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Let’s not goof up with NUDM

In February this year Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs along with Ministry of Electronics and IT launched the National Urban Digital Mission (NUDM) that aims to create a shared digital infrastructure for urban India, working across the three pillars of people, process, and platform to provide holistic support to cities and towns. It aims to institutionalise a citizen-centric and ecosystem-driven approach to urban governance and service delivery in 2022 cities by 2022, and across all cities and towns in India by 2024. These initiatives are among the ongoing efforts of both Ministries to realise the vision of Digital India and AtmaNirbhar Bharat, by making cities more self-reliant and enabled to meet the needs of and provide services to their citizens.

NUDM has the noble objective to create a shared digital infrastructure that can consolidate and cross-leverage the various digital initiatives of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, enabling cities and towns across India to benefit from holistic and diverse forms of support, in keeping with their needs and local challenges.

NUDM is citizen-centric, ecosystem-driven, and principles-based in both design and implementation. NUDM has articulated a set of governing principles, and inherits the technology design principles of the National Urban Innovation Stack (NUIS), whose strategy and approach was released by MoHUA in February, 2019. The principles in turn give rise to standards, specifications, and certifications, across the three pillars of people, process, and platforms.

Its true that the cities will become smarter only if digital technology is properly leveraged and convergence is integral to good governance through a digital mode. The Mission aims to achieve the goal of Digital India through technology which is homegrown, developmental, low cost and inclusive.

However, the main concern is about data security with some state sponsored hackers unleashing new type terrorism on the country this threat is real. It’s reported that last year’s blackout in some cities was due to the act of some hackers which not only caused hardship to millions of people but resulted on loss of many types, including monetary, to many people and the government. With increased digitisation, our dependence on data will only increase which will further make us vulnerable to such attacks. Unless we give equal importance to data security and protection problems caused by hacking may have to be encountered too frequently.

Another problem may be faced at the time of implementation of the programme. In recent years, we have seen some of the programmes being implemented too fast as there is no tomorrow. A case in point is the introduction of GST which was implemented while government machinery itself was not fully equipped to face the new challenges. Digitisation is an important evolution and its implementation too should be gradual after educating the people about its necessity and benefits accruing from it. Often most of the problems are being faced (by the common man) is due to lack of proper communication. Let’s hope that we have learnt from our past follies and wont repeat such mistakes in case of NUDM.

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