Digital divide, the kind we see in our country, makes a mockery of all the progress that we have made in the field of science and technology. To plug this gap, National Digital Literacy Mission’s (NDLM) vision to empower at least one person per household with crucial digital skills by 2020, is noble.
It took at least a century before the printing press touched 50 million lives, 38 years for radio and 13 years for television to achieve a similar outreach. But, for the internet to reach 50 million people, it took only about 4 years. Despite such utopian dreams, digital literacy remains embarrassingly low and to address it, calls for a combined effort which is nonetheless Herculean. A “combined” effort would entail various stakeholders like the government, corporate partners & implementation partners to join hands.
Since 2012, NASSCOM Foundation has been at the forefront of NDLM’s mission, serving as the industry’s Secretariat and poised to change the lives of under-served and under-privileged Indians. The signing of the MoU on 8th October 2014 by NASSCOM Foundation and CSC-SPV, a company promoted by the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY), Government of India, marks their coming together and cements the belief in undertaking this arduous project. The first phase of which is called DISHA – making 10 lakh individuals in India digitally literate in 18 months. CSC-SPV has been appointed as the nodal implementing agency of NDLM by DeitY. Through its reach and the Industry’s agility, this unique Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) will provide for a strong foundation towards the larger NDLM goal, of making at least one person from every household across India, digitally literate by 2020. Out of the 10 lakh number targeted, the Industry will be responsible for training a minimum of one lakh people.
NASSCOM Foundation will leverage its corporate outreach to promote the broader NDLM objective, align the training content of industry partners with that of NDLM curriculum framework as prescribed by CSC-SPV, mobilise financial resources, set up training centres across the country and monitor the progress made. Under NDLM, there have been many success stories in which villagers from impoverished backgrounds have gone on to become digitally literate and make positive impacts to their humble existence. Once done – government services, e-learning, employment generation, travel & tourism – the sheer list of opportunities that will open up can only boggle the mind. Understanding the pulse of rural India and developing applications accordingly, will be a whole new domestic market to serve. Lower margins will be offset by large volume and a new awakening towards being a good corporate citizen, serving bottom of the pyramid.