Tuesday, July 5, 2011

M-Governance Policy Of India

Mobile governance (m-governance) is an innovative method of using mobile technologies for effective governance and public services delivery. M-governance facilitates many public services in almost real time and without hassles. However, along with the benefits of m-governance it has many drawbacks as well.

Firstly, we have no implementable m-governance policy in India. In the absence of proper planning and a sound m-governance policy it is not a wise option to utilise m-governance services in India.

Secondly, we have no dedicated legal framework for m-governance in India. This may create problems in cases of mobile banking, m-governance, m-commerce, etc. Of course, we have information technology act 2000 (IT Act 2000) as the cyber law of India yet it is far from perfect for even e-governance purposes and it is not at all applicable to m-governance environment.

Another issue pertains to the exercises of e-surveillance and phone tapping by Indian government and its agencies. Till now we have no lawful interception law in India. Phone tapping is done under the colonial and outdated Indian telegraph act 1885 and e-surveillance is done under the IT Act 2000. Both these acts are violating the letter and spirit of Indian constitution and have incorporated many unconstitutional provisions that are well beyond the parliamentary and judicial scrutiny.

Recently, the ministry of communication and information technology (MCIT) has launched the central monitoring system project of India. It has the capabilities to monitor all sorts of telecommunication and electronic communications. However, it is a pure executive exercise with no legal framework, civil liberty safeguards and parliamentary and judicial scrutiny.

At the international level some development for safeguarding the human rights in cyberspace has been taking place. United Nations has declared that access to Internet is a human right. This shows that human rights protection in cyberspace cannot be ignored by nations in future.

Finally, m-governance cannot succeed till we ensure cyber security for m-governance in India. Till now even the basic level cyber security is missing in India and we have no cyber security policy in India. Further, the IT Act 2000 need to be suitably amended or a dedicated legislation for m-governance must be enacted in India.

All these issues are integral part of the m-governance policy of India. Before jumping upon the fancy idea of m-governance we must ensure that it can operate and flourish in India.

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