India’s Department of Electronics and Information Technology (referred to as DeitY; no, really. They call themselves DeitY), has unveiled its one year agenda, which should help you figure out a couple of things: where the money is going to go, and what sub-sectors they are going to mess around with. For 2013, the DeitY is going to look into 18 specific agenda areas, and we’re re-ordering them in order of relevance:
1. National Rollout of Mobile Service Delivery Gateway (MSDG), in order to make government services available to citizens through mobile devices. This rollout is expected to be completed by December 2013, and will involve:
- Scaling up of MSDG infrastructure
- Development of MSDG platform for all delivery channels (http://mgov.gov.in)
- Mobile App Store (http://apps.mgov.gov.in) with 75 live Apps
- Mobile Payment Gateway
- Mobile Wallet
- Transactions: 1.0 crore transactions per month (TPM)
Check the mgovernance app store, at http://apps.mgov.gov.in . We checked it out, and 14 apps are currently live, but the Indian government should remember that it’s one thing to launch an app store, quite another to keep apps updated. It’s worth noting that this site isn’t even mobile optimised. Well done DeitY.
The launch of a mobile payment gateway and Mobile Wallet are interesting, but it is not clear as to who will be allowed to integrate with it, and whether these will be for government services only. Note that the website for the payment gateway isn’t opening.
2. eGov App Store, to enable “Rapid deployment and re-use of applications leading to time and cost savings”, and a reduction of effort in development and maintenance of applications that have already been developed by other departments/agencies at Center or States”. The government plans to launch a pilot eGov App Store, but doesn’t specify a date. It also plans to conduct training and workshops “to popularise the use of the National e-Gov AppStore”.
The idea behind an app store is to enable discovery. How this will be different from the mobile applications store is not very clear, and frankly, we’re not sure if a desktop based app store makes sense. The government should just create a page that lists all the egovernance services by state, with information on how to access them. Making it sound like an app store merely appears to be an attempt to make it appear fancy and expensive.
3. Develop a Personal Safety Device indigenously, leveraging mobile, to cater to the security needs of people. Planned features:
- Android watch
- Voice command activation
- Motion Sensor (Shock sensor)
- Live GPS Tracking
- Emergency Response System: Work in no network area
- Automatic call to several pre-defined numbers
- All incoming outgoing calls in Conference Call Mode
- Alert button
Our take: This could well be a mobile phone. Hasn’t the Indian government learned from the Aakash disaster? Why is it trying to get involved in manufacturing?
4. National Cloud Computing Initiative (Phase I): is going to be launched with the objective of optimum utilization of infrastructure, speeding up development and deployment of e-Gov applications. The government intends to set up cloud infrastructure at NIC Data Centre, Shastri Park; set up the Institutional Structure, launch the first phase of the National Cloud, and set up a Centre of Excellence (CoE) on Cloud Computing.
5. Scheme for IT Mass Literacy: the government has set an objective for making one person e-literate in each household, and for the year, is targeting one e-literate person in each of l0 lakh households. Strange that this is a plan, because this target is likely to already have been reached. Well done DeitY.
6. Setting up of 10 New STPI Centres, with the objective of helping the IT industry set up in Tier-II/III cities to cater to needs of Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and startup units, and provide reliable data communication and other value added services to IT / ITeS Industries. The government plans to set up STPI centres at Amritsar, Bhopal, Aizawl, Surat, Jamshedpur, Chhindwara, Jabalpur, Deoghar, Balasore, Dhanbad.
7. Sports Connect Portal to be set up, to implement short term programs identified by the detailed study on the usage of ICT in Sports for the benefit of sports persons. “The program will connect and communicate, through various media with millions of aspiring youth for guidance / inspiration from sporting legends/stars.” Our take: Why? Sounds like a waste of money. Let media companies do this.
8. Digitization of Indian Folklores: The government has set itself the target of “Development of Indian Folklore in Digital Media”, which could mean anything, in order to preserve as well as provide ready online access to Indian Folklore.
9. Set up 10 Electronics Manufacturing Clusters (EMCs), to promote setting up of state-of- the-art infrastructure facilities
10. The government plans to receive Modified Special Incentive Package Scheme (MSIPS) applications for Rs 25,000 crore, and approve MSIPS Units
11. Set up of Semiconductor Wafer Fabrication (Fab) Manufacturing Facilities in the country
Some of the other objectives are rather vague or limited in their approach:
- National Information Infrastructure (NII 2.0), IT infrastructure on Demand: with the objective of devising an integrated institutional structure for managing NII 2.0, allowing for optimum utilization of core ICT infrastructure. The government has set vague targets: “Enhanced cost effectiveness due to scale economies, Enhanced cyber security and strategic control”
- Setting up of a National e-Governance Academy, with the objective of establishing a National Centre for Capacity Building on e-Governance, and the target for the year is to obtain and approval for establishing the academy.
- Common Man Interface (Dial.Gov), with the objective of providing information on the governments welfare schemes to people. The target? “Dial.Gov services with more information for Common Man“, is vague, at best.
- National Cyber Security Policy: to create an ecosystem for cyber security in the country. How does the government plan to achieve this? By Notifying the National Cyber Security Policy.
- Scheme to give thrust to Research in areas of Electronics System Design and Manufacturing (ESDM) and IT/IT Enabled Services (ITES) [PhD scheme for ESDM and IT/ITES sectors] to promote Research in Electronics & IT, and support the development of 3000 PhDs in Electronics and 3000 PhDs in ICT during XII Five Year Plan.
- Scheme for financial assistance for setting up of Electronics and ICT Academies in States/UTs for faculty development.
- Scheme to support development of 31 Electronics and ICT Academies (one for each State)
- To receive applications from entrepreneurs in the Electronic System Design Manufacturing (ESDM) sector, and set up a portal to receive online applications for Modified Special Incentive Package Scheme (MSIPS) and Electronics Manufacturing Cluster (EMC) scheme.