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Govt to provide governance services through mobile

Department of information technology has come out with a draft policy on mobile governance, which among other things will allow citizens to pay utility bills and filing of tax returns from mobile phones.

Keeping in mind the penetration of mobile phones in India, Department of Information Technology (DIT) has published a draft policy on mobile governance that aims to enable government departments to provide services, including payment of utility bills and filing of tax returns from mobile phones.

A platform called Mobile Service Delivery Gateway (MSDG) will be set up on which all ministries and departments will be able to start their services, according to the document posted on the department’s website for public comments.

The DIT expects to develop the gateway by September this year and link projects that have already been digitised, such as filing of income taxes, by December.

The policy will also lay down the framework for a common payment gateway and make sure that all government departments follow same standards.

Standards will aim to ensure the inter-operability of the applications across various systems and devices to the extent practicable.

DIT has also proposed to set up an innovation fund to provide funds to third-party developers to build software applications on the gateway. The size of the fund has not been decided yet.

The department also plans to use distribution and retail infrastructure of mobile operators for collecting and processing payments for mobile services, which can be leveraged for receiving payments for public services and delivery of basic financial services under the financial inclusion initiatives.

Also in the plan is integration with UID (unique identification number that government is in the process of allotting to each and every citizen of the country), so as to process the request for service made through mobile faster and easier.

The policy envisions that the service will be delivered to even basic handsets, and technologies like SMS will be widely used as it is support by every handset.

It will also use technologies such as 3G to deliver richer experience to those who can afford the technology.

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