CATEGORY: C5.6 Other Programme

PMGDISHA as a digital literacy Programme

Course Access: Lifetime
Course Overview

The biggest change in the 21st century has and will be in regard to the upcoming

advancements in digitisation and automation. From consuming information to creating,

collaborating and socialising, the use of technology has become an integral part in our

everyday lives. Familiarity with the working of these technologies has therefore, become

a valuable learning tool for our society to move forward. Recognising the need and

importance of digital literacy in today’s world, various agencies and organisations

around the world have taken steps towards the introduction of these skills in different

parts of the world. India with its growing population, has, emerged as both a consumer

and producer of different digital tools. This growth, however, has been limited to only a

fraction of its population- much of which belongs to the urban areas of the country. The

rural parts on the contrary see a very limited use and adoption of different digital

technologies and advances. A major reason for this problem has been identified as the

lack of knowledge as well as awareness about the understanding and benefits of

various digital tools and applications. This has created a digital divide between the

urban and rural spaces within the country. This gap or digital divide has become more

apparent as the country moves towards the adoption of a faster and more secure ways

of faceless, cashless, contactless and paperless governance through the medium of

digital technologies. The government policies today, rely heavily on digital operations in

different sectors like education, healthcare, economy and governance. Citizen

participation using digital technologies in this context emerges as an essential requisite.

It is thus important that they aim to create an engaging, collaborative and agile

framework for all.

The Government of India recognising this need for digital literacy in our country and

decided to launch PMGDISHA in February 2017. The scheme aimed at making 6 crore

people in the rural areas across different states and UTs digitally literate over the course

of three years. It envisioned to reach around 40% of the rural population by covering

one member from every eligible household to transform India into a knowledge

economy and society. PMGDISHA as a digital literacy programme has the potential to

not only bridge the digital divide in the country but also facilitate citizen participation

into the process of governance at the grassroot level.

With the PMGDISHA scheme about to complete its initial time frame, Indian Institute of

Public Administration (IIPA), New Delhi was entrusted the task to undertake the impact

assessment analysis at this current phase of the scheme. To do so, IIPA proposed a

conceptual framework to analyse the development, progress and impact of the scheme

based on five essential parameters viz. Technical, Economy, Legal, Operational and

Social, which were triangulated and validated with the management and beneficiary

perspectives. The scheme was then further assessed in regards to its proposed vision

and targets, its achievements and strategy towards the inclusion of different target

groups, such as SC/ST, BPL, minorities, women, differently abled etc., the scheme

infrastructure and quality of trainers and finally the impact of the training on the target

beneficiaries. To accomplish this, IIPA not only referred to the available documents,

official reports including Detailed Project Report (DPR), expenditure reports, state-wise

targets, registrations and certification of the scheme but also conducted multiple

structured/semi-structured interviews with PMGDISHA team and experts. This was

followed by a detailed primary study with a Questionnaire Survey for the CSC VLEs and

the beneficiaries of the scheme. This data from the online survey was then validated

with the help of the Field Survey that the team carried out at 10 CSC centres in different

parts of the country. This field survey cum workshop also allowed us get an insight into

the actual working and ground realities of the scheme as well as understand the some

of the problems faced by the largest stakeholders within the programme- the

Beneficiaries and the VLEs.

After this comprehensive and methodological evaluation, IIPA concluded that

PMGDISHA as a digital literacy programme plays an indispensable part in not only

bridging the digital gap in the country but also transforming it into a knowledge

economy and society. Observing the vital contribution of PMGDISHA, IIPA lauds its

potential and recommends the continuation of PMGDISHA.

IIPA has also recommended that PMGDISHA in its next phase should work towards

keeping its curriculum dynamic, incorporating certain basic elements as well as the

development and advances in the field. The programme in its next phase should also

embody the digital needs and aspirations of beneficiaries in different areas of the

country. Furthermore, it should seek to advance more innovative ways for content

delivery so that the scheme can have an even greater reach beyond the intended target

beneficiaries. PMGDISHA, by effectively creating a digital ecosystem in can increase this

section’s active participation in the process of growth and development within the

country.

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