India's latest attempt in the digital space: Use open-source software to build e-governance apps

open source

The Indian government is becoming increasingly focused towards the development of the country’s technology sector. Under the reign of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the government last year announced Make in India and Digital India programs through which it plans to widespread the reach of modern technologies to more places while creating more jobs in the country, as well as promote local vendors over others.

The latest step in this direction is to make it mandatory to use open-source software in building apps and services. The government hopes that this will ensure efficiency, transparency and reliability of such services at affordable costs. The policy will require all government organizations to consider open-source solutions while implementing e-governance applications and systems.

"Government of India (GoI) is implementing the Digital India programme as an umbrella program to prepare India for a knowledge based transformation into a digitally empowered society and a knowledge economy. Under the overarching vision of Digital India, GoI aims to make Government services digitally accessible to citizens in their localities and to ensure efficiency, transparency and reliability of such services at affordable costs".

Earlier this month, the Indian government had announced a partnership with Google, as part of which it had kickstarted a contest wherein people could pitch in ideas to find the best way to connect with Modi. The winning app will become the official app of the Prime Minister Office. Google has been showing a lot of interest in India lately. The company launched Android One smartphones in India last year. It has also shown interest in helping the world's second most populous nation with its new digital programs.

Several transitions are taking place within the government chambers as well. Last year, the NDA government launched http://attendance.gov.in/. The online biometric attendance system tracks the attendance of employees.

According to a report from earlier this year, in about six months, the Union Cabinet meetings will be using Kindle tablets instead of papers. The government hopes that this will — in addition to cutting down on the use of papers — will also help to stop “leakage of information”.

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