Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Draft Policy on Mobile Governance by Income Tax Department

New Delhi, Apr 5 (PTI) The Department of Information Technology (DIT) has published a draft policy on mobile governance that aims to enable government departments to provide services, including payment of utility bills and filing of tax returns from mobile phones.

A platform called Mobile Service Delivery Gateway (MSDG) will be set up, on which all ministries and departments will be able to start their services, according to the document posted on the department''s website for public comments.

The DIT expects to develop the gateway by September this year and link projects that have already been digitised, such as filing of income taxes, by December.

There are about 80 million Internet users in the country, while the number of mobile phone subscribers was around 771 million at the end of January, according to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India.

"The relevance of the mobile platform as a medium for delivery of public services is also evident when we compare the subscriber base of mobile phones to that of the Internet," the consultation paper said.

The policy will also lay down the framework for a common payment gateway and make sure that all government departments follow the same standards.

"The application providers will be encouraged to adopt these standards to ensure the inter-operability of the applications across various systems and devices to the extent practicable," the document said.

DIT has also proposed to set up an innovation fund to provide funds to third-party developers to build software applications on the gateway. The size of the fund has not been decided yet.

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