December 2014

m-Governance in the Era of Technologies for Governance

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Satish MittalSatish Mittal, Senior VP- Technology, Vodafone Business Services
Mobile phone is a beautiful device that can do lot many things; what was originally developed for speaking is now used for so many different purposes like banking, accessing news, taking photos, etc. That is the power of mobile phone. It terms of numbers, there are 900 million mobile users an 250 million mobile Internet users in India — the number fixed line broadband is yet to could not reach. There are more than 100 million Facebook users in India and that’s a big number for a country which is considered non-Internet savvy. From Vodafone’s perspective, mobile usage is quite impressive. We have a service called M-Pesa, which is about mobile money, and all the endpoints which M-Pesa has for giving mobile money services is more than all the combined bank branches in the country. Power of mobile is unmatched. The shift from e-Governance to m-Governance is interesting one and rightly compliments the mobile journey. In 2006, Vodafone started doing certain things on Internet for e-Governance and today everything that was operable on Internet is now doable on M. e-Commerce has converted into m-Commerce; Facebook has moved from Internet to Mobile; and transactions are now done on mobile. Mobile can be used as a digital infrastructure for e-governance and financial inclusion, among others.

D P WahlangD P Wahlang, Commissioner & Secretary, Department of IT, Government of Meghalaya
Escalation of e-Governance to m-Governance is the need of the hour and it is not something to be experimented upon. The teledensity in Meghalaya is about 70 percent, but the real challenge lies in telephone connectivity. Mobile connectivity is okay but when it comes to lease lines—Optical Fibre Connectivity—the penetration is less than 15 to 20 percent in our state, but that is also the same place where an opportunity lies for m-Governance. In Meghalaya, we have the intelligent advisory system for farmers that is anchored by the Agriculture Department in tandem with the IT Department. In this system, farmers send queries in the local language for prices of various commodities which are immediately responded to by the server controlled by people from the Agriculture Department. Through this system, farmers can get information on real-time prices from major markets like Guwahati, Siliguri, etc.

Rajesh AggarwalRajesh Aggarwal, Principal Secretary, IT, Govt of Maharashtra
In a country where the number of mobile users exceeds that of desktop and latop users, the government, which talks about m-Governance, still has websites that are desktop oriented. The younger generation which spends a lot of time on mobile actually spends more time on text messages rather than voice calls. Through the above points, I think it is clear where the government needs to look into. There are so many features of a mobile phone which can help in m-Governance. For example, a phone’s camera can help in curbing traffic violations, waste mismanagement and damaged roads. One can simply click and upload on the government’s website.

Akash SaxenaaAkash Saxenaa, Director – Enterprise Business, Samsung India
Samsung’s prime focus remains on Research and Development, and it invests majorly on it, as it is this investment that we come out with cutting-edge products on a regular basis. We develop solutions to cater to the government. For example, there was a network which the government had set up and they wanted to hook up the devices to that network without allowing other operators to intervene. We were able to make that change for them. But the most important part is that when we make changes in the software of the phone, we also ensure that the services and support are online.

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