M-governance is a sub-domain of e-governance. It ensures that electronic services are available to people via mobile technologies using devices such as mobile phones. These services bypass the need for traditional physical networks for communications and collaboration. Mobile services are also cheaper as well as accessible in most of the rural areas in India.
Increasing the mobile phone accessibility, adaptability and with the millions of subscription base, governments are promoting and using the mobile phone in delivery the e-Governance services. In the last few years, governments have seen mobile phones can empower citizens and affect the way citizens interact with each other and with society at large. Mobile phones are also considered to be an effective tool in strengthening democracy through better citizen-government interaction, thus influencing the political decision making process and making governments accountable for their activities.
M-Governance aims at providing fast and easy access of public services to citizens through mobile devices. Mobile services are quickly emerging as the new frontier in transforming government and making it even more accessible and citizen-centric by extending the benefits of remote delivery of government services and information. Delivering timely and accurate information to citizens and an established system of two-way communication between the government and people is one of the keys to strengthening democracy by facilitating enhanced utilisation of public services, participation and empowerment of citizens. The use of mobile technologies has been prominent in government departments especially in agriculture, health care, financial services, retail trading, utilities, communications, manufacturing, transportation and services. Businesses too have woken to the popularity of mobile phones and are introducing services, especially in the Banking sector. Mobile banking is the future because of its cost effectiveness and ability to reach out to customers in remote areas.
Today, the ‘Mobile Phone’ is not just used as a communication tool to instantly communicate or send and get text and voice messages. It has emerged as the strongest technology to bridge the digital divide between urban haves and rural have-nots. Within two decades of its launch in India, mobile phone has reached remote rural areas despite hurdles like lack of connectivity and electricity and low level of literacy. On the other side, it has created lakhs of direct and indirect job opportunities for the youth.
In the second phase of the development, it has emerged as a delivery channel for different kind of services, and now anyone can transfer money from one bank account to another through their mobile phones. The government and private agencies have also started using ‘Mobile Phone’ to deliver business services to the citizen and customers. The Reserve Bank of India had allowed commercial banks to provide banking services on mobile phones, whereas the Government of India had also approved the ‘Framework for delivering financial services through the mobile phone’ developed by inter-ministerial group. In continuation Government of India has launched mobile seva and its aims to provide government services to the people through mobile phones and tablets. It has been developed as the core infrastructure for enabling the availability of public services through mobile devices. After the launch of 3G technologies in India, citizens are now be able to access health, educational, agricultural, infotainment services on their mobile phones.
Government of India aims to utilize the massive reach of mobile phones and harness the potential of mobile applications to enable easy and round-the-clock access to public services, especially in the rural areas and to create unique infrastructure as well as application development ecosystem for m-Governance in the country.
The Government of India is implementing the “Digital India” programme with a vision to transform India into a digitally empowered society and a knowledge economy. Under the Digital India programme, e-Kranti envisages provisioning of various e-Governance services in the country. The focus of the e- Kranti programme is to transform the e-Governance services by expanding the portfolio of Mission Mode Projects (MMPs) in e-Governance under various Government Departments, undertaking Government Process Reengineering (GPR), work flow automation, introducing latest technologies such as Cloud and mobile platform and focus on integration of services.
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology developed and notified the framework for Mobile Governance in February, 2012. The m - Governance framework of Government of India aims to utilize the massive reach of mobile phones and harness the potential of mobile applications to enable easy and round - the - clock access to public services, especially in the rural areas. The framework aims to create unique infrastructure as well as application development ecosystem for m - Governance in the country. Following are the main measures laid down by MEIT:
To ensure adoption and implementation of the framework in time bound manner the government developed the Mobile Service Delivery Gateway (MSDG) that is the core infrastructure for enabling the availability of public services in through mobile devices.
The MSDG enables delivery of public services over mobile devices through various mobile based channels, such as SMS, USSD, IVRS and mobile applications. The objective of creating the MSDG is to put in place government‐wide shared infrastructure and services to enable rapid development, mainstreaming and deployment of m-Governance services. It enhances interoperability across various public services as well as reduces the total cost of operation of m-Governance services by providing a common pool of resources aggregating the demand for communication and e‐Governance services, and act as a platform for various Government Departments and Agencies to test, rapidly deploy, and easily maintain m-Governance services across the country. The infrastructure is based on open standards and has been developed as a cloud based service.
MSDG supports the following delivery channels for development and deployment of mobile-based applications for Government services. As the mobile-based technologies are constantly evolving, more channels may be added in future as the need arises.
“One Web” means making, as far as possible, the same information and services available to users, irrespective of the device or the browser they are using. This implies that all Government Web sites should be compliant with mobile devices to enable users of such devices to access the same information and services (to the extent possible) as available, say, over the internet through computers.