- Undeniably, digital technology has leapfrogged from a nascent stage to an omnipresent medium presently ushering in unbelievable ease of undertaking chores that were hitherto considered out of the reach of ordinary citizens. The information technology-driven modern-day world is not only permeating every walks of life but also providing an extremely user-friendly interface to indulge in. In fact, the pandemic-induced lockdowns and movement restrictions threw open an entirely new world to humankind where the digital medium flourished to unbelievable levels within the comforts of homes. We all know how online pedagogy and over-the-top entertainment mediums completely transformed the way common citizens access the deluge of information.
- Of course, the digital medium was accessible to everyone but India being an agrarian country still could make use of the same in a limited manner. Mind you, a large part of the Indian population continues to inhabit rural areas as compared to urban dwellers. And this is where the accessibility challenges of the internet came to the fore with the poor and downtrodden losing out big-time owing to a variety of reasons, including the absence of wherewithal to procure basic smartphones. Yes, millions of Indians are yet to lay their hands on a smartphone even as internet penetration picks up pace exponentially across the country. Remember, we are yet to catch up with some of the developed and developing countries vis-à-vis internet accessibility.
- Appreciatively, the Union Government has made huge progress on the Digital India front but it has to still cover a fair distance. Now, a big, bad change is afoot at India’s biggest tourist attraction, with the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) planning to shutter ticket windows at the world-renowned Taj Mahal, leaving visitors no way in except for online bookings. Illogical as it may sound, have the wizards who came up with this plan to trim the crowd ever considered how many citizens would be hurt with the move? Apparently none at all. The monument’s website says that of the 7-8 million visitors it attracts annually, only around 0.8 million are from overseas. Indian citizens from all parts and classes of the country make up the numbers.
PC: Amrita Madhukalya
- Moreover, many have little experience with online booking. Many may also be arriving via public transport, with a little survey of making it to a fixed time slot. They deserve to enjoy Incredible India as much as internet-savvy folks. Digitalisation has immensely helped in delivering many public services but it is not an end in itself as the poorest citizens deserve to be kept in mind as well. Needless to mention, India is simply not rich/developed/digital enough yet to kill off analogue options available. Undoubtedly, any public service delivery should not be shaped by technocratic dogma hampering smooth functioning. Therefore, the authorities should keep counters at Taj open for walk-ins. No questions asked.