Today, the mobile is so ubiquitous a device that it’s universally present, having reached most parts of the country including the remote rural backward hinterland. The mobile phone penetration in India is growing and the trend is likely to continue in the years to come. The mobile phone has been found to be quite handy for people in rural areas because of its simple design and operational ease. Therefore, it is worthwhile to leverage the mobile platform for delivering public services. It was with this in view that the government launched a mobile platform.
Mobile Seva is an e-governance initiative of the government under the National e-Governance Plan. Mobile Seva constitutes a platform launched by the government to facilitate the various available mobile-based channels, including SMS, USSD, IVRS, and mobile apps, for delivering public services via mobile devices including the simplest mobile phones.
How it works
Government departments can integrate any one of the channels (SMS, USSD, IVRS, and mobile apps) easily, by which they can then integrate with all other channels.
Mobile Seva offers SAAS and such a mode enables government departments to access the services under the Mobile Seva platform by registering on Mobile Seva services portal.
The plus point in Mobile Seva is that it has been developed according to open standards, and enables highly interoperable services. This makes it easy for government departments to integrate with the Mobile Seva platform seamlessly.
Mobile Seva’s App Store hosts a number of mobile applications for government departments. The apps are compatible across multiple platforms – Android, Java ME, etc. Most Android applications are compatible even on the very basic of phones.
Mobile Seva offers channels that are useful for citizens as well as government departments, including SMS Gateway Service, USSD based services, IVRS services, and an app store.
SMS Gateway Service
The SMS Gateway Service is a common service for eGov exchange. It delivers SMS based services to all citizens. SMS Gateway enables both push and pull based services. Government departments can use the SMS Portal API to push SMS to citizens/users.
Citizens can avail pull based SMS services. Note that short code 51969 has been reserved by the Government of India for the e-Governance services. This code is integrated with all the telecom operators in the country.
Unstructured Supplementary Services Data (USSD) based services
The USSD is a session based service. Under USSD, the users can send requests/commands to an application in text format. Government departments can avail USSD service to send flash messages to the users / citizens. A flash message is one that pops up on the screen of the receiving phone instead of being stored in the SIM. Citizens can also request or apply for specific information/service using USSD services.
Interactive Voice Response Systems (IVRS) services
The IVRS service enables users to communicate with a computer through the tones generated by each key on the phone keypad. The IVRS application serves the purpose of C2G and G2C parts in the e-governance model. Many government services, including passport, ration card issuance and the like, get a lot queries from the citizens. The queries entail the use of big overheads, and IVRS can minimize the overhead burden. Government departments can avail IVRS service to deliver their services to people. Using the IVRS, citizens can get specific information, as required.
Mobile Applications and M-Gov Application Store
The m-Governance application store hosts diverse mobile applications for government services. Applications can be developed by independent developer/company, and can be hosted on the store after examining their technical suitability. Citizens and developers have to register before they access the store. Government departments can host mobile applications for their services on the app store. Citizens can download applications from the app store to their mobile and can access government services using these apps. Developers may host their applications once they are ready.
The mobile has proved to be a constant companion for common people to access the various government services because of the Mobile Seva. It has made life easier for the government as well as users (citizens), by helping them leverage the mobile device in their favor.