Friday, November 14, 2014

Mobile Governance Initiative-Electronic Delivery of Public Services in India

        The Government of India launched Mobile Governance Initiative, colloquially known as "Mobile Seva"  in 2011, as a countrywide initiative  on mobile governance to provide public services to the citizens through mobile phones and handheld devices. This initiative aims at mainstreaming mobile governance in the country as a compelling new paradigm for delivery of public services electronically through the mobile platform.
         As a part of this initiative, a centralized platform named Mobile Service Delivery Gateway(MSDG) was created to provide a one- stop solution to all the federal and state government departments and agencies across the nation for all their mobile service delivery needs. The objective of the initiative is to provide a centrally hosted infrastructure and platform that allow all government departments and agencies to expeditiously start offering services through mobiles without having to invest heavily in creating their own mobile platforms. The platform enables departments to provide electronic services through various mobile based channels such as SMS, mobile apps, Unstructured Supplementary Service Data(USSD), Interactive Voice Response System (IVRS) etc.
       A number of departments and agencies have integrated their services with this platform and have delivered millions of push transactions to citizens. In addition, pull based services also live on the platform. Furthermore, the Mobile AppStore hosts a number of live and fully integrated mobile apps for a wide range of public services. Real-time status and information is available round the clock on the portal and via regular posts on social media.
        India has the second largest mobile network in the world, with 904.52 million wireless connections, as per the Annual Report for 2013-14, of Department of Telecommunications, Government of India. With the number of mobile users far outstripping the bank account holders, provision of this platform for public services and financial services is a major step in financial inclusion and public service delivery, with reduced transaction costs. Thus mobile seva, has the possibility of bridging the institutional role and greater distance, particularly in widely dispersed rural  areas, increasing access, affordability, and convenience.
       Mobile Seva  has been awarded the second prize by the United Nations Public Service Awards Program(UNPSA) under the category on "Promoting Whole-of- Government Approaches in the Information Age" of UN Public Service Awards, 2014.
      Nonetheless, the issues of security, and privacy are important for the sustainable success of the initiative. The silver lining, how ever, is that these problems are not insurmountable.


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