eINDIA 2012 :: m-Governance for Effective Public Service Delivery in India

eINDIA Track: eGov

Title of Paper: m-Governance for Effective Public Service Delivery in India

Author Name: Colonel (Rtd) Jagdish Jamwal
Email: coljjamwal@gmail.com
Designation: Advisor Urban Governance
Organization: ASCI
Address:  India Bella Vista, Raj Bhawan Road, Hyderabad, India
Zip: 500082


Introduction- Governments around the world have long recognized the need and potential of ICTs to make government services available to all the residents. As a result, e-Governance has emerged as a popular phenomenon to deliver government services around the world. However, e-Governance in an implementation sense is restricted primarily to the use of computer based internet access to deliver services. In India where the penetration of computers and internet is relatively low particularly in rural areas, there is an apprehension that the reach of e-Governance may be limited. The limited reach of e-Governance has made governments think of new technologies, such as mobile phones, to reach the residents and deliver public services. This phenomenon has been driven primarily by the rapid growth of mobile phone subscribers in several developing countries. India, with its more than 900 million mobile phone subscribers offers a unique proposition to develop into mobile digital society; particularly in relation to the delivery of public services to its population. While e -government is usually defined as the conventional government services made available for all users through electronic means, mobile government or m-government is focussed on the overall strategy and processes for delivering various public services through all kinds of wireless and mobile technologies to all users, including residents, government departments and businesses. Penetration of Mobile Phones The growth of mobile phones subscribers in India over the last decade has been explosive and the scenario has completely changed now with over 900 million mobile phones subscribers in the country and the mobile teledensity is 65%. Out of the total mobile subscribers, the share of rural subscribers is 350 million, amounting 35% and the rural mobile teledensity is 32% whereas the same for urban areas is 140%. Wide access to mobile phones in the country has made it an ideal platform for Government to resident interface, especially in the rural areas. Imperatives of Citizen Engagement There is now a greater consensus that citizen participation and civic engagement are the building blocks for good governance and m-Governance is a critical component of good governance. Also, as the government is considering enacting the Electronic Service Delivery Law, the possibility of m-Government projects becoming pervasive in all domains of public services is increasingly becoming a reality. It marks a paradigm shift in delivery of public and essential services – from human to technology based interfaces. The use of mobile technology interface for delivery of services throws up many challenges especially those related to management of change from human interface to technology interface, adoption of a particular technology, differential access to such services etc.

Objectives of m- Governance: The broad objectives of the m-governance can be achieved by:

1. Building an enabling mobile service delivery infrastructure consisting of a Mobile Service Delivery Gateway (MSDG) that is fully integrated with the existing infrastructure. 2. Formulate relevant standards for applications for m-governance to ensure seamless interoperability of services across multiple service providers and multiple Government departments and agencies.
3. Develop an appropriate regulatory regime for m-governance to ensure proper coordination among multiple stakeholders, ensure compliance with the standards for applications and ensure seamless interoperability of services and implementation of short and long codes for public services across multiple service providers.
4. Develop suitable mechanisms to enable users to pay for public services through mobile phones.
5. Identify key public services for delivery though mobile platform through stakeholder consultations.
6. Create a state of the art knowledge portal as well as various toolkits for deployment of m-governance.

Evolution of m- Governance: It is important to clearly understand these distinct yet interlinked stages of m-Governance as explained below:

1. Information
2. Interaction
3. Transaction

Transformation Potential of m-Governance in Delivery of Public Services: m-governance holds tremendous potential for improving the access to and delivery of public services because of the following aspects:
1. Huge and Growing Base of Mobile Phone Subscribers
2. Availability of Low Cost Mobile Services & Handsets
3. Penetration of Internet and Broadband Initiatives in Mobile Based Delivery of Public Services in India

A number of initiatives highlighted below have been launched in India by various Governments and Government agencies to provide public services through mobile phones.

m-Governance in Kerala: The Government of Kerala has launched mobile based public services in a number of Government departments in the state. These include agriculture, health, district administration, tourism, fisheries, motor vehicles, police, elections, etc.

m-Governance in Goa: The Government of Goa has launched a m-governance initiative by establishing a SMS Gateway for providing SMS based services to residents by various Government departments.

Passport Application Status on Mobiles: The Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India has launched a SMS based status tracking s enabling them to get the status of their applications by sending a SMS.
Mobile Based Intelligent Garbage Monitoring System in Hyderabad Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation has launched a unique mobile phone based Intelligent Garbage Monitoring System that enables the sanitary supervisors to report the status of cleaning of garbage bins through their GPS enabled mobile phones. Mobile Banking in India Over the years, banking has transcended from the traditional brick and mortar model to one where banking services are available anytime anywhere. The onset of mobile banking has transformed the banking services in the country by enabling the people to access their bank accounts almost instantaneously, conduct transactions, and receive SMS alerts on transactions. m-Governance in Rajkot Municipal Corporation RMC is ushering the mobile technology to serve the people of Rajkot more efficiently & effectively. Conclusion & Way Forward Harnessing the power of mobile phones for m-governance has the power of transforming government and making knowledge-based good governance a reality. While the challenges faced by governments are colossal, the new technologies provide tremendous opportunities for enhancing the power of governments to ensure public participation, handle data, take better informed decisions, and provide transparent, cost-effective and accountable solutions and public services to citizens and business.

There is an urgent need to address the issues of using mobile technology for transformation of governance and leapfrogging development of the country. References: 1. Paper on ‘Smart Mobile Cities: Opportunities for Accenture & CISCO Mobile Operators to Deliver Intelligent Cities’ 2011
2. E-Government…. The science of the possible Prentice-Hall of India by J Satyanarayan 2004
3. Reengineering the Corporation Nicholos Brealey Publishing by Michael Hammer & James Champy 1993
4. E-Government: from Vision to Implementation SAGE Publications by Subhash Bhatnagar 2004
5. Paper “ICT & eGovernance for Rural Development” IIM, Ahmadabad by Prof TP Rama Rao 2010
6. Paper “e-Governance Action Plan for India” by Sameer Sachdeva
7. Connected Sustainable Cities MIT Mobile Experience Lab by William J Mitchell and Federico Cassalegno 2008
8. Discussion Paper “Innovations in ICT for improving Queensland Government Service Delivery: e-Government” Australia – 2010
9. Microsoft Paper “Connected Government in a Microsoft Corporation Connected World” 2011
10 Paper “ICT for Sustainable International Development” 2008 by S Giovanni\
11 e-Government Handbook for Developing Countries World Bank 2004
12. Recommendations of the National Knowledge Commission 2009
13 Framework for Citizen Engagement in NeGP Dept of IT, GoI 2011

Brief Biodata of Presenter:

Colonel (retd) Jagdish Jamwal is a Seasoned and Versatile professional with over 30 years of executive & management experience and strong fundamentals in the realm of e-Governance & Urban Governance in the Government Sector. Specialised in capacity building and business processes reengineering in the urban sector. He has a profound appreciation of Government Procedures, Relationship Management and fostering new alliances. Educated as a Telecom Engineer, MBA Technology Management from Dept of Business Management, Osmania University, Hyderabad and now pursuing PhD in Urban Governance. He has more than 100 technical reports and publications to his credit, including a study report on Strategy Focused on Centre for Urban Governance of ASCI, Capacity Building for Municipal Administration of a Developing State, City Development Plan of Jammu City, e-Governance Roadmap of Developing State etc. Presently he is Advisor in the Urban Governance Area at Administrative Staff College of India, Hyderabad and closely associated with the development of City Sanitation Plans of UP cities and e-learning & GDLN initiative of World Bank. He is also working on the applications of ICT for effective urban management and developing the conceptual framework for the ‘SMART CITIES’.

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