-Locker, which allows citizens to safely store their physical documents in a digital form on an online cloud, are not being utilised by people on a grand scale. With just 11 lakh users and a repository of 18 lakh documents, Digi-Locker has achieved a fraction of its potential.
“Yes it is a fact that digital services can only be used by people who are conversant with technology and our country has a considerable digital divide. The hope that a computer in every home will bridge the gap did not really materialise. Mobile phone apps and Aadhaar card-enabled services will be path breaking in this scenario. This is why we have made apps that are mobile compliant and very user friendly,” says Debabrata Nayak, project director, National E-Governance Divison.
Paperwork is an integral part of government offices, and often results in a painstaking process for a citizen. Digi-Locker is aimed at doing away with this aspect of the office experience. Though some say services like this would make their life easier, others like M.L. Sharma fear that this new technology would be too difficult for senior citizens like him to use. “It is very difficult to acclimatise yourself to these new technologies that have come after you have already lived more than half your life. I hope that they don’t make it mandatory for everyone to have a digital locker. It is too much of a hassle to remember all the passwords and codes. I would rather prefer to do business the usual way,” said Sharma.
A number of people, who were told about Digi-Locker, expressed their worry over the security in the virtual world. But, Nayak said, “People are already sharing scanned copies of their IDs and address proof documents via email. With this application all they have to do is upload the documents and citizen consent is required before the documents are shared or verified each time.”
Though the public is in two minds about Digi-Locker, e-Vahan is being perceived as a helpful improvement from an archaic procedure. When people were explained the purpose of e-Vahan, they said it was an advantage to have it.
Though the public is in two minds about Digi-Locker, e-Vahan is being perceived as a helpful improvement from an archaic procedure. When people were explained the purpose of  e-Vahan, they said it was an advantage to have it.
“The Quick Response (QR) code feature of the e-Vahan service will help us do our work more efficiently and with greater transparency,” said a traffic police officer. “It is good because it will save a lot of time. Despite being an important procedure, stopping drivers and checking their papers can sometimes be tedious as it takes a long time. So if something can be done to reduce the time it takes it should be a good thing,” said Rakesh, who commutes from Gurgaon to Noida for work regularly. 
According to the Motor Vehicle Act 1988, it is a criminal offence to drive vehicles in public spaces without insurance. Despite this 45% to 55% of vehicles on Indian roads are uninsured, according to a recent study by Insurance Information Bureau of India (IIB). The QR code feature of the e-Vahan Bima will solve this problem. The IRDAI has asked all insurers to provide a QR code on the insurance policy so that the authorities can access all the data regarding the vehicle by scanning the code. “All motor policies issued on or after 1st of December, 2015 shall essentially contain a Quick Response Code. This QR Code will be used to verify the authenticity of the electronic policy,” states a circular of the IRDAI. According to officials, the QR code will increase compliance and increase penetration of motor insurance as it puts a stop to the black economy.
 

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