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Digital India’s Vision and Reality: Data Security and Governance Issues


The events of June 12 emphasised the contrast between the promises made under Digital India and the actual realities. These instances shine light on issues surrounding data breaches and governance failings inside the country’s digital infrastructure, underscoring the need for improved cybersecurity measures and rigorous regulatory frameworks.


GS Paper 3: Cyber Security

Mains Question

Talk about the effects of the CoWIN platform data leak on Indian citizens’ trust in digital systems. (150 Words)

Data Breach on CoWIN Platform:

  • On June 12, a data breach on the CoWIN platform was revealed, disclosing sensitive personal information circulating on Telegram.
  • Despite strong proof, early denials from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare were later followed by a statement ensuring data privacy.
  • Similar historical occurrences, such as the EPFO breach and AIIMS ransomware attack, have damaged citizens’ faith due to denials and lack of transparency.
  • The absence of a National Cyber Security Strategy and a robust data protection law further intensify these issues.

Challenges in Governance:

  • The weak governance processes of digital platforms, except for Aadhaar, raise questions about their legislative mandates and accountability mechanisms.
  • These platforms often lack legal definitions, operate as joint ventures or special purpose vehicles, and evade audits and transparency requirements.
  • This approach compromises efficiency while glitches and failures have been observed in Aadhaar, Aarogya Setu, and the GEM platform.
  • Furthermore, the indiscriminate acquisition of personal data beyond technical requirements raises hazards and contributes to data breaches.

Scandal Surrounding Twitter:

  • Simultaneously, a scandal arose surrounding Twitter’s claimed compulsion by the Indian government to restrict content linked to the farmers’ demonstrations.
  • Previous occurrences, such as opposition to secret instructions and subsequent raids on Twitter’s offices, underline the necessity for transparent and proportionate censoring measures.
  • The absence of recognition from the concerned ministry about these charges adds to the concerns.

Aligning Digital Transformation with Constitutional Frameworks:

  • These occurrences show the mismatch between digital systems and constitutional frameworks.
  • Individual harms are neglected, and legal and institutional frameworks are overlooked in favor of innovation.
  • To achieve successful digital transformation, it is important to integrate digital systems within the confines of the Constitution. This method will preserve citizen data, rebuild trust, and meet the ambitions of Digital India.


  • The happenings on June 12 exposed the divide between the rhetoric and reality of Digital India.
  • Strengthening cybersecurity measures, maintaining openness, passing comprehensive data protection legislation, and aligning digital activities with constitutional frameworks are vital for generating confidence and enabling a successful digital transition.
  • By tackling these problems, India may truly fulfill its promise as a global example for digital innovation.

December 2023