IASbhai Daily Editorial Hunt | 16th Dec

“Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.” – Joshua J. Marine

Dear Aspirants
IASbhai Editorial Hunt is an initiative to dilute major Editorials of leading Newspapers in India which are most relevant to UPSC preparation –‘THE HINDU, LIVEMINT , INDIAN EXPRESS’ and help millions of readers who find difficulty in answer writing and making notes everyday. Here we choose two editorials on daily basis and analyse them with respect to UPSC MAINS 2020-21.

EDITORIAL HUNT #281 :“PM WANI : Digital India to Digital Bharat | UPSC

PM WANI : Digital India to Digital Bharat | UPSC

Sumeysh Srivastava
PM WANI : Digital India to Digital Bharat | UPSC

Sumeysh Srivastava is an Internet access researcher working at Nyaaya, an open-access platform that provides simple and actionable legal information

      HEADLINES:

From a digital India to a digital Bharat

      CENTRAL THEME:

The PM-WANI project seems to fit within the framework of an evolving decentralised concept to bridge the e-divide

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3 : Digital India : Schemes

      MAINS QUESTION:

What is PM-WANI ? How does digital poverty hamper the growth and inclusion of a citizen in cosmopolitan society. Discuss -(GS 3)

      LEARNING: 

  • PM-WANI
  • What does the data show ?
  • Key links
  • Rural Connectivity
  • Security and Privacy Issues

      INTRODUCTION: 

  • PM WANI : The Prime Minister’s Wi-Fi Access Network Interface, or PM WANI announced on December 9 fits the ‘game changer’ tag.

Broadband Internet services have spread across the length and breadth of the country through Public Wi-Fi network to accelerate penetration of internet.

  • WIFI PROVIDERS : This provides for “Public Wi-Fi Networks by Public Data Office Aggregators (PDOAs) to provide public Wi-Fi service through Public Data Offices (PDOs).

      BODY:

WHAT THE DATA SHOWS

  • WIFI ACCESS NETWORK : Essentially, this would mean the ability to connect to a Wi-Fi broadband connection almost anywhere.

This can help to bridge the increasing digital divide in India.

  • INTERNET POTENTIAL : India can create $1 trillion of economic value using digital technology by 2025.-NITI AYOG
  • INTERNET REACH : However, as per the latest Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) data, about 54% of India’s population has access to the Internet.
  • USAGE OF INTERNET : The 75th round of the National Statistical Organisation survey shows that only 20% of the population has the ability to use the Internet.

The India Internet 2019 report shows that rural India has half the Internet penetration as urban, and twice as many users who access the Internet less than once a week.

  • INTERNET SPEED : It shows that 99% of all users in India access the Internet on mobile, and about 88% are connected on the 4G network.
  • LIMITED INTERNET : This leads to a situation where everyone is connected to a limited network, which is getting overloaded and resulting in bad speed and quality of Internet access.
  • UMANG APP : UMANG App (Unified Mobile Application for New-age Governance) allows access to 2,084 services, across 194 government departments, across themes such as education, health, finance, social security, etc.
  • POTENTIAL BENEFICIARIES : The ability to access and utilise the app enhances an individual’s capabilities to benefit from services that they are entitled to.
  • DIGITAL POVERTY : With each move towards digitisation, we are threatening to leave behind a large part of our population to suffer in digital poverty.
  • PM-WANI (OBJECTIVE) : PM-WANI ultimate objective is where anyone living in their house, a paan shop owner or a tea seller can all provide public Wi-Fi hot posts, and where anyone within range can access it.

It is clear that the focus is on last mile delivery. 

  • PUBLIC DATA OFFICE  : The PDO can be anyone, and it is clear that along with Internet infrastructure, the State also sees this as a way to generate revenue for individuals and small shopkeepers.

PDOA, who is basically the aggregator who will buy bandwidth from Internet service provider (ISPs).

  • PUBLIC DATA OFFICE AGGREGATORS : It is important to note that PDOs will not require registration of any kind, thus easing the regulatory burden on them.
  • TELECOM OPERATORS : The telecom companies and sell it to PDOs, while also accounting for data used by all PDOs.
  • END CONSUMER : Finally, the app provider, who will create an app through which users can access and discover the Wi-Fi access points.

TWO PILLARS – BASELINE FOR PUBLIC WI-FI

  • INTEROPERABILITY : The first is interoperability, where the user will be required to login only once and stay connected across access points.
  • MULTIPLE PAYMENT OPTIONS : The second is multiple payment options, allowing the user to pay both online and offline.

AIDING RURAL CONNECTIVITY

  • OPPORTUNITIES AHEAD : The PM-WANI has the potential to change the fortunes of Bharat Net as well.

Bharat Net envisions broadband connectivity in all villages in India. 

  • STALLED PROJECT : The project has missed multiple deadlines, even where the infrastructure has been created.

Usage of data is not enough to incentivise ISPs to use Bharat Net infra to provide services. 
 

  • DIGITAL LITERACY : One of the reasons for the lack of demand is the deficit in digital literacy in India.
  • LAST MILE CONNECTIVITY : The other reason is simply the lack of last mile availability of the Internet.
  • UPGRADING SKILLS : In terms of digital literacy, it is not enough to look at digital literacy as a set of specific skills, because the skills required to navigate technology keep changing.
  • SOCIO CULTURAL FACTORS : A more appropriate framework is to see it as an evolving decentralised concept, which depends on how people interact with technology in other aspects of their life, and is influenced by local social and cultural factors.
  • ACCESS TO INTERNET : The PM-WANI seems to fit within this framework, simply because it seeks to make accessing the Internet as easy as having tea at a chai shop.

      IASbhai Windup: 

SECURITY, PRIVACY ISSUES

  • CONCERNS : There are some concerns, mainly with respect to security and privacy.
  • DATA LEAK : A large-scale study conducted at public Wi-Fi spots in 15 airports across the United States, Germany, Australia, and India discovered that two thirds of users leak private information whilst accessing the Internet.
  • DATA STORAGE : The TRAI report recommends that ‘community interest’ data be stored locally, raising questions about data protection in a scenario where the country currently does not have a data protection law in place.

These are however, problems of regulation, state capacity and awareness and do not directly affect the framework for this scheme.

  • DIGITAL REVOLUTION : With the PM-WANI, the state is expanding the reach of digital transformation to those who have been excluded till now.

It is a game-changer because it has the potential to move Digital India to Digital Bharat.

       SOURCES:   THE HINDU EDITORIAL HUNT | PM WANI : Digital India to Digital Bharat | UPSC

 

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