NDLM - National Digital Literacy Mission

India is one of the emerging mobile markets in the world. It would be almost unbelievable if a fact states almost 90% of the Indian population lag behind when it comes to digital literacy. India’s heart is in its 6, 50,000 villages and over 2.5 lakh panchayats. 40% of the Indian population is living below the poverty line (BPL). India’s villages are far off the map to benefit from the country’s digital revolution and stupendous economic development. To bridge this gap and to get all Indian citizens ready for the future technologies, the Government of India initiated the NDLM (National Digital Literacy Mission Programme) to empower at least one member from every family with the required digital skills by the year 2020. The NDLM is also referred to as Digital Saksharta Abhiyan (DISHA).

Over 250 million Indians over the course of next few years are expected to benefit from the NDLM programme. Also, NDLM scheme is one of the major contributors to the Prime Minister’s “Digital India” vision.

Why was the NDLM initiated?

As per the report by IAMAI, in 2011, the number of mobile users in rural India was 30,00, 000.

There was a 50 per cent rise by 2012 and the number of mobile users grew to 45,000, 000. In spite of such promising digital terrain, many villages in India lack connectivity to Internet.

Only 3.5 in 1000 households has Internet Connectivity in rural Indian household. Most of the rural areas are inaccessible in the map and often does not get the good fruits of India’s digital uprising. Also, emergence of promising NGOs has shown the Indian Government a more feasible way of accessing these villages. The process of enabling India’s rural community to use Information and Communication Technology (ICT) can be extremely challenging. To make digital India a reality and to impart the skills that are necessary to be Digitally literate, the Government of India initiated the NDLM scheme to make at least one person in every rural India household digitally literate by 2020.

Involvement of BBNL in NDLM

To contribute to the process of making 3.5 million Indians digitally literate, the Universal Services Obligation Fund (USOF) established BBNL (Bharat BroadBand Network Limited) to come up with the National Optical Fiber Network Plan (NOFN). BBLN has rolled out a scheme where it would lay out optic fibre cables in over 2.5 lakh gram panchayats To make sure that every village has been included in the digitization process, BBNL’s NOFP will offer 100 MBPs internet link in all the villages. This internet facility will then be effectively utilized by all stakeholders to ensure the digital literacy of people in the village.

For the same purpose, BBNL has picked three strategic pilot blocks - Pravada in Vishakapatnam, Arain in Rajasthan and Naogang in North Tripura where the interent connectivity would be offered for free for a period of one month and the costs will be adjusted after that period depending on project cost. To complement to the vision of NOFN plan, Intel Corporation and DEF (Digital Empowerment Foundation), in partnership with NDLM, has launched the “Follow the Fiber Programme” (FtF) to light up rural communities and help them to take a step towards Digital Literacy.

Vision of NDLM

National Digital Literacy Mission (NDLM) operates with a vision to create a consortium with multiple stakeholders and operate together with government and their other schemes and schedules to display in some of the Indian panchayats constituencies that how empowering them digitally can change the scenario of governance, social inclusion, empowerment, employment and educational approach.

Main Objectives of NDLM

National Digital Literacy Mission will develop an ecosystem of technological education and digital literacy that will empower India to take a lead in the digital economy around the globe and also help India to stay in the digital competitiveness and to shape a society that is empowered technologically.

NDLM will operate with the following objectives.

  • To make rural communities more competent with training and capacity building programme and to make them digitally literate.
  • To create economic, cultural and social advantages for rural communities in India with content and information gateway.
  • To enable deployment of citizens in rural areas via digital means.
  • To develop a digital data house at all rural communities to enable them to be economically viable.

Who are the Stakeholders of NDLM?

National Digital Literacy Programme has the following stakeholders. The functions of each stakeholder is as described below.

  • The Panchayat Committee

    NDLM aims to develop a knowledge consortium with multiple stakeholders and to work with the Government in cooperation to show these Panchayat Constituencies how making them digitally literate can lead to the enrichment of social inclusion. employment, governance, educational approach and empowerment. Because of this, the Panchayat Committees have a very important role to play in cooperating with other stakeholders.

  • Intel Corporation

    Intel Corporation is one of the important stakeholders in the NDLM project which aims to educate at least one person per household about digital literacy.

  • BBNL

    BBNL, Bharat Broadband Network Limited , was established as a Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) in 2012. In 2011, the Government of India approved the National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) to bring together all 2.5 lakh gram panchayats. This is to be done by using all existing optical fiber and bringing it to Gram Panchayats. For executing this strategy, other important players like RailTel, PGCIL and BSNL have also been assigned. C-DOT, NIC, TCIL, BSNL, PGCIL, RailTel are working together with BBNL on this NOFN project which is funded by USOF.

  • DEF

    Digital Empowerment Foundation. DEF, was established to uplift the downtrodden and create a commercial and economic viability by using information and communication technology. When Bharat BroadBand Network Limited was established by Universal Services Obligation Fund or USOF, DEF co-operated with BSNL to lay out the National Digital Literacy Mission Programme. NDLM aims to contribute to the digital literacy awareness in rural India while BBNL lays out the foundation for internet through optic fibre cables in all 2.5 lakh gram panchayats across India.

What are the Areas Covered under NDLM?

The following areas are covered under the NDLM scheme currently.

  • Naogang, Panisagar, North Tripura

    The NOFN line has been successfully extended to Panisagar which is a subdivision and a block of North Tripura district. Almost 70 per cent of the Panchayat Area is currently covered with NOFN lines. The Naogang area is populated by various tribal community people including Debbarma and Halam. This Panchayat region has about 409 families who are kuki tribe natives. Agriculture and fishing is the main occupation of people in Naogang and also about 80 per cent of the population depend on agriculture as a means of livelihood. This region has a literacy rate of 70 per cent. Introducing digital literacy in Naugang would mean better facilities for agriculture and enhanced social inclusion.

  • Arain, Ajmer, Rajasthan

    Arain in Rajasthan is the first village to have a NOFN line offered by BBNL and USOF. Although Arain is a buzzing town with facilities like hospital, banks, post office, police station and bus station, there is no proper Internet facilities or a digital way of doing things. In 2012, Intel Corporation and DEF incorporated a NDLM centre in Arian Panchayat at Ajmer. With 2 netbooks and 8 laptops, the NDLM project was kicked off at Arain with 30 students, each from different households.

  • In three months of NDLM in Arain, over 250 individuals were trained on digital literacy.

  • Muthyalammapalem, Vizag, Andhra Pradesh

    One of the poorest villages in Andhra Pradesh with a population size of 1840 and 454 fishermen families, Muthyalammapalem was bypassed by the IT revolution that his Andhra Pradesh. The contrasting stories of Hyderabad which witnessed a rapid growth of IT and Muthyalammapalem shows the heights of stark inequalities in India. Out of 454 families in this region, 453 are below poverty line. To make this situation better through internet and associated technologies, this region was included even in the initial stages of NDLM.

Components of NDLM

National Digital Literacy Mission aims to incorporate the following components when being offered to an individual.

  • NDLM centres must act as full fledged knowledge centres.
  • NDLM must contribute towards supplementary education.
  • NDLM must aim to bring social and economic impact at rural areas.
  • Through Digital literacy skills program, NDLM must help youth to think critically.
  • This scheme must contribute towards women empowerment.
  • This project must offer the necessary tools for information security and digital literacy.
Also, the following sub-projects can be created as a result of NDLM programme.
  • Wireless for communities programme
  • Skill Development Programme for employment
  • e-NGO programme
  • Community Information Resource Centre
  • Tele-Health Services
  • Digital Panchayat Programme
  • Web based sanitation and drinking water system
  • Rural BPOs
  • Women Literacy mission programme
  • Digital Panchayat Programme

Training Provided Under NDLM

Two levels of training is offered under NDLM scheme.

  • Level 1 - Appreciation of Digital Literacy

    This module aims to make an individual IT literate and impart the necessary skills to operate digital devices including tablets and mobile phones etc. Also, after this module the person must be able to receive mails, send mails and use the internet to search for necessary information.

    The course duration is 20 hours and a minimum of 10 days to maximum of 30 days.

  • Level 2 - Basics of Digital Literacy

    This module aims at offering an advanced level of digital literacy to individuals. The citizens would be trained to access e-Governance services effectively and also to use the services offered by other agencies.

    The duration of this level 2 module is 40 hours and a minimum of 20 days to a maximum of 60 days.

Eligibility and Documentation for NDLM

The eligibility criteria for NDLM is as follows.

  • For level 1 examination, the individual must be a non-IT literate or illiterate and must have passed up to 7th standard.
  • For level 2 module and examination, the person must be a non-IT literate and at least 8th standard pass.

The documentation required to enroll in level 1 and level 2 modules for NDLM is as follows.

For Anganwadi workers, ration dealers and ASHA workers
  • Official ID is mandatory.
  • Aadhaar card at the time of registration.
For General Candidates
  • BPL card for families below poverty line
  • For reserved categories, caste certificate is mandatory
  • At the time of registration, Aadhaar card is mandatory.

Eligibility for becoming a Training Partner

  • A training partner should be an organization registered in India and must have been operating in the domain of IT literacy and education for over 3 years.
  • The partner must have a Permanent Income tax Account Number (PAN) and must have audited statements for a minimum of 3 years.
  • The partner must have clearly documented processes & procedures, well defined objectives which cover the whole range of IT literacy training and education.
  • The partner must have been registered under any act of law in India.

NDLM In Indian Cities

According to the Government guidelines, the NDLM is a pan-India project. For easy implementation, the states are divided into 3 categories namely A, B and C, depending on the population and objectives have been defined as per the category.

  • Category A
  • Under this Category, 3,10, 000 students are to be covered. The states that are covered under category A include Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh (including Telangana), Gujarat and Karnataka.

  • Category B
  • Around 1,1o, 000 students are to be coached under category B. The states that fall under category B are Odisha, Kerala, Haryana, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand, Assam, NCT of Delhi, Punjab and Chhattisgarh.

  • Category C
  • Around 36, 666 participants are expected to be covered under this category. The states for this category include Himachal Pradesh, Tripura, Daman & Diu, Lakshadweep, Meghalaya, Manipur, Puducherry, Chandigarh, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and Dadar & Nagar Haveli.

    Dividing states as categories help in easy implementation of the scheme.

Role of CSC SPV in NDLM

CSC SPV is the programme management unit (PMU) for monitoring and implementing NDLM. The responsibilities of PMU include offering the required support to state agencies, DeitY in tasks like developing curriculum, developing online mechanism for monitoring and registration, programme design, conducting workshops, managing events etc. The objectives of PMU in NDLM include the following.

  • Coordinating with all stakeholders at the state and district level.
  • Development of courseware and curriculum frame work.
  • Setting up an online monitoring system for registration, monitoring and training of beneficiaries.
  • Coming up with accreditation norms for training centers after consultation with agencies that offer accreditation like NIELIT etc.
  • Conducting seminars and workshops and other awareness campaigns for stakeholders to create awareness about NDLM.
  • Developing certification norms and examination norms in consultation with IGNOU, NIELIT and other related industries.
  • Ensuring the implementation, coordination and management of the entire scheme.
  • Making sure that all the deliverables are completed within the time frame allotted and within the fixed budget.


  1. How do I access the NDLM digital literacy courses?
  2. The e-content for NDLM is available on YouTube in Hindi, English, Bengali, Assamese and Oriya. It is also being curated in other popular regional languages like Tamil, Telugu and Punjabi. The handbook for NDLM is also based on course content and has been developed English and Hindi in addition to other major regional languages. These course materials are available on the NDLM website.

  3. What infrastructure do I need to register as a NDLM centre?
  4. You will need the following infrastructure to register as NDLM centre.

    • At least 3 to 5 computers with webcam.
    • Internet connection
    • Power backup
    • Biometric finger print scanner or an iris scanner
  5. What is the advantage of NDLM to candidates?
    • NDLM offers basic training to individuals on how to use mobile phones, tablets and computers.
    • The individuals are also coached on how to use computer programmes like Excel, Paint and MS Word.
    • Other things like using the internet to make bill payments, book train & bus tickets and communicating using Twitter, Facebook and Skype are taught.
    • This training comes free of cost. After completion of the examination, the participants get certificate from the Government recognized agencies like NIOS and NIELT.
  6. How many members from a family can participate in NDLM training?
  7. This training is available to only one member from a household and also only that member will be eligible to take the examination. The households which have one digitally literate family member will not be eligible to participate in the NDLM Scheme.

  8. Can a person directly apply for training under the NDLM project?
  9. Yes, general candidates can apply directly and get a certification under NDLM. The individual has to just log in the site and complete Aadhaar authentication after which he can directly attend the exam. In such cases, no training is provided to the candidates.

  10. How much fees is offered to a VLE or a training partner under the NDLM scheme?
    • For every SC, ST and BPL student who clears the level 1 and level 2 examination. VLE and training partners get Rs. 500.
    • For each ASHA worker, Anganwadi worker and authorized ration dealer who clears the examination, the training partner and VLE will get Rs. 500.
    • For OBC and general candidates who clear the exam, the training partner and VLE will get Rs. 375 each.

News About NDLM

  • IBPS Launches Dedicated Web Portal

    The Ministry of Electronics and IT today as launched a dedicated web portal for the Indian BPO Promotion Scheme (IBPS), which was launched the Digital India Programme. The IBPS, with a total outlay of Rs.493 crore hopes to generate jobs and promote BPO operations across the country. This programme would also help in building smaller cities in terms of infrastructure and manpower and will help in the next wave of IT led growth in the country. The dedicated web portal (https://ibps.stpi.in/) will provide information on bidding, status of application, news, alerts and other relevant information. The scheme will provide capital support and special incentives of up to Rs.1 lakh per seat. The scheme hopes to support 48,300 seats across states and union territories which exclude metropolitan cities with urban assemblage.

    14 November 2016

  • Puducherry Government introduces virtual IT cadre

    The Puducherry Government has combined all departments and agencies into one and formed a Virtual Information Technology cadre. As a part of the e-governance initiative, the government aims at making at least one person in every house IT literate, who can use a computer and mobile phone to send, and receive emails through internet. The project is being taken under the NDLM (National Digital Literacy Mission) and plans to bridge the digital gap.

    The Directorate of Information Technology has already started identifying prospective employees in various departments and government agencies, who have IT skills. These employees will be trained and placed in different e-governance projects, while they continue working in their parent departments. The Puducherry Government intends to make the whole of the union territory e-literate through this initiative.

    22 September 2016

  • Colruyt Group announces launch of its first NDLM Centre

    Colruyt is a leading retailer of food, and non-food products in Belgium, Luxemborg, and France. The group, along with NASSCOM (National Association of Software and Services Companies) Foundation, has now announced the opening of its first National Digital Literacy Mission centre in Borabanda in Hyderabad. The centre will be dedicated to training individuals in digital literacy. The training infrastructure and trainers will be facilitated by the centre, in collaboration with the Implementation Partner, Nirmaan Organisation.

    Colruyt Group will offer training to 1,000 candidates, every year, from the underserved communities on usage of digital devices such as mobile phones and computers. The group aims at bringing about an overall societal human capital growth.

    21 September 2016

  • Digital literacy program to be introduced by the Government soon

    E-literacy program will be soon launched by the Department of Electronics and IT over the next three years. This program will be benefitting over 6 crore Indians and will be part of the 2016-2017 budget. This initiative which is under the National Digital Literacy Mission (NDLM) has received a good response. The Digital Saksharta Abhiyan (Disha) or the National Digital Literacy Mission (NDLM) will provide free digital education to Below Poverty Line (BPL) families, scheduled tribes and scheduled castes. The Indian Government has joined hands with Nasscom Foundation to push the initiative and also receive CSR funds from companies like Intel, Microsoft and Google. Further, other IT companies are showing initiative to partner and participate in digital literacy programs. The 40-hour training program from NDLM offers training on operating mobile devices, laptops, tablets, desktops including information on internet, chat and emails.

    2 June 2016

  • Digital Literacy campaign held in Bangalore

    Recently, the National Digital Literacy Mission organized a campaign in Nelamangala, Bangalore to create awareness on Digital Literacy among people. The campaign was held in the form of a competition was held on 18th February, 2016. The main purpose behind this campaign was to create awareness on Digital Literacy Schemes and assess what kinds of trainings the beneficiaries would require.

    Under the NDLM, so far 1,200 beneficiaries have registered. The competition was conducted in categories like Typing, Paint and Practical Application.

    4 March 2016

  • Nasscom and SAP Come Together to Open 25 NDLM Centres

    Around 3.5 lakh provident fund subscribers in Ernakulum, Alappuzha, Thrissur and Lakshadweep under the sub-regional office of the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) in Kochi have obtained the mandatory universal account number (UAN).

    According to a statement issued by the EPF office, it is mandatory to initiate the UAN registration process without any delay. UAN is mostly required in claim forms and while lodging grievances and representations with the EPFO.

    16 February 2016

  • Government Aims to Have 52.5 Lakh Digital Literates by 2016

    The deadline for making people computer and internet-literate under the National Digital Literacy Mission (NDLM) has been advanced by a year. The government targets to make 52.5 lakh people digitally literate by 2016 instead of the earlier goal of 2017.

    Nasscom Foundation and SAP, a business software firm, are joining hands to open 25 NDLM centres in the country. Nasscom personally intends to open around 100 NDLM centres. These centres will train around 1,000 persons every year. The level 1 course is given free of charge. Nasscom is also launching a digital literacy volunteering campaign, under which each volunteer will impart digital training to at least 2 individuals on digital skills through the NDLM-MyKartavya mobile app.

    11 February 2016

  • Sears India to Set Up National Digital Literacy Mission Centre in Pune

    Sears India has tied up with Nasscom Foundation to establish a National Digital Literacy Mission (NDLM) centre in Pune. The centre will impart digital literacy to people in Wagholi and its surrounding areas.

    While Sears India will provide training infrastructure and trainers, Krushi Vikas va Gramin Prashikshan Sanstha, Talni, will implement the programme. The centre will train up to 1,000 beneficiaries every year on computers and smartphones. The training is aimed at making people from the under-privileged classes computer and internet-literate.

    Santosh Panicker, Chief People Officer, Sears India, said their efforts under the Digital India initiative has the potential to impact around 12,000 individuals.

    9 February 2016

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