Mobile has completely changed the world of communication in the 21st century. In the 3rd millennium mobile device is viewed as one of the most effective tools to bring change in governance. In the beginning, mobile was primarily used as a mode of communication but the Government agencies today find it very helpful to not only disseminate crucial information but also to deliver citizen services "Anytime, Anywhere". Mobiles are now being used to deliver services like health, education, banking, commercial services, and so on.
According to the Department of Telecommunications and Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, the Indian telecom sector has registered a phenomenal growth during the past few years and has become second largest telephone network (1.8 MB) - PDF file that opens in a new window in the world, only after China. Total wireless subscriber (1.1 MB) - PDF file that opens in a new window base increased from 870.58 million in September, 2013 to 875.48 million at the end of October 2013 in our country.
Mobile Seva/Mobile Governance - External website that opens in a new window is a revolutionary framework which is aimed at leveraging the exponential growth that has happened in the wireless communication technology and the acceptability it has received in the country. It has been conceptualized and formulated by the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY), Government of India.
M-Governance aims to provide government services to the people through mobile phones and tablets. This service has been developed as the core infrastructure for enabling the availability of public services through handheld devices. Mobile Seva - External website that opens in a new window enables the integration of the mobile platform with the common e-Governance infrastructure consisting of State Data Centres (SDCs) - External website that opens in a new window, State Wide Area Networks (SWANs) - External website that opens in a new window, State and National Service Delivery Gateways (SSDGs/ NSDG) - External website that opens in a new window.
This initiative of Government of India stems from the realization that millions of less-privileged individuals without access to the Internet have no realistic chance of accessing government/public services which hinders inclusive development. In the last decade, the mobile phone scenario has changed across the world. Given the fact that majority of Indian citizens reside in rural areas, mobile devices are ideally suited as alternative access and delivery channels for public services in these areas.
Mobile Seva - External website that opens in a new window is envisaged to evolve as a one stop solution to address all transactional procedures of the citizens with the government departments. The C-DAC - External website that opens in a new window, on behalf of DeitY, has designed platforms and implemented gateways for delivery of integrated government services to citizens over mobile devices using mobile communication channels like SMS (Short Message Service), USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data), IVRS (Interactive Voice Response), CBS (Cell Broadcasting Based Services), LBS (Location Based Services), and through mobile applications installed on the smart phones.
Solution on your mobile phones
Mobile Seva - External website that opens in a new window aims to enable all integrating government departments and agencies to provide their services on various mobile channels such as SMS (Short Message Service), Voice/ IVR (Interactive Voice Response), USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data), and through mobile-applications (m-apps). A long-term vision of the project is to offer all non-emergency public services to all citizens in the country through a single 3-digit nationally available number. For this purpose, DeitY has already obtained the short code 166. Deity has also obtained another short-code 51969 for mobile governance. Over 210 public services are already operational through these two short codes.
A Mobile Payment Gateway has also been integrated with MSDG (Mobile service delivery gateway) to allow citizens to make payment for government services through their mobile phones. USSD and IVRS based services have also been developed. A mobile AppStore has also been made operational that till this day hosts more than 200 live and fully integrated mobile apps. The various solutions envisioned under Mobile Seva - External website that opens in a new window are as follows:
- SMS Gateway
The SMS Gateway provides both Push and Pull SMS services for government and citizens respectively. In the push service, a common information service can be pushed to group of people based on gender, location, community, etc. Citizens can also request information at individual level by sending an SMS in a particular format to a particular number.
Unstructured Supplementary Services Data is a session based service normally used for checking balance, etc. It is being used to create an interactive menu based session with the user for various government services.
The Interactive Voice Response System allows to pre-record greetings and menu options that a caller can select using his telephone keypad. In the context of mobile governance, the IVRS application is intended to serve the C2G and G2C wings of the e-governance model. The important (Passport) and some basic (Ration card) services of the government are compelling services and draw a lot of enquiries from the citizens.
- Location Based Services (LBS)
These are very useful for the departments for customizing their services according to the location of the citizen which can be found out using a Global Positioning System (GPS).
- Cell Broadcasting Based Services (CBS)
This service is particularly relevant when certain notifications/alerts have to be passed to the citizens in a particular area. This can be very helpful in case of pre and post disaster management.
- Mobile Payment Service
Some transactional government services involve some payment to be made to a government department. This service will aid that.
- Mobile Applications (m-apps)
A mobile application is a software application designed to run on smart phones, tablet computers and other mobile devices. M-apps are fast becoming the preferred mode of accessing a particular solution or service, especially amongst young citizens of the country.
The Framework for Mobile Governance, notified in The Gazette of India - External website that opens in a new window in February 2012, 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. Government of India will progressively adopt and deploy m-governance in a time bound manner to ensure inclusive delivery of public services on mobile platform to both the urban and rural populace in the country in accordance with this framework.
Making Public Delivery Systems Efficient and Corruption Free
Mobile technology has made public service delivery systems more efficient and transparent. It has brought Government services closer to the common man. With the ability to reach out to the departments a citizen wants and vice-versa is what makes this one of the central themes of the initiative. M-Governance has empowered a citizen to communicate to the Government directly and avail multiple services without going to a Government office.
Mobile Applications Store
A Government Mobile Applications Store (m-AppStore) has also been developed by DeitY as part of Mobile Seva - External website that opens in a new window initiative. The m-AppStore currently hosts over 240 live mobile applications, such as the Polling Station Location app for the Election Commission of India that has been used to map polling stations in the country. Another useful m-app is the on-screen keyboard driver & editor for Android devices for GIST Hindi language and 11 other Indian languages. A Mobile Payment Gateway has also been integrated with Mobile Seva - External website that opens in a new window which would allow a person to make payment for government services through his or her mobile phone. USSD and IVRS based services have also been developed and are currently being piloted.
Mobile Governance is catching up very fast in the India. Various mobile based channels are being leveraged to deliver the services to the citizens through mobile devices. SMS is most widely used for status, alerts and notifications. USSD is now catching up slowly. USSD has great potential for mobile service delivery as it works even on the low cost handsets with limitation that it works only on the GSM handsets. IVR systems are being used since long time but, now it is being integrated with government department's back -end systems to provide automated service delivery. Location based systems; SIM Toolkits are being explored and are in the pipeline. Mobile Applications are also catching up as the smart phones are available at low cost in India. Mobile Application Store is a big initiative in this direction.
Mobile Passport Seva Application
Ministry of External Affairs has brought the passport related information on the mobile for Smartphone users. Users can now access this information on their Smartphone using mobile app mPassport Seva - External website that opens in a new window.
mPassport Seva - External website that opens in a new window is designed primarily for the citizens who are interested in Passport related information only. It is a light weight, easy to use app that provides specific details on areas such as Location of centres, Fee, Application Status, Contact Information and other General Information.
M-Reservation of Railway Tickets
Railway passengers can now reserve their train tickets through use of mobile phones and the confirmation message received on mobile can serve as their e-ticket. Indian Railways through Indian Railway Catering & Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), a Public Sector Undertaking under the Ministry of Railway, has been offering the service of booking e-ticket over the mobile phone.
Popular Mobile services for citizens
- Book your train tickets through SMS
- Mobile Passport Seva Application - External website that opens in a new window
- Mobile Application Store – Download Apps for Govt Services
- Register for mobile alerts of IGNOU updates
- App for Right to Information Act - External website that opens in a new window
- App for Election Commission of India EVM Tracking - External website that opens in a new window
- App for checking ECI Polling Station Location - External website that opens in a new window
- App for Aadhaar Bank Service - External website that opens in a new window
- Indian Post Status Tracking - External website that opens in a new window
- Ministry Directory App - External website that opens in a new window
- Rakshak app for women safety - External website that opens in a new window
- App for personal treatment - External website that opens in a new window
- SMS Translation App - External website that opens in a new window
- Nirbhaya mobile application to assist women in distress - External website that opens in a new window
- Dr. SMS: healthcare through mobile technology in Kerala - External website that opens in a new window