M-governance is yet another avtaar of e-governance, with a focus on mobile apps. With the number of mobile users rising, businesses, consumers and government are fast piggybacking on the trend.
M-governance comes under the realm of e-governance, and ensures people get various government services via mobile phones. M-governance obviates the need of cable networks for communication. Further, the cost of mobile services is much lower and these can easily be used even in rural areas.
Because of the high subscriber base, governments find it easy and convenient for consumers to promote e-governance services via mobile. Mobile phones constitute an effective tool to digitally empower citizens and as a tool, they boost democracy by improving the interaction between citizens and government and making it engaging. In this article, we’ll discuss m-governance as part of e-governance and its benefits.
To make m-governance work effectively, the government has taken the following steps.
- All government department websites are to be made mobile compatible following the ‘One Web’ approach. Standards ensuring inter-operability of systems are being adopted.
- All government departments and agencies would develop and employ mobile applications to offer their services. For users’ convenience, a uniform or single pre-designed number is to be used for mobile services.
- A Mobile Service Delivery Gateway (MSDG) is to be developed to ensure the implementation of m-governance within the designated timeframe.
How Mobile Services Delivery Gateway (MSDG) works
The MSDG is a critical infrastructure that enables integration of mobile application with the same e-governance infrastructure and delivers public services to the users. The objective is to bring into place a shared infrastructure and services across government agencies to ensure fast development by streamlining and employing m-governance services.
It is also aimed at boosting services, and would function as a platform for governments and their agencies to rapidly and easily test, deploy and maintain m-governance services across the country. The MSDG is a cloud based service.
Channels to be supported by MSDG
To start with, the MSDG will support m-governance for government services via channels such as SMS (Short Message Service), Interactive voice response (IVR), USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data), WAP (Wireless Application Protocol), USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data), SIM Toolkit (STK)/Dynamic STK, 3G-Video, CBC (Cell Broadcast), and Others (WiFi/ WLan, etc.). With mobile based technologies constantly evolving, more channels are likely to be added in the months to come.
- M-governance brings transparency and the interface between the government and citizens is direct. This will raise the accountability of the government.
- As the number of mobile users is rising, it’ll be easy for governments to take their services to people anytime and anywhere.
- Mobile technology is much economical as compared to Internet technology and therefore, it’ll be easier to popularize among people.
- For Internet accessibility, infrastructure is essential, but there is woeful lack in certain parts of the country. In such areas, m-governance will be a much sought savior.
M-governance will solve the multiple issues in public service delivery. It would also help ensure close interaction between citizens and government. The potential for m-governance to reach the common citizens is much higher because of the wide penetration of mobile phone in rural areas across the country on account of the ease of using mobile devices and their low price as compared to computers.