Em-Power Kerala

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Registration Name : eINDIA2011/AN/279
Project Category : eGov::Best ICT Enabled eGov Initiative of the year
Project Name : Em-Power Kerala

Details of Applicant :
Name : Sabarish K
Address : ICT Campus, Vellyambalam Thiruvananthapuram
City : Trivandrum
State : Kerala
Country : INDIA
Zip Code : 695033

Details of Project/Implementing Agency :
Name of Organisation : Kerala State IT Mission
Address : ICT Campus, Vellyambalam,Thiruvananthapuram,
City : Trivandrum
State : Kerala
Country : INDIA
Zip Code : 695033
Name of the head of Organisation : A. Shajahan
Website : www.itmission.kerala.gov.in

Brief description of the programme/project/Initiative :
The Project Mobile Governance was initiated by Kerala State Government inorder to utilise the strenghts of Mobile penetration in the State using the concept of “always-on” connection for the delivery of citizen services to set up about 20 M-Government Services offered by 20 departments identified for pilot level implementation and to deliver services though mobile phones accessible to the citizens in the field, in the street, at home or other convenient locations on a 24 X 7 basis, rather than the users having to visit government offices or log on to the internet portals to access services. The project envisaged setting up a common mobile governance service delivery platform which can be leveraged by the participating departments for deploying their departmental mobile governance services seamlessly and presented to the citizens in a common consistent format. the Common Mobile Service Delivery Platform that can leveraged by departments for m-powering their services which include setting up of services for SMS, MMS, USSD, Voice and IVR platform ( a stack of hardware and software). A comprehensive Service Delivery Platform (SDP) has been deployed for the Kerala M-Governance. The SDP has been designed to handle the scale-up of M-Governance smoothly. Hardware :: Over 16 servers including SMS, MMS, Voice, USSD, DataBase etc are deployed in the State Data Center (SDC) as well as Operator Data Centers. Software :: The Project is entirely based on Open Source elements and uses Open Standards. And Open Access – unlike provisioning the services which will be owned by one of the mobile operators ( a walled garden) a paradigm similar to that of net neutrality has been established, wherein the shortccode has been opened across all the operators in Kerala and the content is owned and managed by Government of Kerala. This ensures equitable access, m-services being accessible to all the subscribers of all the Mobile networks in Kerala Platform:: The mGovernance Service Delivery Platform (SDP includes an uniquely branded, easy to remember ShortCode 537252 (KERALA) the citizen has to remember the spelling of Kerala and type it in non-qwerty mobile keypad, which is the single touch point for availing many m-services of 90 State Government Departments. The Platform acts like a Middleware, which connects the Citizens with various Government Departments, and departmental services, the identification of the departments and services requested being recognized intelligently by analyzing the keywords in the input string. Its modular architecture offers high scalability and redundancy as well. M-services being provisioned over Short code allow the user to pay for the services, rather than the Government paying for pushing the information, and also the Government has inked MOU’s with the operators whereby the Operator shares 10-15% of the revenue generated over the short code. This ensures a robust business model and financial sustainability of the project.

Why was the project started :
The project was started to leverage the strengths of mobile penetration in the State of Kerala using the concept of “always-on” connection for the delivery of citizen services involving the major stakeholders – government on one side and citizens and business on the on the other and based on self sustainable model. The objective of the project is to make e-Governance services of Government of Kerala accessible to the masses, through mobile phones. The prime objective of this project was to bridge the digital divide in the state. Only the privileged citizens were able to avail the e-Services from the Government. To bridge this gap & reach to the common man, M-Governance was chosen by Government of Kerala as the key driver & has achieved mammoth success.

Objective :
The Objective of project m-Governance was to create a Mobile Service Delivery Platform, which would form the basis of running services for Government of Kerala. The use of mobile technology is envisioned to increase information quality, improve overall efficiency and effectiveness in the Government processes with convenience in operations. Provide services on a “Any Time Any Where” basis, · Streamline the processes to automate the information access by citizens. · Assess and develop a framework for legal, Regulatory & Security issues related to providing services on mobile platform. · Develop a self sustainable model for rollout of other services.
Target group : Citizens with mobile phones, Government employees, Law enforcement agencies, Tourists
Geographical reach : The mGovernance Services are available across the state of Kerala and across all telecom-operators.
Date from which the project became operational : 9 August 2010
Is the Project still operational : YES

10 points that make the programme/project innovative?

  1. The Utilisation of mobile technologies for enhancing the Governance of a State. The project M-Governance in Kerala is perhaps the first comprehensive project of its kind undertaken by any state in the country. The objective of the project is to make e-Governance services of Government of Kerala accessible to the masses, through mobile phones.
  2. An encapsulated and comprehensive integrated Service Delivery Platform is being created and integrated with the e-Governance infrastructure, for enabling m-Services of various Departments in a “Plug and Play” fashion.
  3. The Project is entirely based on Open Source elements and uses Open Standards. And Open Access – unlike provisioning the services which will be owned by one of the mobile operators ( a walled garden) a paradigm similar to that of net neutrality has been established, wherein the shortccode has been opened across all the operators in Kerala and the content is owned and managed by Government of Kerala. This ensures equitable access, m-services being accessible to all the subscribers of all the Mobile networks in Kerala
  4. The three channels of mobile communication (Voice, Signalling and Data) and a wide range of technologies (Voice Applications, Applications using signalling channel and data service based Applications) are being used for this purpose.. The focus is to build a centralized platform into which the services/solutions for each and every Department can be integrated. The approach adopted is to identify services and design solutions, wherein the primary focus has been to leverage the existing networks and available wireless technologies
  5. As many as 90 Departments are using the m-SDP to provide their services and the portfolio of services is expanding.
  6. The services being provided currently can be broadly classified into: Information Services: Services such as Doctor-Search, Price Alerts, Results on Mobile etc Interactive Services: such as mobile- polls, surveys etc
  7. Benefits of the project include :· Dissemination of information to a larger number of people (mobile access) in a short time. · Reduction of average service processing time and cost for services. · Reduction in number of public complaints. · Increased transparency in the delivery system. · Releasing for bandwidth for public servants to focus on processing the information. Increased Value Added Services and Information Services

List the 5 achievements of the programme/project?

  1. Could Bridge the Digital Divide in Kerala considerably
  2. One of the comprehensive mobile governance projects in India
  3. Adopted by Many states and admired by World Bank, and is profiled as one of the success stories in the upcoming ICT4D 2011 WB Publication
  4. Could prove that ICT projects can bring in economic returns even to the Government and can generate surplus by way of revenue sharing agreement with the mobile operators..
  5. Could entice DIT, GoI and has found a place in the NeGP 2

List the 5 key challenges faced while implementing the programme/project/iniative :

  1. The initial challenge faced was skepticism on the success of such a novel initiative & its acceptance by the mass. Besides, this project launched in the state by Kerala State IT Mission has been a pioneering project & has been the first-of-its-kind project in the country. No other State Governments have explored this road like Kerala. Being a pioneering model, there was a great amount of learning acquired by doing. Several options were worked out in order to arrive at most effective and efficient model.
  2. In implementing the m-governance project, one of the most important challenges that were faced was lack of a computerized database in various Government Departments. Database, if available was not fully / partially updated. This required manual data entry for which plenty of time was expended. Coupled with this was the mindset change that was required for successfully implementing the project. To achieve this, several sensitization and confidence building sessions were conducted.

List the 5 points how can the prgramme serve as a model that can be replicated or adapted by others?

  1. The Mobile Service Delivery Platform helps the departments who have already established backend computerisation and are e-ready to deliver services online to citizens to provide the same services in the wireless world viz., mobiles as well, with minimal effort.
  2. Since the entire stack is on a Open source stack the TCO is very less and it makes it attractive and adoptable by other States and even developing countries.
  3. To bridge the digital divide, there are a number of ways in which mobile phones can be used to offer Government services. M-Governance or Mobile-Governance involves the utilization of all kinds of wireless and mobile technology services, applications and devices for Governance.
  4. The success story of M-Governance at Kerala is a classic example for the concept of digital reach as it has innovatively leveraged on the high tele-density and notably high mobile penetration including rural areas. The project has focused on all sectors & classes of people trying to offer the valuable services via a reachable medium that is much cheaper & easier to access than the internet. The initiatives are highly useful to both public & also the Government in terms of reaching to them by disseminating information through the M-way offering true digital access.
  5. Kerala pioneering M-Governance & having paved the pathway for other states to follow suit, has ambitious goals to achieve in this stream after & having seen instant success, the Government is keen to extensively use M-Governance for the benefit of the public. Going forward, the M-Governance at Kerala being a trend-setter, has defined high standards that the M-Governance arena in rest of the states shall benchmark against Kerala’s achievements in their pursuit of successful governance.

List 5 points to elaborate on the scalability of the programme/project/initiative :

  1. The design of the MSDP is based on Open API’s and the same offered to public c can generate large number of applications in the public domain and are highly scalable. Another salient feature of this architecture is that Governments do not want to set-up its own communication Datacenters and networks, it piggy bag on the robust infrastructure that has been put in place and maintained by the Mobile Service Providers. The Services are also Open access and is not tied up with a single operator, Government owns the contents moderates the content and its accessible from all the Networks in Kerala, thus ensuring open access.
  2. This project has been deemed as a prestigious flagship accomplishment of the state in the e-Governance front & is a comprehensive Mobile Governance project aimed at m-enabling 90 Government departments and “m-powering” the people.
  3. e-Governance was looked at as a boon for fast, convenient & reliable channel for delivery of Government services due to the warm welcome the spread of internet across the nation received. It promised assured benefits that Government of India invested about 9-10 billion in the National e-Governance plan (NeGP). However the trend gradually saw a transition as the acceptance levels & reach of mobile services went through a whooping growth.
  4. The layman / under-privileged citizen can easily afford a mobile handset, while the “Chota-recharge” concept sold hotter than hot cake. Affordability & simple to use were the key drivers for the success of mobile services among the citizens of India, especially rural. Our citizens went to even invent conventions of communication via mobile such as “Missed calls” where 1 such call would mean “Reached safe”, 2 would mean “Call me” & three would mean “Acknowledged” etc. Such is the proliferating growth rate that mobile services in India saw in the past decade.
  5. The density of Internet penetration in our country is just around 5% clearly indicating that rural reach shall be a far-off dream. Contrastingly, yet surprisingly, the mobile users merely in rural India attribute to over a 100 million & this figure is fast skyrocketing! Cost-wise too, mobile services beat the e-services hands down. It is several times costly in setting up, running, maintaining & troubleshooting of Internet connections, devices and accessories, than its rival’s armory. To offer a service via internet a dedicated internet connection, a compatible computer, modem & electricity are required. However for offering a service through mobile, all that is required is a mobile phone & a subscription, which is higly affordable to the rural part of the nation too.

M Governance Presentation

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One Response to Em-Power Kerala

  1. MRK KUMARAN says:

    KSITM project Empower Kerala