Reflecting on Minister Prasad’s mobile centric approach to Digital India

Posted on August 26, 2014  /  1 Comments

Governments provisioning e government services have to address two specific policy principles with regard to infrastructure: ensure universal access to their services and assure a higher level of reliability than with comparable private services. I will leave the second principle for later discussion.

Unlike a decade or so ago, governments today do not have to rely solely on common-access centers (telecenters) to provide universal access. In most countries, mobile signals cover a significant proportion of the population and prompt policy action can increase the percentage quickly; many households have at least one electronic access device; the few that do not, can gain such access.

Today’s smartphones have capabilities little different from the early telecenters, except for functionalities such as printing, scanning, etc. and the support of intermediaries. Therefore, delivering voice-based e government services in the short term and mobile-optimized web-based services in the medium term, with common-access centers performing specialized backup functions, is a viable strategy.

Conventional web interfaces that adhere to common standards must be maintained but articulated with mobile applications and voice-based services provided through a government call center.

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