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The Indian Government has put itself on the fast track this year and the technology enabled services segment has seen a lot of innovations and new initiatives being implemented.
Here is a recap of all the Government initiatives of 2014.
GovTech : Mobile App Launches
The Indian Government in partnership with Incredible India and travel search engine Tripigator had launched a Travel App In October – Tripigator: Incredible India. Along with travel itinerary planning, the app also hosts a list of other useful features.
The Karnataka Government too launched the Mobile One app, now considered to be the World’s Largest Multi-channel Mobile Services Platform. The app claims to have around 4500 services included in it to serve the citizens.
The app allows users to pay utility bills, property taxes, book railway and bus tickets, file income tax, m-passport seva, apply for driving licenses etc. The government had also launched its own Karnataka Wallet for easy payment through the app.
GovTech In India : Web, Cloud & Open Source
During Arvind Kejriwal’s regime as the Delhi Chief Minister, there had been discussions on opting for free software for institutions in the education sector. This was planned on the lines of the Kerala Government’s decision to adopt free software in all government establishments.
The Ministry of Commerce and Industry launched eBiz, a business platform earlier in January this year to promote entrepreneur who wish to run business in India. The platform gives access to Department of Policy and Promotions and also has an integrated payment gateway with Central Bank of India.
For better development and deployment of eGovernment services, the Government of India launched the national cloud MeghRaj, earlier in February. The services available on this cloud included Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS) and Storage as a Service (STaaS).
The Government of India had approved for an Advanced Emergency Response System aided by Global Information system (GIS) and Global Positioning System (GPS) for emergency response to accidental instances. The service was to operate as a Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) platform and was implemented under the Nirbhaya Fund, announced by the Union Finance Minister in the 2013 Union Budget.
The Government of India had also launched the new version of its open data platform, making data sets from government establishments available to the public. The website was developed on the lines of Data.gov, the American data transparency site and we are quite impressed with the way it has developed over the last few months.
The Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) Kolkata developed production ready prototypes to help the tea industry with mass production and proliferation of better quality Tea. The Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY) under which the C-DAC operates had developed the ‘ENOVision’ and ‘ETongue’ which helps with visual quality check and (astringency) measurements of tea liquor by analysis of the samples.
The Government of India launched a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) giving access to education material sourced from the IITs and IISc. The move was aimed at equipping students with IT industry ready and job-ready courses.
In July, the PM of India launched MyGov, a platform to encourage citizen participation in governance by seeking their ideas, suggestions and grass roots level contribution. The platform consists of various focus groups where citizens can undertake tasks (both online and on ground) as well as share their insights through various discussions related to the particular group.
National Small Industries Corporation Ltd. (NSIC) launched an ecommerce platform (B2C) for MSMEs in August, positioned as a low-cost marketing platform for MSMEs where they can retail products as well as Industrial equipment/machineries online.
The .bharat Domain
The government of India launched the .bharat domain enabling users to access internet addresses in 8 different Indian languages including Hindi, Marathi, Konkani and more. This feature also enabled to type in web addresses in Devanagari script which was not possible earlier.
Accepting the proposal made by the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY), the Government of India decided to establish a secure and encrypted email service for government officials at a budget of INR 100 Crores (money gone waste?).
To improve the functioning of the eGovernance through a single window clearance, the Government of India initiated the open API policy through interoperable ecosystem of data, application and information processes. All the relevant information and data of a Government Organization have been made available through Open APIs to other e-governance applications and systems and the public.
The Indian Ministry for Road Transport & Highways have started with the Electronic highways Toll Collection (ETC) program in the country called FASTag. FASTag is a radio frequency identification (RFID) tag which enables easy payments at toll gates on highways.
While the UPA government had approved for 51% FDI in Multi Brand Retail in India, The BJP in May this year had announced that they wanted it reversed and would be looking in to it in a ‘calibrated way’. However no changes have been seen in this so far which has left the world hanging on FDI in India. However PM NaMo being an investment friendly PM, there are chances that the decisions would be favorable for investors.
GST amendments that are expected to be announced by April 2015 is being delayed.
The Big Focus On Entrepreneurship.
The NaMo government, taking a step ahead to promote entrepreneurship had appointed Sarbananda Sonowal, from Assam, as the Union Minister of State-Independent Charge for Sports & Youth Affairs, Skill Development & Entrepreneurship. The position is that of a junior minister but is the first in the country.
Investment from the state in Startups was also promoted by the newly formed government. States like Karnataka and Kerala and the India Innovation Fund was much noticed as a move ahead in this direction. The Madhya Pradesh Government had also announced a INR 100 Crore VC fund to promote and incubate startups.
The government had also approved for Electronic Manufacturing Clusters (EMC) in 8 cities in India providing them with incentives for the same. Under the Modified Special Incentive Subsidy Scheme (M-SIPS), Ahmedabad, Aurangabad, Ghaziabad, Gandhinagar, Nagpur, Nashik and Thane have been picked to set up Greenfield factories. Odisha government’s proposed cluster in Khurda District which would cost INR 210 Crore would be worth a total of 980 Crores and will provide around 12,000 jobs.
Digital India Initiatives
The most ambitious of all initiatives planned so far is the Digital India Initiative proposed by NaMo government. The programme, a far-sighted vision by Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY) aims to transform India into a digital empowered society and knowledge economy.
The Ban Government
In September this year, the Government of Karnataka had banned Amazon from selling products from its warehouses in Karnataka as the Enforcement Directorate (ED) wanted Amazon to pay VAT for the products being stored in its warehouses even before them being ordered by consumers.
The case of Uber in India has escalated quickly and beyond proportions. While the Taxi wars between Ola, Uber and TaxiForSure was going on at its own pace with each receiving more investment than the other with every round of funding, the taxi market crashed miserably with the Uber rape case. Following the case, Uber was first banned in Delhi and was later banned in most cities that the service was operating at. The Central Ministry later passed a directive banning all unlicensed mobile app based taxi services from plying on Indian roads. The ban on Uber and other unregistered taxi services has still not been raised and will only be don e as and when these services are registered as taxi services under the transport department.
In a bizarre move by the government, it had asked all members of matrimonial websites to have their Aadhar cards enrolled to authenticate profiles and crack down on fake profiles.
Make In India
The Government of India also launched that Make In India campaign this year with a view to lure global investors to set up manufacturing units in India. while the World Bank Report had put India at 142 on a list of 189 on the list with regard to ease of doing business in the country, The Make In India initiative had come up with many reforms to help investors and entrepreneurs set up their units quick and hassle-free.
Considering that India would be home to 5-6% of global IoT industry and to create an IoT industry in India of USD 15 billion by 2020, the Government had released a draft policy in October this year related to IoT (Internet of Things) plans. Key aspects of the smart cities would be smart parking, intelligent transport system, tele-care, woman safety, smart grids, smart urban lighting, waste management, smart city maintenance, digital-signage and water management.
And ofcourse, the government is snoopy as always and India happens to be the second most country (after US) to block Facebook data.
Announcements And Announcements
The Modi government has been in announcement spree and we certainly hope that 2015 will see execution. To start off, we want the goverment to make #sellingInIndia easy and attractive for all.