Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved extension of the Digital India programme with an outlay of Rs 14,903 crore to boost digital initiatives in skilling, cyber security, high performance computing and simplifying technology for masses, among other areas.
Briefing the media after the Cabinet meeting, Union minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said the outlay has been approved for a five-year period between 2021-22 to 2025-26. The extended Digital India programme will add on to the work done under the previous version of the scheme. “The budget was allocated from time to time as per requirement. We have made changes in the schemes for which approval was required,” Vaishnaw said, adding the Cabinet meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved the extension of the programme with the outlay of Rs 14,903 crore.
Under the extended programme, nine more super computers will be added under the National Supercomputing Mission(NCM). The minister said that 18 super computers have been deployed under NCM. In March 2015, the government approved installation of 70 supercomputers under NCM by 2022 with an outlay of Rs 4,500 crore. The minister said the approval for nine supercomputers have come in addition to the earlier approved project. Vaishnaw said the Digilocker app will be extended to micro, small and medium enterprises to help them avail credit and other services by verifying their document stores in the app.
Under the approved programme, 6.25 lakh IT professionals will be reskilled and upskilled, and 2.65 lakh persons will be trained in information security under the Information Security and Education Awareness Phase (ISEA) Programme. He said cyber awareness courses for 12 crore college students will be conducted under the Digital India programme. “CertIn, which does cyber forensics, emergency response and cyber diagnosis will be expanded massively,” Vaishnaw said. Further, the minister said the National Knowledge Network, a network of 1,787 universities and research and development institutes, will be further developed into Digital India Infoways.
“A centre of excellence will also be set up in the field of artificial intelligence for its use in agriculture, health and sustainability,” the minister said. Under the extended Digital India programme, new initiatives in the area of cyber security, including development of tools and integration of more than 200 sites with National Cyber Coordination Centre, will be carried out. The extended programme has a provision for funding support to 1,200 startups based in tier 2 and 3 cities, the minister said.