India is embracing the concept of Digital India and electronic delivery of services to its citizens. This is a noble intention but its actual implementation requires strong and effective techno legal framework. Digital India and initiatives based upon it cannot be successful till the foundation of Digital India itself is strong, legal and flexible. Unfortunately, Digital India project is not only suffering from many shortcomings but it is also heading towards rough waters.
Digital India is also closely related to the Internet of Things (IoT) concept. India has issued the Draft Policy on Internet of Things (IoT) (PDF) and a Revised Draft Policy on Internet of Things (IoT) (PDF). The IoT Policy of India is yet to be finalised and implemented after analysing and incorporating the public suggestions and inputs.
Smart Cities is another promising project of Indian Government to make urban cities technology oriented. While this is a fancy idea yet its implementation is not free from challenges. For instance, India has been using e-governance for delivery of public services for long. However, cyber security of e-governance services in India is still not upto the mark. This would make the proposed Smart Cities also vulnerable to sophisticated cyber attacks and cyber crimes. So before establishing Smart cities in India, Indian Government must take care of various techno legal challenges that are still not managed by India.
There are many cyber security challenges before the Narendra Modi Government that have to be addressed on a priority basis. A quick analysis of the National Cyber Security Policy of India 2013 reveals that it is suffering from many shortcomings. There are no Cyber Security Disclosure Norms in India that may require individuals and companies to share details of cyber attacks and cyber breaches. There is also an urgent need to formulate the Cyber Security Policy of India 2015 as the Cyber Security Trends are very alarming in India. Even there is no implementable Telecom Security Policy of India as on date and telecom related issues are getting complex day by day.
However, Indian Government and other stakeholders have also initiated many good projects to facilitate public delivery of services through e-governance and use of information and communication technologies (ICT). For instance, an E-Police Station in Delhi has been established that would register online FIR for motor vehicle theft cases of Delhi. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has also decided to set up an IT Subsidiary to deal with technology related banking issues. The Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) of SEBI would address cyber security issues as well. The Grid Security Expert System (GSES) of India has also been proposed by Indian Government. Indian Government has also banned private e-mail services for official communications in Government Departments. Indian Government would also launch Internet Safety Campaign very soon to spread awareness about cyber security among various stakeholders. However, the best effort of Indian Government via-a-vis cyber security is the appointment of Dr. Gulshan Rai as the first Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) of India by the Prime Minister Office (PMO) of India. This would definitely strengthen the cyber security infrastructure of India.
Another area of concern regarding Smart Cities would be protection of Civil Liberties in Cyberspace where India is lagging far behind than its International and Constitutional Obligations. Recently the Supreme Court of India has asked for a clarification from the Central Government regarding Privacy Invasive Software and Mobile Applications. India has no dedicated Privacy and Data Protection (PDF) laws. Privacy protection in the information era has to be ensured by Narendra Modi Government for the success of Smart Cities in India. Privacy Right is a Human Rights and not a Government Charity that must be protected by the Narendra Modi Government. Narendra Modi Government has made Digital India the “Biggest Panopticon of Human History” by clubbing it with Illegal and Unconstitutional Aadhaar Project. The Indian Government is making the Aadhaar Compulsory even if the Supreme Court has clearly declared on multiple occasions that Aadhaar cannot be made mandatory. Even the Indian Parliament and Judiciary are indifferent and submissive to these Illegalities of Digital India and Aadhaar Projects.
The Smart Cities project of Indian Government has both negative and positive aspects. It is for the Narendra Modi Government to remove the negative aspects and stress more upon the positive and development aspects. I hope and wish that this would be the approach of Narendra Modi Government regarding Smart Cities in India.