The Department of information & Technology (DIT) has announced that it intends to complete the development of a platform that would enable government to citizen services on mobile phones, by December 2011, according to a PTI report. The report quotes Shankar Aggarwal,additional secretary, DIT who confirms the same. Two groups have been formed to sort out conflicting issues among stakeholders and to frame a roadmap for the technology that will be used by the DIT for deploying M-Governance services. According to the report, the mobile service delivery gateway will be developed by IT firms in partnership with the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC).
There has also been news about a conflict arising amongst the government and telecom operators on the issue of pricing, and that the telcos do not want government interference, when comes to finalizing the tariffs for the services. Although the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) wants the TRAI to decide on tariffs, the DIT wants its committee to work on the tariffs. The DIT will also come out with a notification on the standards for mobile applications by end of this month, and is holding a round-table meeting with mobile application developers next week.
The Indian Government’s Mobile Governance Policy Framework
The government has proposed formulating a comprehensive policy on Mobile Governance and the National e-Governance Division(NeGD) within DIT has floated a Draft Consultation Paper on Mobile Governance Policy Framework, which is available online (pdf) so that various stakeholders across Government Departments, Industry, and Citizens can give their feedback and comments on the same.
According to the consultation paper, the M-Governance policy of the government intends to:
– Build an enabling mobile service delivery infrastructure consisting of a Mobile Service Delivery Gateway (MSDG) that is fully integrated with the existing infrastructure created under the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP).
– Formulate relevant standards for applications for mobile governance to ensure seamless interoperability of services across multiple service providers and multiple Government departments and agencies.
-Develop an appropriate regulatory regime for mobile governance to ensure proper coordination among multiple stakeholders, ensure compliance with the standards for applications and ensure seamless interoperability of services and implementation of short and long codes for public services across multiple service providers.
-Develop suitable mechanisms to enable users to pay for public services through mobile phones.
– Identify key public services for delivery though mobile platform through stakeholder consultations.
– Formulate a Project Assessment Framework for the Government departments and agencies to ensure compliance of services planned under the mobile governance policy.
– Create a state of the art knowledge portal as well as various toolkits for deployment of mobile governance.
– Develop and deploy Public Private Partnership (PPP) and Multi Stakeholder Partnership (MSP) models for design and delivery of mobile governance services as well as encouraging development of cloud based implementation models and use of light technologies.
– Deploy an appropriate capacity building framework to enhance delivery and absorption capacity for m-Governance services.
Looks like the Government is on the right track, in at least choosing the right direction. However, it will be interesting to see how it connects its various departments, and integrates IT companies, developers, VAS providers and other entities in the process. Of course, government processes do take their own course of time, and the proposal is still in its draft stage, but if it could emulate the rollout of Aadhaar or UIDAI, it could create a different ecosystem all together.
Interestngly, the consultation paper also mentions Aadhaar/UIDAI as one of the stakeholders expected to play an important role in M-governance. It also mentions the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). The DIT intends to use all modern mobile technologies for delivering M-governance services, including SMS, and applications connected via GPRS and 3G data.