With the country now wholeheartedly embracing the idea of Digital India, what we need now is a core democratic essence of citizen participation and citizen inclusion.
An oft-ignored subject is how the Prime Minister’s vision would go on to incorporate rural India in the digital drive. But to do this, what we need is India specific decentralized policies, with centralized support.
India currently has different infrastructure needs and aspirations. However, what she needs is a core democratic essence of citizen participation and citizen inclusion.
Malhotra, very rightly pointed out that in order for Digital India to succeed, we need to include every last person in the drive.
A “smart republic” is a model that is inclusive, encourages co-creation, has participatory governance, and focuses on national security.
And a key strategy the government needs to take is in open data initiatives. That’s government data that is online in machine-readable form.
This would not only improve the design of master plans, but also helps to increase government accountability, transparency, and responsiveness. In addition to this, it also creates value for the wider economy.
But to understand what ‘Smart Cities’ truly means, Malhotra opines that we need to first fully understand its definition and what it means. In her books, she defines ‘Smart Cities’ as “cities that utilize Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) with the aim to increase the life quality of their inhabitants while providing sustainable development.”
Her definition of the “smart republic” is a model that is inclusive, encourages co-creation, has participatory governance, and focuses on national security.
The objectives of the smart republic are to co-create smart systems, that’s smarter public participation techniques to map informal systems, local resources and local needs of the citizens, thereby co-creating resilience.
And a resilient smart republic, Malhotra emphasizes, needs to be designed, to combat vulnerability of the systems, processes, and data by ensuring privacy, integrity, compliance, and reliability.
Watch: Charru Malhotra speaks on concerns of big data and information security in a smart and inclusive republic