The government has an app store. We wish it was more

The government has started rolling out a set of “m-governance” applications for Android and Java based phones through its app store. The app store has nearly 26 live applications and 60 demo applications. Most of the apps have been developed by the Center for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC).

Most live apps, like the Election Commission of India app developed by CDAC Mumbai, can be used only by government folks. The state governments are creating applications like the “Duplicate Residence Certificate” app to apply or duplicate residence certificates. These apps can’t be found on Google’s play store and can be downloaded only from the Government store as of now. It comes as a .apk file which you need to download on to your device to install.

The current set of apps on the store are quite underwhelming but hopefully, some useful apps are on their way. The apps seem to be done for the heck of it without any regards to quality or the user. For instance, the “Directory of Ministries” a simple data fetching app has all of five ministries listed! We aren’t even going to the UI/ UX part.

Some very useful applications like the one to apply for a new telephone connection, take permission for loudspeakers and the one to apply for new water connection are listed on the government site but those apps are only for demo right now and it might be quite some time before they are integrated with the back end and rolled out for some real use. mgovState governments have recently started rolling out their m-governance initiatives as an extention to e-governance initiatives they had undertaken a few years ago. Earlier this month, Karnataka government launched m-governance services in partnership with Tata Tele Services. Citizen services like utility bill payment, property tax payment and paying traffic fines, can now be done on the mobile phone using ‘mRupee,’ a prepaid wallet service which needs to be loaded with cash in advance.

Kerala launched m-governance services with over 90 state government departments delivering services through mobile. Kerala based startup MobME won the contract to implement the project.

Last year in March, the department of Information Technology notified the framework for mobile governance in the country. It proposed the creation of a mobile services delivery gateway and creation of a mobile governance innovation fund.

By the way, Indian government plans to launch an Android watch this year.

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