M-Governance fosters social inclusion by enabling citizens from every sections of society to enjoy seamless access to a wide variety of services from the government on an anywhere and anytime basis. Some of the most important advantages that m-governance offers include the following:
Low cost and efficient ROI
As compared to laptops and PCs, mobiles are relatively low cost and hence they are more easily affordable for people from economically backward sections of society. Mobiles can also work on battery power for extended numbers of hours, whereas computing devices need a stable source of power, which is not consistently available in many rural areas in the country. The infrastructure needed to provide governmental services through mobiles is also much cheaper to build and maintain.
Ease of access
The infrastructure that is needed to create internet or wireline services is often difficult to build in remote areas, whereas mobile connectivity has already covered most parts of the country. The ability of making a connection with citizens living in remote rural areas only adds to the attractiveness of m-governance.
Location based services
The usefulness of mobile devices is unmatched especially in regards to emergency services. Government entities can supply location specific information to individual handsets of users through data, voice and SMS based systems. In cases of epidemics, natural disasters and public unrests, information can be supplied to end users in a reliable and seamless manner. In case of life-threatening emergencies, the rescue services can reach the citizens by tracking their location through mobile phone signals. Many users are already using their mobiles to find directions to ATM’s, hospitals, shopping malls, etc.
Easy and secure transactions
Mobiles can be used to send alerts regarding taxes to be paid and for utility payments. Many m-governance initiatives to facilitate secure payments over airwaves have already been developed and are currently being used by lakhs of users. With time the popularity of such systems can only grow.
Easy to learn
Many people find it difficult to master the nitty-gritty of operating a normal PC. Hence it is more difficult to send information to them through a net-connected PC. Some elementary knowledge of English is a must for accessing information through the Internet. But mobiles turn out to be far easier for the common man to use. No effort is required to train citizens to use mobile phones. In case the person is completely illiterate, information can still be provided to him through voice based messages.
Smartphones and apps
A large number of users have started using smartphones, which are capable of running all kinds of apps. The apps provide another opportunity to government run entities to provide citizens with easy access to all kinds of services. With a single tap of the finger an app can pop up on the smartphone screen and deliver news, steaming video, and all kinds of information. The system of apps can also be used to track the implementation of government run programmes in the user’s community.
Anytime, anywhere access
Perhaps the biggest advantage of mobiles is that they offer anywhere, anytime access to the users. This kind of facility cannot be expected from computer based systems. It is only through mobiles that citizens can retain contact with government’s services on an anywhere, anytime basis.