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Posted by Manish Bahl on February 2, 2012
The Department of Information Technology (DIT) of India recently launched a paper on “Framework for Mobile Governance” that aims at providing fast and easy access of public services to citizens through mobile devices. In view of the limited success of the e-governance initiative in India (low Internet and PC penetration coupled with implementation-related issues), the shift in the government’s approach to using mobile as an alternative delivery medium for public services is a step in the right direction. According to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), there were roughly 894 million wireless subscribers in India as of December 31, 2011, and it is encouraging to see that the government is finally realizing the importance of mobile in achieving its e-governance initiative. I have taken key highlights from the mobile framework published by DIT:
Wow! The list looks amazing. While I appreciate the government’s efforts in this direction, I take a pragmatic view on the initiative. It will not be easy for the Indian government to achieve its ambitious mobile governance goal in view of the key challenges highlighted below:
So what does it mean for vendors? In spite of all the challenges, there will be key opportunities for all types of vendors as it becomes imperative for the Indian government to use mobile to connect with the country’s billion-plus population. The opportunities for vendors lie in:
The government should learn from its e-governance experience, as just creating a framework and building infrastructure does not guarantee success if the implementation is weak. The days of only investing in the system are over for India. Integrated efforts across different government bodies and a strategic implementation of the initiative will be critical to the government’s success in providing public services, even in remote areas. Also, the integration of the mobile infrastructure with the UIDAI platform will be crucial, as it can provide a new and smarter face for the Indian government. We will witness new and innovative public-private partnership models emerge for the design and delivery of governance services in India. Nevertheless, vendors should view the mobile governance initiative in the form of an “opportunity challenge” matrix, as each opportunity will come with a challenge.
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