The Government has launched the Digital India Programme with an ambitious vision to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy. The Programme envisages linking citizens to various e-governance initiatives, involving them in decision making for strengthening public participation and thus enhancing governance accountability. The full potential of Digital India Programme can only be realised if every citizen, regardless of location and social background, is provided with opportunities as well as capabilities to access and leverage digital services/technologies. The universal digital literacy across the country including rural India is an essential element for success of these initiatives. Government had approved two schemes for providing digital literacy to the citizens namely National Digital Literacy Mission (NDLM) and Digital Saksharta Abhiyan (DISHA) which were implemented concurrently by CSC e-Governance Services India Limited, a Special Purpose Vehicle (CSC-SPV) (a public limited company set up under the Companies Act, 1956). The cumulative target of providing digital literacy to 52.5 lakh duly certified beneficiaries under these two schemes was achieved in December 2016, much ahead of the proposed timeline of December 2018. Hon'ble Finance Minister, while presenting the Union Budget 2016-17, has inter-alia announced:
"We need to derive greater benefit from our demographic advantage. We need to spread digital literacy in rural India. Of the 16.8 crore rural households, as many as 12 crore households do not have computers and are unlikely to have digitally literate persons. We have already approved two Schemes to promote digital literacy: National Digital Literacy Mission and Digital Saksharta Abhiyan. We now plan to launch a new Digital Literacy Mission Scheme for rural India to cover around 6 crore additional households within the next three years. Details of this scheme will be spelt out separately."
The present Scheme has been designed as a follow-up to the above mentioned budgetary announcement of Hon'ble Finance Minister. Digital literacy is a key component of the Government's vision of building an empowered society as envisaged under "Digital India initiative". Spinoff effects of digital literacy especially in the context of rural India would address a number of socio-economic issues. 'Digital Literacy' would bring the benefits of ICT to daily lives of rural population especially in the areas of Healthcare, Livelihood generation and Education. Furthermore, as the thrust of the government is on promoting cashless transactions through mobile phones, the course content would also have emphasis on use of Digital Financial Tools for Electronic Payment System.