Mobile governance comes of age

Aadhaar and digital certificate-based authentications will soon be integrated with Mobile Seva initiative

ankitalahiri

Ankita Lahiri | October 14, 2014



The pace at which mobile governance (m-gov) is growing in India is staggering. From a mere 192 departments being on board in the month of April 2013, the number has reached 1,321 departments in September 2014. It means that an average of 50 departments is joining the group every month. Explaining the scale of growth, Dr Rajendra Kumar, joint secretary, department of electronics and information technology (DeitY), said, “It is a growth of 500 percent every year. Fifty percent of the departments are already on board.”

Mobi stats

Push SMS


1,321 departments / agencies

Approximately 1,41,34,30,388 SMSes pushed

Pull SMS

357 services

Approximately 36,14,037 SMSes pulled

Mobile apps

314 live mobile applications (m-Apps)

2,12,992 downloads hosted on the m-app store

IVRS integration

Approximately 1,64,145 transactions using IVRS services


Considered one of the largest projects to be implemented by the central government in the last three years, the Mobile Seva initiative offers services through USSD, internet and the mobile app store. As per statistics available with Governance Now, over 314 live mobile applications with close to 2,13,000 downloads have been serviced from the portal. The agriculture department uses m-governance services the most. State departments are not far behind with the most popular states being Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh.

“The use of internet through the mobile phone helps in maximum reach of governance services. It is the key activity for departments to evolve through e-governance sources and to deliver through mobile platform,” said Kumar. Being an election year one would have expected the election commission’s numbers to have witnessed a lot of activity. But the numbers are surprisingly low. Kumar clarified that most of the SMSes were either sent by the state election commission or by the department of administrative reforms and public grievances. It is the state departments that handle and dispose of maximum queries regarding status of applications like birth certificates.

With regards to SMS services, there are two types of SMSes that are sent out. Push messages is the information sent out by the government to the public and pull messages are the ones that are sent by the public to the government. The difference between the two numbers is vast. Currently, the portal shows that as of now 141,34,30,388 SMSes have been sent out to the citizens by integrated departments. In terms of pull messages just 36,14,037 SMSes have been received. Kumar explained that most of the information is already being sent out by the departments. “The citizens do not need to send in their queries. Further, SMSes are being sent at every stage to the citizens. There is no need for them to follow up,” he said.

The use of internet through the mobile phone helps in maximum reach of governance services.

Rajendra Kumar, joint secretary, department of electronics and IT


Unveiled last year, the use of digital signature is still at the pilot stage. Kumar added that digital signatures might be linked to either the SIM card of the phones or the SD card. It can be used to authenticate or to log into platforms and documents. In the pipeline there is also a plan to use m-gov for the Aadhaar scheme. “M-gov will be used as a method for authentication and there are discussion on its integration with the Aadhaar card,” Kumar said. The concept, however, is still to be finalised. The future of m-governance will also rely on the national e-governance plan 2.0. Currently there are 31 mission mode projects (MMPs). With the introduction of new MMPs under NeGP 2.0 a new array of services will also be introduced, which will include linkages to payment gateways.

 

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