It’s no secret that the government is serious about Digital India. What it is doing slowly and steadily is taking the message of Digital India to the masses through two outreach campaigns: one aimed at university students and the other at people in rural areas.

University workshops are being conducted by the National e-Governance Division (NeGD) under the IT ministry, along with the National Service Scheme, Department of Youth Affairs. The campaign to widen awareness of Digital India – an initiative to offer public services through the use of information technology – entered the second phase on Tuesday.

The awareness workshops were initially held in 20 universities across India on a pilot basis between February 25 and March 15. These were followed by the first phase that ended on August 24.

“Digital India workshops will be organised in 120 universities, consisting of 2,400 colleges and 30,000 students. Once trained in workshops, these students will work as volunteers for Digital India and will spread awareness about the programme in their colleges and nearby communities,” said a government official, requesting anonymity.

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The ongoing workshops are usually a mix of audio, video, quizzes, presentations, Q&As and skits in regional languages performed by NSS volunteers. The campaign has covered universities such as Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Mumbai and Bihar.

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During the workshops, the ministry has been trying to promote the use of the National Knowledge Network, a high-speed network backbone for educational institutions.

If the NKN does not work, the mandate is to take help from the local National Informatics Centre.

A closing ceremony will be held in New Delhi where selected students will be invited for a big celebration in March.

Vans deployed for the rural outreach effort were flagged off by IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad in May, and have so far covered 6,453 locations and more than 12 lakh people.

“Seventy vans fitted with audio-video and ICT facility will cover 657 districts to inform and educate the masses, predominantly in the rural and semi-urban areas, about the Digital India programme,” the official said.

Each van covers two locations a day for three to four hours and people get to know about the products and services offered under Digital India through movie screenings in regional languages and skits on products.

In addition, people can register for services such as MyGov, Digital Locker and Aadhaar, the official said. The campaign will cover an additional 2,600 locations and 50 lakh people by March 2017.

 

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