Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Open Source Policy Of India Needed

Although we have an open standards policy in India yet there is no clear cut and dedicated open source policy of India. Open source policy essential requires use of open source software and hardware for governmental project and governmental services.

A major portion of funds in India are utilised for procuring closed source and proprietary software and hardware. This is despite the fact that free and open source hardware and software are available.

For instance, although open source operating system Ubuntu is freely available yet Indian government and its departments force use of proprietary Microsoft Windows operating systems. Even websites of government departments have been created in such a manner that they require proprietary web browsers to use them effectively.

Recently, the World Bank and Indian government signed a loan agreement of $150 million for the e-delivery of public services in India. The loan has been granted as the e-delivery of public services development policy loan to be utilised under the national e-governance plan of India (NEGP). We must urgently formulate an effective open source policy of India so that electronic delivery of services in India can be ensured at the minimum cost.

India must also formulate a mandatory e-governance services framework. Presently, we have no such legal framework and in the absence of the same e-governance cannot be effective and successful in India. India has proposed electronic delivery of services bill 2011 but it has still to be made an enforceable law. Even the proposed e-delivery of service bill is silent on open source usage in India.

India must urgently formulate effective and robust open source usage policy. The sooner it is formulated the better it would be for the larger interest of India.

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