India has a 73% literacy rate, according to the National Statistical Commission. However, only about 24% of people are financially literate. India has an extremely low level of financial literacy compared to other developing nations. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, in her union budget presentation, announced that a National Digital Library for children and adolescents would be set up to facilitate the availability of quality books.
According to the Finance Minister, the digital library will facilitate the availability of books across languages, geographies, genres, and levels. Furthermore, states will be encouraged to set up physical libraries for them at Panchayat and ward levels and provide infrastructure for accessing the National Digital Library resources, she said. The National Book Trust and Children’s Book Trust will provide books in local languages as well as in English to the physical libraries, the minister added.
What is the National Digital Library?
A National Digital Library will be a repository of digital objects, such as books, articles, images, videos, and other forms of multimedia, that will be made available to users for access and use over the internet.
The National Digital Library will provide access to information and knowledge and can be used for research, education, or personal interest. Unlike traditional libraries, which store physical items, digital libraries will store information in digital format and provide access through computers, laptops, mobiles, or other internet-connected devices.
With the introduction of the National Digital Library, users across the country will be benefited from easy search and retrieval of information, as well as the ability to preserve information for future generations in a sustainable manner.
Users can access educational materials ranging from elementary to postgraduate level. Other than this, information can be tailored based on language preference, education level, degree of difficulty, and other considerations.
The digital library will support multiple languages, including English and regional languages, to make its resources available to wider audiences. We can expect a user-friendly interface with advanced search capabilities to make it easy for users to find the information they need. We can hope the National Digital Library will have an easy to use interface for the general public to use.
Also, there can be a collaboration between the National Digital Library, institutions, and individuals to create a rich and diverse collection of educational resources.
How Is National Digital Library of India (NDLI) Different From Other Digital Libraries?
NDLI will provide a single window search facility to act as a one-stop shop for all digital educational resources. Information can be personalised based on the education level, choice of language, difficulty level, media of content and such other factors while other Digital libraries may not include all these choices.
NDLI provides interface support for the leading vernacular languages and thus one can select the language of his/her choice to search or browse through NDLI. In other words, it is like a ‘customised service’ provided in a 24×7 integrated environment to suit a user’s requirement and will be like a single ‘go-to’ shop for any requirement.
Updates About the National Digital Library
As part of inclusive development, Sitharaman proposed to set up a National Digital Library for children and adolescents for facilitating availability of quality books across geographies, languages, genres and levels, and device agnostic accessibility. The Finance Minister stated that States will be encouraged to set up physical libraries for them at panchayat and ward levels and provide infrastructure for accessing the National Digital Library resources.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, in her union budget presentation, announced that a National Digital Library for children and adolescents would be set up to facilitate the availability of quality books. According to the Finance Minister, the digital library will facilitate the availability of books across languages, geographies, genres, and levels.
The National Digital Library will be sponsored and mentored by the Ministry of Education, Government of India, through its National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technology (NMEICT).
“States will be encouraged to set up physical libraries for them at panchayat and ward levels and provide infrastructure for accessing the National Digital Library resources,” says FM Nirmala Sitharaman.
Nirmala Sitharaman also announced a plan to boost non-curricular reading in regional languages and English for lost learning due to the pandemic. More details on the plan are awaited.
The aim is to extend access to knowledge to a wider population, but it’s unclear whether the whole library will be free to access or there will be some charge or subscription to access a select set of material.
Furthermore, Bharat Shared Repository of Inscriptions will be set up in a digital epigraphy museum. The repository will digitise one lakh ancient inscriptions in the first stage of the project, Sitharaman revealed.