Information technology, also called “IT’ in short form is a common term that includes all forms of technology used to create, store, exchange, and use information in various forms. UPSC Mains GS paper 3 concentrates on various subjects of science and technology. In this article UPSC aspirants will learn about the field of IT


  • The field of IT


The phrase Information Technology was created by Jim Domsic of Michigan in November 1981 to modernize the out-of-date "data processing" tools. In contemporary technical environment, information technology has vital role to perform numerous human activities and business operations. Basically, Information technology is the study and use of systems for storing, retrieving, and sending information. This comprises of software, hardware, and applications. Information technology assists in arena of Business, education, and even healthcare.

The rudimentary concept of Information Technology can be drawn from World War II association of the military and industry in the development of electronics, computers, and information theory. After the 1940s, the military continued to be the major source of research and development funding for the growth of automation to replace manpower with machine power. Since the 1950s, four generations of computers have progressed. Each generation reflected a change to hardware of decreased size but increased capabilities to control computer operations. The first generation used vacuum tubes, the second used transistors, the third used integrated circuits, and the fourth used integrated circuits on a single computer chip. Progression in artificial intelligence will diminish the need for complex programming characterize the fifth generation of computers.

In 1975, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology developed microcomputers. The market for microcomputers increased radically when IBM introduced the first personal computer in the fall of 1981. Since then, there is rapid growth in computer components and manufacturing and personal computers are widely used by consumers than the largest computers of the mid-1960s at about a thousandth of the cost.


Components of Information Technology

IT is an intricate body which consists of many organs that require functioning in synchrony to be able to process and generate information. To identify these organs, they are broadly divided into the following components of IT-

Computer Technology: Comparing to the last decade, computer technology has seen a rapid growth and is already in the fifth generation of evolution. Computers are highly useful in the growth of IT sector. They carry out vast number of operations at very high speeds and are utilised to store data in their system drives.

Communication and Telecommunication Technology: From Morse signals to 5G cellular network, communication technology have seen a growth spurt ever since the dawn of 20th century. The advanced technologies such as the laser, fibre optics, telephone, television, dictaphone, silicon chip, Internet and many other telecommunication devices have greatly improved the written, visual and oral media networks. Same is the case with transmission of information over long distances without loss or interference (telecommunication).

Optical Communication Systems: Light is utilised as the carrier of information across mirrored wires for propagation of the information. Although it virtually is a part of telecommunication, optics in the field of communication technology has been growing very quickly with modern innovations, which gives this component of IT, its own niche. Optical communication is a revolutionary design as it has enabled transfer of information at rapid speeds across long distances.

Satellite Communication Systems: One of the most effective modes of transport of information over continental distances, satellite communication has been rampantly used by many businesses to propagate their products across the globe.


Advantages and Disadvantages of IT

Increase in production and decrease in time utilised. This invariably increases the productivity of an institution and hence helps in its overall growth. It also makes database management less cumbersome and more organised by digitizing information and storing them according to the instructions of the programs.

This makes information available at the click of a button- hassle free and quick. This improves the financial management of businesses and reduces the use of paperwork and loss of information due to misplacing or other trivial human errors.

IT also provides advanced communication in the form of e-mails, video conferences, texting and other media. This helps people around the world to connect with each other.

It also reduces other costs and saves time by cutting off the requirements of travel, booking special halls for conference and postal delays, thus empowering the institution’s economy and boosts its financial and administrative operations and speed of decision.

Most importantly, it connects the people around the world on multiple dimensions and makes information available at the fingertips of the people, eliminating delay and effort. But at the same time, there do exists a few demerits of information technology-

It is not as inexpensive during implementation as it is in operations. It requires a good amount of investment to set-up an IT system or incorporates IT into a pre-existing organisation. It requires thorough research and extensive trials to establish a well-functioning IT department in a company or any institution.

While implementing machines eliminates human error, in the process, it also eliminates human jobs. Trained technicians and workers lose their bread when they are replaced by robots and computers. Automation has resulted in loss of employment and has left many educated individuals jobless.

Finally, digital privacy and security has come up to be a major issue in the field of IT. Hackers and cyber-criminals are two new factions of anti-social elements who have developed in the computer technology sector.

Information is vulnerable to security breaches and hacking attacks which can be used to steal, threaten and blackmail organisations, causing great social and economic loss to the institution. Hence, there exist IT laws which make sure such crimes are being condemned and the conspirators are punished accordingly.


Cloud computing is a broad term which refers to a collection of services that offer businesses a cost-effective solution to increase their IT capacity and functionality.

Depending on their specific requirements, businesses can choose where, when and how they use cloud computing to ensure an efficient and reliable IT solution.


Edge computing is defined as “a part of a distributed computing topology in which information processing is located close to the edge – where things and people produce or consume that information.”

At its basic level, edge computing brings computation and data storage closer to the devices where it’s being gathered, rather than relying on a central location that can be thousands of miles away. This is done so that data, especially real-time data, does not suffer latency issues that can affect an application’s performance. In addition, companies can save money by having the processing done locally, reducing the amount of data that needs to be processed in a centralized or cloud-based location.

Edge computing was developed due to the exponential growth of IoT devices, which connect to the internet for either receiving information from the cloud or delivering data back to the cloud. And many IoT devices generate enormous amounts of data during the course of their operations.


Cyber security is the practice of defending computers, servers, mobile devices, electronic systems, networks, and data from malicious attacks. It's also known as information technology security or electronic information security. The term applies in a variety of contexts, from business to mobile computing, and can be divided into a few common categories.

  • Network securityis the practice of securing a computer network from intruders, whether targeted attackers or opportunistic malware.

  • Application securityfocuses on keeping software and devices free of threats. A compromised application could provide access to the data its designed to protect. Successful security begins in the design stage, well before a program or device is deployed.

  • Information securityprotects the integrity and privacy of data, both in storage and in transit.

  • Operational securityincludes the processes and decisions for handling and protecting data assets. The permissions users have when accessing a network and the procedures that determine how and where data may be stored or shared all fall under this umbrella.

  • Disaster recovery and business continuitydefine how an organization responds to a cyber-security incident or any other event that causes the loss of operations or data. Disaster recovery policies dictate how the organization restores its operations and information to return to the same operating capacity as before the event. Business continuity is the plan the organization falls back on while trying to operate without certain resources.

  • End-user educationaddresses the most unpredictable cyber-security factor: people. Anyone can accidentally introduce a virus to an otherwise secure system by failing to follow good security practices. Teaching users to delete suspicious email attachments, not plug in unidentified USB drives, and various other important lessons is vital for the security of any organization.



  • Creating a secure cyber ecosystem.
  • Creating mechanisms for security threats and responses to the same through national systems and processes.
    • National Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-in) functions as the nodal agency for coordination of all cyber security efforts, emergency responses, and crisis management.
  • Securing e-governance by implementing global best practices, and wider use of Public Key Infrastructure.
  • Protection and resilience of critical information infrastructure with the National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre(NCIIPC) operating as the nodal agency.
    • NCIIPC has been created under Information Technology Act, 2000 to secure India’s critical information infrastructure. It is based in New Delhi.
  • Promoting cutting edge research and development of cyber security technology.
  • Human Resource Development through education and training programs to build capacity.



The “e” in e-Governance stands for ‘electronic’. Thus, e-Governance is basically associated with carrying out the functions and achieving the results of governance through the utilization of ICT (Information and Communications Technology).

While Governance relates to safeguarding the legal rights of all citizens, an equally important aspect is concerned with ensuring equitable access to public services and the benefits of economic growth to all. It also ensures government to be transparent in its dealings, accountable for its activities and faster in its responses as part of good governance.

However, this would require the government to change itself – its processes, its outlook, laws, rules and regulations and also its way of interacting with the citizens. It would also require capacity building within the government and creation of general awareness about e-Governance among the citizens

Types of Government Interaction in e-governance.

  • G2G: Government to Government
  • G2C: Government to Citizen
  • G2B: Government to Business
  • G2E: Government to Employee



Government to Citizen (G2C) Initiatives:


Computerization of Land Records: In collaboration with NIC. Ensuring that landowners get computerized copies of ownership, crop and tenancy and updated copies of Records of Rights (RoRs) on demand.

Bhoomi Project: Online delivery of Land Records. Self-sustainable e-Governance project for the computerized delivery of 20 million rural land records to 6.7 million farmers through 177 Government-owned kiosks in the State of Karnataka

Gyandoot: It is an Intranet-based Government to Citizen (G2C) service delivery initiative. It was initiated in the Dhar district of Madhya Pradesh in January 2000 with the twin objective of providing relevant information to the rural population and acting as an interface between the district administration and the people.

Lokvani Project in Uttar Pradesh: Lokvani is a public-private partnership project at Sitapur District in Uttar Pradesh which was initiated in November, 2004. Its objective is to provide a single window, self-sustainable e-Governance solution with regard to handling of grievances, land record maintenance and providing a mixture of essential services.

Project FRIENDS in Kerala: FRIENDS (Fast, Reliable, Instant, Efficient Network for the Disbursement of Services) is a Single Window Facility providing citizens the means to pay taxes and other financial dues to the State Government.The services are provided through FRIENDS Janasevana Kendrams located in the district headquarters.

e-Mitra Project in Rajasthan: e-Mitra is an integrated project to facilitate the urban and the rural masses with maximum possible services related to different state government departments through Lokmitra-Janmitra Centers/Kiosks.

e-Seva (Andhra Pradesh): This project is designed to provide ‘Government to Citizen’ and ‘e-Business to Citizen’ services. The highlight of the eSeva project is that all the services are delivered online to consumers /citizens by connecting them to the respective government departments and providing online information at the point of service delivery.

Admission to Professional Colleges – Common Entrance Test (CET):

With the rapid growth in the demand as well as supply of professional education, the process of admission to these institutions became a major challenge in the early 1990s. Recourse was then taken to ICT to make the process of admission transparent and objective. One of the pioneering efforts was made by Karnataka. The State Government decided to conduct a common entrance test based on which admission to different colleges and disciplines was made.

Government to Business (G2B) Initiatives:


e-Procurement Project in Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat:
To reduce the time and cost of doing business for both vendors and government.

MCA 21: By the Ministry of Corporate Affairs. The project aims at providing easy and secure online access to all registry related services provided by the Union Ministry of Corporate Affairs to corporates and other stakeholders at any time and in a manner that best suits them.

Government to Government (G2G) Initiatives:


Khajane Project in Karnataka: It is a comprehensive online treasury computerization project of the Government of Karnataka. The project has resulted in the computerization of the entire treasury related activities of the State Government and the system has the ability to track every activity right from the approval of the State Budget to the point of rendering accounts to the government.

SmartGov (Andhra Pradesh): SmartGov has been developed to streamline operations, enhance efficiency through workflow automation and knowledge management for implementation in the Andhra Pradesh Secretariat.

National E-governance Plan


The National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) has been formulated by the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DEITY) and Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG) in 2006.

The NeGP aims at improving delivery of Government services to citizens and businesses with the following vision: “Make all Government services accessible to the common man in his locality, through common service delivery outlets and ensure efficiency, transparency & reliability of such services at affordable costs to realise the basic needs of the common man.”

Central government initiatives as mission mode projects (MMP)



The Government of India has recognized the need to modernize the Central Government offices through the introduction of Information and Communications Technology. e-Office is aimed at increasing the usage of work flow and rule based file routing, quick search and retrieval of files and office orders, digital signatures for authentication, forms and reporting components.

Immigration, Visa and Foreigner’s Registration & Tracking (IVFRT)


India has emerged as a key tourist destination, besides being a major business and service hub. Immigration Check Post is the first point of contact that generates public and popular perception about the country, thus necessitating a state of the art system for prompt and user-friendly services.



The unique identification project was conceived as an initiative that would provide identification for each resident across the country and would be used primarily as the basis for efficient delivery of welfare services. It would also act as a tool for effective monitoring of various programs and schemes of the government.



The pensions MMP is primarily aimed at making the pension/ retirement related information, services and grievances handling mechanism accessible online to the needy pensioners, through a combination of interactive and non-interactive components, and thus, help bridge the gap between the pensioners and the government.



The Banking MMP is yet another step towards improving operational efficiency and reducing the delays and efforts involved in handling and settling transactions. The MMP which is being implemented by the banking industry aims at streamlining various e-services initiatives undertaken by individual banks. Implementation is being done by the banks concerned, with the banking Department providing a broad framework and guidance.


/strong>Modernization of Postal Services has been undertaken by the Department of Posts through computerization and networking of all post offices using a central server-based system, and setting up of computerized registration centers (CRCs).



e-Governance in Municipalities


It is a unique initiative of the Government of India conceptualized under the umbrella of the overall National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) and the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (Jnnurm) aimed at improving operational efficiencies within Urban Local Bodies (ULBs).

Crime and Criminal Tracking Network & Systems


Crime and Criminal Tracking Network & Systems (CCTNS) MMP aims at creating a comprehensive and integrated system for enhancing the efficiency and effective policing at all levels and especially at the Police Station level through adoption of principles of e-Governance, and creation of a nationwide networked infrastructure for evolution of IT-enabled state-of-the-art tracking system.

Public Distribution System


Computerization of the PDS is envisaged as an end-to-end project covering key functional areas such as supply chain management including allocation and utilization reporting, storage and movement of food grains, grievance redressal and transparency portal, digitization of beneficiary database, Fair Price Shop automation, etc.


ICT for programme management has been undertaken by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare in the Mother and Child Tracking System (MCTS) programme and the Ministry envisages a more comprehensive use of ICT including for Hospital Information Systems, supply chain management for drugs and vaccines, providing ICT tools to ASHA and ANM workers, programme management of National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), etc through this MMP.


The Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) are saddled with the problems of inadequate physical and financial resources, technical capabilities and extremely limited computerization. As a result, the potential of PRIs as the preferred delivery channel for the schemes of State and Centre as well as for citizen services has not been fully realized. While some computerization efforts for PRIs have been made by NIC over the years, the e-Governance revolution sweeping the country has not touched the PRIs yet in significant measure. The Ministry of Panchayati Raj, Government of India has therefore decided to take up the computerization of PRIs on a mission mode basis.


e-District is one of the 31 Mission Mode Projects under National e Governance Plan (NeGP) with the DIT, GoI being the nodal ministry. This project aims at providing support to the basic administrative unit i.e. District Administration by undertaking backend computerization to enable electronic delivery of high volume citizen centric government services which would optimally leverage and utilize the three infrastructure pillars of State Wide Area Networks (SWAN), State Data Centers (SDC) and Common Service Centers (CSCs) to deliver services to the citizen at his doorsteps.

National Land Records Modernization Programme (NLRMP)

Property cards-


A Project for Computerization of Land Records (CLR) was launched in 1988-89 with the intention to remove the inherent flaws in the manual system of maintenance and updation of Land Records. In 1997-98, the scheme was extended to tehsils to start distribution of Records of Rights to landowners on demand. The focus of the entire operation has always been to employ state of the art information technology (IT) to galvanize and transform the existing land records system of the country.

Integrated Mission Mode Projects



Ministry of Commerce & Industry (Department of Commerce) has been nominated as the Nodal Ministry for implementation of e-Government Procurement (e-GP) Mission Mode Projects (MMP). The vision of the e-Procurement MMP is “To create a national initiative to implement procurement reforms, through the use of electronic Government procurement, so as to make public procurement in all sectors more transparent and efficient”.


The e-Court Mission Mode Project (MMP) was conceptualized with a vision to transform the Indian judiciary by making use of technology. The project had been developed, following the report submitted by the e-Committee under Supreme Court on national policy & action plan on implementation of information communication tools in Indian judiciary.

A clear objective – to re-engineer processes and enhance judicial productivity both qualitatively and quantitatively to make the justice delivery system affordable, accessible, cost effective, transparent and accountable.


The e-Biz Mission Mode Project, being executed by Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India, was conceptualized with the vision. Its vision is “To transform the business environment in the country by providing efficient, convenient, transparent and integrated electronic services to investors, industries and business throughout the business life cycle”.

Common Services Centres

The CSCs would provide high quality and cost-effective video, voice and data content and services, in the areas of e-governance, education, health, telemedicine, entertainment as well as other private services. A highlight of the CSCs is that it will offer web-enabled e-governance services in rural areas, including application forms, certificates, and utility payments such as electricity, telephone and water bills.

Direct Cash transfer

To facilitate disbursements of Government entitlements like NREGA, Social Security pension, Handicapped Old Age Pension etc. of any Central or State Government bodies, using Aadhaar and authentication thereof as supported by UIDAI.

Aadhar Enabled Payment system (AEPS) :

AEPS is a bank led model which allows online interoperable financial inclusion transaction through the Business correspondent of any bank using the Aadhaar authentication. This has helped in financial inclusion. The four Aadhaar enabled basic types of banking transactions are as follows:-

  • Balance Enquiry
  • Cash Withdrawal
  • Cash Deposit
  • Aadhaar to Aadhaar Funds Transfer

Digital India program

This programme has been envisaged by Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY). The vision of Digital India aims to transform the country into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy.  The programme will be implemented in phases from the current year till 2018.

The Digital India is transformational in nature and would ensure that Government services are available to citizens electronically.  It would also bring in public accountability through mandated delivery of government’s services electronically, a Unique ID and e-Pramaan based on authentic and standard based interoperable and integrated government applications and data basis.

The program aims at providing digital infrastructure as a utility to every citizen as well as high-speed internet as a core utility in all gram panchayats. The overall scope of this program is “to prepare India for a knowledge future”, “to make technology central to enabling change” and “to become an umbrella program covering many departments”

My Gov citizen portalPrime Minister  launched an online platform to engage citizens in the task of “good governance” ( surajya ) as he completed 60 days in office on Saturday. MyGov is a technology-driven platform that would provide people with the opportunity to contribute towards good governance.

E-Kranti scheme

This is project for linking the internet with remote villages in the country. This scheme will broaden the reach of internet services to the rural areas in the country. The fundamental features of this scheme will be making the records handy to the government with ease. It also includes Expansion of internet and commencement of IT-based jobs in rural areas. It will also boost the use of mobile phones and computers in rural areas. It will also expand the use of IT in agriculture and retail trade too.

Digital Cloud for every Indian

Certificates issued by the government — education, residential, medical records, birth certificates, etc. — are to be stored in individual ‘digital lockers’ and a communication protocol established for government departments to access them without physically having to see the hard copy. The purpose of government is that copies of certificates issued by the government itself not to be carried around by people to government offices for various services.

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