Digital India expansion gets ₹14,903 crore outlay

The fund expansion of CERT-in will provide DigiLocker for MSMEs, expand UMANG services, modernise broadband network for research; AI translation tool to be rolled out in 22 languages

August 16, 2023 04:48 pm | Updated 08:24 pm IST - New Delhi

Union Ministers Ashwini Vaishnaw and Anurag Thakur brief the media on Cabinet decisions in New Delhi on August 16, 2023.

Union Ministers Ashwini Vaishnaw and Anurag Thakur brief the media on Cabinet decisions in New Delhi on August 16, 2023. | Photo Credit: PTI

The Union Cabinet on August 16 approved a five-year extension and expansion of the Digital India programme, including an expansion of the Computer Emergency Response Team, India (CERT-in). The expansion of the programme, established in 2015, will have an outlay of ₹14,903 crore, Minister of Electronics & Information Technology Ashwini Vaishnaw said. 

“This is a five-year outlay starting from 2021-22 to 2025-26,” Mr. Vaishnaw said. Officials indicated that this outlay would be over the budget which has already been spent on the programme over the last two years. “We need to build cybersecurity tools for small businesses, schools, hospitals, who have to focus on their work. Cybersecurity should be easily accessible, low cost and affordable,” he said. Under the programme, 6.25 lakh IT professionals will receive upskilling and re-skilling training, and 2.65 lakh employees will receive information security training. 

These funds will also be used to improve and modernise the National Knowledge Network (NKN), a high-speed broadband network that was established in 2010 to improve connectivity among educational and research institutions.

The Unified Mobile Application for New-age Governance (UMANG) platform, which offers access to about 1,700 government services, will have 540 more services added to it, Mr. Vaishnaw announced. 

Also read |Laying the foundation for a future-ready digital India

Document verification for MSMEs

DigiLocker, the online repository operated by the government for official documents, will be expanded to serve Medium, Small and Micro Enterprises, or MSMEs. This will make it easier for them to get verified documents for business loans, Mr. Vaishnaw said, adding that this would become a separate application, as business and individual verification processes are different.

The National Supercomputing Mission, which has deployed 18 supercomputers, will add nine more such machines. “These supercomputers will have so many applications in weather forecasting, geology, agriculture, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) modeling,” Mr. Vaishnaw said. 

Bhashini, the AI-enabled translation tool created with the support of Microsoft and OpenAI, will be rolled out in all of the 22 languages included in Schedule 8 of the Constitution. 

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