India Project Notice - Supporting Digitalization In Government For Improved Delivery Of And Access To Digital Government Services

Project Notice

PNR 59921
Project Name Supporting Digitalization in Government for Improved Delivery of and Access to Digital Government Services
Project Detail Project Name Supporting Digitalization in Government for Improved Delivery of and Access to Digital Government Services Project Number 57236-001 Country / Economy India Project Status Approved Project Type / Modality of Assistance Technical Assistance This technical assistance (TA) will support (in selected states of India) (i) improving delivery and access of government to citizen digital services at various levels of government including local government; (ii) enhancing awareness about government to citizen digital services and increasing citizen engagement; and (iii) strengthening the cyber security ecosystem and enhancing the general level of cyber security. The TA provides an opportunity for the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to support Indias story of digital transformation by plugging the gaps in delivery, access, and awareness of government to citizen digital services through an enhanced knowledge support and strengthened planning. The program will be supporting government objectives for digitally enabled service delivery and Digital India program . The TA is consistent with the following operational priorities of Strategy 2030: (i) addressing remaining poverty and reducing inequalities; (ii) Making cities more livable; and (iii) Strengthening governance and institutional capacity. The TA is aligned with the cross cutting theme of digitalization and innovation ecosystem support of ADBs country partnership strategy for India, 20232027 and pillar 1 (accelerate structural transformation and job creation through improving deliver of government to citizen digital services and enhancing cyber security ecosystem) and pillar 3 (deepening social and economic inclusiveness by promoting digital awareness, access and engagement). The KSTA is included in the Indicative Country Pipeline and Monitoring Report (ICPM), 20232025 and aligned with achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This TA complements existing digitalization related TA administered by ADBs South Asia Department (SARD), as it focuses on supporting selected states in India in improving e-governance services, increasing citizen engagement, and strengthening cyber security. Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy Background. While the role of traditional infrastructure has been well recognized, in recent years, the role of digital infrastructure in socio-economic development of the country has assumed an increased importance. India has pioneered uniquely innovative digital projects, implemented population scale transformational projects and ensured digital inclusion with an objective of providing affordable access to digital services to all citizens. Digital enablement led by mobile phone and the Aadhaar number targeted beneficiary identification has provided multiplier effect on social and economic growth. This coupled with Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) products like payment infrastructure (Unified Payments Interface or UPI), e-RUPI, Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC), e-way bill, TReDS for MSMEs, DigiLocker, Co-WIN, etc. have ensured real value for money to consumers while reducing the compliance burden for producers. Favourable demographics, vast expansion of the middle-class, and digital behaviour patterns acted as catalyst for the growth of DPI. Dedicated digital drives across rural areas through ambitious government schemes, like the flagship BharatNet Project Scheme, Telecom Development Plan, Aspirational District Scheme, initiatives in North-Eastern Region through Comprehensive Telecom Development Plan (CTDP) and initiatives towards areas affected by Left Wing Extremism (LWE) etc. have improved accessibility, affordability, connectivity, and inclusivity of rural internet subscription pan-India. Digital India Mission has been playing critical role of digital infrastructure creation, digital delivery of services, and digital literacy. With 865.90 million internet subscriptions in December 2022, up from 238.71 million in 2013, India is the second-largest internet subscriptions market in the world. On the platform of digital adoption, India ranks amongst the top 2 countries globally. However, Indias Internet penetration varied considerably from state to state and differed significantly between men and women and also between urban and rural areas. There is wide differences in tele density across states (ranged from 55.4% in Bihar to 270.6% in Delhi in 2022) and there is still a need to expand and improve digital infrastructure, especially in remote and rural areas. In addition to internet connectivity, other critical enabling factors in the economy that drive the digital transformation process, such as appropriate regulations and policies, basic digital literacy of citizens, and the workforces digital skills, are often lacking in certain regions. Further, insufficient scoping studies on potential digital opportunities and inappropriate project designs often result in sub-optimal benefits from digital development investments. Meeting the full potential of digital technology for development is not straightforward and requires state specific solutions. Three prominent issues or gaps that remain to be fully addressed in e-governance initiatives and digital landscape of government schemes TA are: (i) Interoperability and Integration, particularly at sub national level: Lack of interoperability, standardization, and integration among government systems and databases hinder seamless information exchange and service delivery. Integrating various systems and establishing common standards for data formats and Application Programming Interface (APIs) is necessary to enable efficient collaboration and data sharing. Silos approach also leads to problem of duplications of beneficiaries. API-based, public, societal platforms can play a critical role in triggering and enabling solutions from startups and digital innovators. India will need to create several such catalytic platforms to accelerate capturing the value of the digital economy. Notable steps have been initiated at the central government level like MyScheme e-marketplace scheme and Unified Mobile Application for New-Age Governance (UMANG) . However, there is need to take concerted efforts at the sub national level. Effectiveness of e-governance initiatives and ongoing digitalization efforts would be increased substantially if integrated and comprehensive approach is followed. For instance, there is immense potential to integrate, expand, and leverage digital health landscape and design digital health systems and platforms to improve healthcare access and service delivery. Strategies need to be formulated for telemedicine, electronic health records, and mobile health applications to enable remote consultations, efficient record-keeping, and seamless information exchange among healthcare providers. Many States including Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand have indicated need of such support from ADB in streamlining their digitalization journey. (ii) Skills and digital literacy: Despite significant progress, digital literacy remains a gap in many regions and states. While digital literacy programs are in place, there is a digital divide that exists among different segments of society. Certain sections, such as low-income groups, senior citizens, and marginalized communities, may lack access to digital devices, connectivity, and the necessary skills to utilize digital services effectively. For instance, awareness about citizen centric e-governance projects like iRAD (Integrated Road Accident Database), Sarathi, VAHAN 4.0, e-Hospital, Samagra Portal, etc. remains quite dismal in Madhya Pradesh. There is need to address digital divide and increase digital capacity of state government and local bodies. A successful digitalization approach should be viewed from the citizens experience perspective rather than purely as a large process automation / IT modernization program. The key to good digital services is understanding the users perspective and remake products, processes, and policies around what citizens want. Further, engagement of citizens needs to be enhanced in circular economy efforts digitally to make the program sustainable and effective. (iii) Cyber security ecosystem at subnational level: As digitalization further intensifies, empowerment of people will increase. At the same time, threats will also increase. The Government of India is focused on open, equally accessible, safe & trusted Internet. Citizens are empowered by digital tools and technologies provided by digital enterprises and their lifestyle is integrated with the digital world. Educating citizens & digital enterprises on cyber hygiene and proper use of digital technologies is a key element to achieve a Safe & Trusted Internet. India has taken steps to address cybercrime and strengthen digital privacy through the enactment of laws and policies. , Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) operates as the national agency to address the countrys cyber security and has helped reduce the rate of cyber-attacks on government networks. While India has made progress in formulating cyber security laws and policies, there is a need for further strengthening of implementation, enforcement, and awareness at the State level. Indias ability to cope with cybersecurity is being outpaced by the sheer scale and speed of its digitization, confounded by the complex character of accompanying threats. Cyber security apparatus at the state-level needs much strengthening and improvement. The Union government introduced the National Cyber Security Policy in 2013, following which only a handful of State came out with their own cyber security frameworks. Cybersecurity concerns has potential to throw spanner in the startup growth story of India. As India boasts of the worlds 3rd highest number of startups with new unicorns sprouting almost every week, startup ecosystem is predominantly concentrated in metropolitan cities and few states. Safe and trusted digital space would promote collaborations and partnerships among industry, startups, academic institutions, and non-profit organizations and promote regional startup ecosystems which are much better placed compared to those in metropolitan cities to utilize local market and solutions and promote regional entrepreneurship. The TA will help in promoting strategies to address the three mentioned gaps above and support two of the core components of Digital India initiative - digital delivery of services, and digital literacy. Any large digitalization requires strong enablers in terms of continued capability building and sourcing to manage the transformation. Therefore, TA would support capacity building in selected states and concerned entities to sustain their digital transformation journey. Digitalization has been creating tremendous economic value for India and empowering millions of Indians as new digital applications permeate and transform a multitude of activities and types of work. Moreover, its potential to support the development agenda is becoming increasingly apparent with implications for improving the design, delivery, and monitoring of programs and projects across many sectors. The TA provides an opportunity for ADB to support Indias story of digital transformation by plugging the gaps in in delivery, access, and awareness of government to citizen digital services. In terms of achieving the goal of livable cities and enhancing the quality of life of citizens, digitalization would play a crucial role. In addition, any tangible improvement in terms of governance, quality of life (livability), entrepreneurship, and empowerment aspects of the selected states/cities would have a catalytic effect in other regions. The demonstration effect would lead to replication of digitalization efforts as well as create potential investment from private sector laying the foundation of sustainable development. The TA is closely aligned with the three operational priorities of ADBs Strategy 2030, i.e., addressing remaining poverty and reducing inequalities; making cities more liveable; and strengthening governance and institutional capacity. Lessons from ADBs earlier successful TA, which supported the digitalization, point to the need for capacity building and citizen centricity while designing the digitalization strategy. Impact To provide ubiquitous affordable access to information and public services for enhancing efficiency, transparency, accountability and reliability and leverage use of ICT as a driver for social inclusion (National Policy on Information Technology) Strategies in support of selected States digital transformation into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy developed (Digital India).
Funded By Asian Development Bank (ADB)
Sector GRC
Country India , Southern Asia
Project Value INR 300,000

Contact Information

Company Name Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance
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