Q. M-Governance is aiding the empowerment of ordinary masses in the country. Examine the benefits and disadvantages of the same.
A. M-governance is a sub-domain of e-governance. It ensures that electronic services are available to people via mobile technologies using devices such as mobile phones. These services bypass the need for traditional physical networks for communications and collaboration. Mobile services are also cheaper as well as accessible in most of the rural areas in India.
Relevance of M-governance:
• M- Governance aims at providing fast and easy access of public services to citizens through mobile devices. Mobile services are quickly emerging as the new frontier in transforming government and making it even more accessible and citizen-centric by extending the benefits of remote delivery of government services and information.
• Delivering timely and accurate information to citizens and an established system of two-way communication between the government and people is one of the keys to strengthening democracy by facilitating enhanced utilisation of public services, participation and empowerment of citizens.
• Businesses too have woken to the popularity of mobile phones and are introducing services, especially in the Banking sector. Mobile banking is the future because of its cost effectiveness and ability to reach out to customers in remote areas.
The Government of India is implementing the “Digital India” programme with a vision to transform India into a digitally empowered society and a knowledge economy. Under the Digital India programme, e-Kranti envisages provisioning of various e-Governance services in the country.
To ensure adoption and implementation of the framework in time bound manner the government developed the Mobile Service Delivery Gateway (MSDG) that is the core infrastructure for enabling the availability of public services in through mobile devices. The government is further adopting the ‘One Web Approach’ to make all Government Web sites compliant with mobile devices.
Benefits of M-Governance:
• Cost Saving- With services being just a click away, M-governance helps in cutting down costs of both the provider and customer of the service by eliminating the need for physical interaction and thereby the components involved such as forms, travelling to centres etc.
• Proficiency- It also increases the proficiency as the various services can be easily accessed as well as kept a tab on. With all the information available first hand, it helps customers make informed choices.
• Transformation/modernization of public sector organizations- It helps PSU’s modernise and adopt innovative technological solutions helping them cut fat and become more efficient.
• Added convenience and flexibility- The idea of services being available anywhere, anytime adds both convenience and flexibility especially for citizens in remote areas or for those who are working and often don’t have time to physically go avail services.
• Better services to the citizens
• Easy interaction- M-Governance streamlines services and cuts down corruption and indolence of PSUs by making services easy to access and suspend.
Despite numerous benefits, challenges such as connectivity issues, paucity of smart phones, digital illiteracy, fear of loss of data and privacy challenge M-governance. However, undoubtedly the massive reach of mobile phones can aid harnessing the potential of mobile applications to enable easy and round-the-clock access to public services to ensure ecosystem for m-Governance in the country.