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Digital India or Green India, Discuss

The national mission for Green India (GIM) is one of the 8 missions outlined under the National Action Plan on climate change.It aims at protecting, restoring and enhancing India's diminishing forest cover and responding to climate change by a combination of adaptation and mitigation measures. It envisages a holistic view of greening and focuses on multiple ecosystem services through an integrated cross sect oral approach with key involvement of local communities. Hence mission goals comprise of not only increasing / enhancing quality of forest cover or improve ecosystem services like carbon sequestration and storage, hydrological services,biodiversity,provisioning services like fuel,fodder,timber etc. but increase forest based livelihood income too.In line with the mission,the ministry of road,transport and highways has unveiled Green Highways policy under which road developers will need to earmark 1% of project's total cost for planting of trees and shrubs along national highways.It is expected to generate 5 lakh jobs benefitting local communities.India has been lauded after she declared it's INDCs(Intended nationally determined contributions) containing an emissions reduction targeted of 33-35% cut in carbon intensity by 2030 from 2005 levels,target of 40% cumulative installed power capacity from non-fossil fuel sources by 2030 which will command atleast $2.5 tn during 2015-30 on mitigation activities.The country is set to add more than 4 GW of solar power by March 2016.Thus India is making incessant efforts in the direction of sustainable development and Green India through various innovative policy measures and a convergent approach hinging upon better coordination to avoid activities which disturbs the balance in the ecosystem due to lack of coordination in different schemes.

The Digital India is flagship programme of the Government of India with a vision to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy centered on 3 key vision areas-Digital infrastructure as a core utility to every citizen,governance and services on demand and digital empowerment of citizens.The Digital India week is a mega event planned for national launch of the Digital India programme with participation of all central ministries and states/UTs.Microsoft is planning to take low cost broadband technology to 5 lakh villages coupled with cloud computing intelligence.India not only intends to spread the digital literacy widely but also safely as India is following global trends in taking on cyber attack and is one of the first countries in the world to establish law related to information technology-IT Act,2000.

Thus there is no denying the fact that both of the initiatives by India i.e. Green India mission and digitally empowered economy are essential for sustainable and faster development of the country.However the question remains are these two programmes contradictory and complementary to each other. The schemes may appear contradictory prima facie in the sense that both of the schemes require considerable expenditure aggravating the problem of fiscal deficit.Moreover one may argue that ill effects of the end of life products (e-waste) will have an adverse impact on environment and health.Digital India will command greater energy requirements and thus more carbon emissions.Thus these two visions conceptualised for India may appear to be at crossroads.

But on the note of optimism,determined intentions can easily bridge this gap between Green India and digital India.We can employ grid connected solar energy to power national digital literacy mission.As regarding the environmental hazards of electronic waste, Deity has launched an awareness programme on environmental hazards of electronic waste under Digital India initiative.The scheme aims to provide financial support to Diety's societies,Academic institutions,Industry associations for organizing workshops/seminars for schools,colleges,RWAs etc.

Use green technology.CSR initiatives by multinationals and firms producing electronic products can prove to be a great help in this regard. One cannot turn Nelson's eye towards environmental responsibility taken up by Apple on its own to reduce carbon footprint and using energy efficient technology .Since everything cannot replace, they use the strategy of reusing and recycling. As for the setting up of mobile towers which will again prove menace to environment. India can harness already in use spectrum rather than pushing up infrastructural and environmental costs by setting up more mobile towers. Hence Green India and Digital India are not inconsistent hence there is no question of 'OR' rather our ruthless focus should be on making them complementary as they both are important to improve quality of life and help India scale up in terms of Human Development Index.

Payal Mittal

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