You've got an SMS!

Delivery of various government services through mobile phones has become a big hit with people in the hill state

brajesh

Brajesh Kumar | January 26, 2010


B.K. Aggrawal, principal secretary, IT, Himachal Pradesh, gives a demo on mGov
B.K. Aggrawal, principal secretary, IT, Himachal Pradesh, gives a demo on mGov

Shimla: Himachal Pradesh, a leader in e-governance, became the second state to board the m-governance bandwagon after Kerala providing information on a number of government services on mobile. The service was launched in the state in October 2009.

In the initial stage we are providing information on government services like driving licence, arms license, birth certificates, vehicle registrations free of cost to the general public on their mobiles, said B.K. Aggrawal, principal secretary, IT, Himachal Pradesh.

This service has been launched for three districts – Hamirpur, Shimla and Solan – and would be expanded to the entire state by March 2010.

People are asked to give their mobile phone number while applying for any service. As soon as the licences or certificates are ready for delivery, a message is sent to the applicant, who can collect it according to his own convenience.

The response of locals has been overwhelming. “It makes life so much easier. Since I had received an SMS informing me that my license was ready, I could come to the centre at a time of my convenience,” said Ramesh Thakur at Solan district integrated community service centre (Sugam).

When I filled in my mobile number in the vehicle registration application, I had no idea I would be alerted when the certificate was made. It makes time management easier,” said Ashok Sharma who had come to Shimla Sugam centre to collect his certificate.

Apart from information on services, there is also a facility to send bulk messages to group of citizens giving them important information like disaster alerts, traffic jams, and disruption of any public service like water supply, electricity. Also it is being used by senior government officials to pass instructions to their juniors.

With Himachal Pradesh boasting of highest tele-density in the country, the m-governance initiative stands a good chance to succeed, say government officials. It also saves on government resources like paper and ink.

Himachal government has identified 20 other services from eight government departments that would be covered by m-governance project. These include irrigation and public health, agriculture, horticulture, state electricity board, state transport corporations, forest and education.

Spice Digital has been chosen as the service provider which will provide for the infrastructure. “We pay eight paise per SMS sent to the public. The IT department will bear the cost for one year,” said Aggrawal.

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