President Ram Nath Kovind conferred the Digital India Awards 2020 to 22 winners for their outstanding use of the technology for governance in a virtual ceremony held on Wednesday.
Technology-driven projects from central ministries and state governments were selected under six categories — Innovation in Pandemic, Excellence in Digital Governance, Excellence in Digital Governance, Excellence in Digital Governance, Open Data Champion and Exemplary Product — for the awards.
While Haryana government won the award for Antyodaya Saral project, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal bagged it for Sahayata Mobile App, Food and Civil Supplies and e-Abgari projects.
According to NIC DG Neeta Verma, the government had received as many as 402 nominations which were initially evaluated and ranked by IIT-Delhi and later on shortlisted nominations in each category were presented to the jury headed by Meity Secretary Ajay Sawney to finalize the winners in each category through online presentations. Finally, 22 projects were selected for awards under different categories.
Due to covid-19 pandemic, this year, the entire process of the Digital India Awards was conducted online from nominations to screening to the final awards ceremony.
In his address, President Kovind said that proactive implementation of platforms such as Arogya Setu, e-Office and video conferencing services backed by a robust ICT infrastructure has helped the country reduce the pandemic hardships.
Stating that government organisations must keep on exploring innovative solutions for the functioning of government offices in a paperless and contactless mode for security and benefit of every citizen, the President said that “it will also help in making administrative processes more eco-friendly.”
President Kovind urged government departments to leverage technology and ICT-driven innovative solutions to aid economic inclusiveness and social transformation even in the remotest corners of the country.
“The Digital India initiative of the Government should continue to strive towards reducing the digital divide,” he said.
Stating that a large segment of India's population is still unable to derive the benefits of digital devices and services, the President Kovind said that the number of such people needs to be minimised by extending digital access to them through effective innovations. “This will make our digital revolution more inclusive,” he said.
Despite mourning the passing away of his mother, IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad participated in the award ceremony.
He said: “We are in the measure of challenging times but it is a mark of great accomplishment that Digital India award today is being conferred digitally.”
Stating that the country needs to acknowledge that nearly nine-crore farmers are being given Kisan Maandhan at a click of the button, he said: “When we talk of Digital India bridging the digital divide & bringing in digital inclusion which was so evidently seen during these challenging times.”
We need to acknowledge that nearly 9 crore farmers are being given Kisan Maandhan at a click of the button.
When we talk of Digital India bridging the digital divide & bringing in digital inclusion which was so evidently seen during these challenging times.#DigitalIndiaAward2020 pic.twitter.com/ceSgKkHXG3
— Ravi Shankar Prasad (@rsprasad) December 30, 2020
While appreciating the government's department business continuity plans during the lockdown, Ajay Sawhney, Secretary, MeitY said that Digital India Awards helps in recognizing and encouraging the exemplary initiatives of various government entities in digital governance.
The Digital India Awards, instituted under the aegis of the National Portal of India, serve the purpose of bringing to the fore innovative digital solutions and thereby inspiring emulation by all government entities.
This year jury included senior government officials from Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), NIC, STQC, NeGD, Data Security Council of India, IIT Delhi, Management Development Institute, gurgaon. Scientist-G & DDG, NIC Alka Mishra was the Member Convener for this year awards.
The awards have been held for 5 seasons earlier, in 2009, 2012, 2014, 2016 & 2018. The Awards were initially known as Web Ratna Awards until 2014 and were re-named Digital India Awards from the 2016 season.