Government to citizen: Yet too young to take wings?
Technology in governance has been so limited in India, that the UID project has created more buzz than any other government project since the Green revolution. Many have touted it is the panacea to all social technology requirements of the country. But learned experts have pointed out that while technologically the UID initiative provides a better option, it's not the only solution. It is a system of reforming the current Government to Citizen (G2C) landscape. There are problems to be addressed on the ground before the full benefit of such initiatives are realised.4 Perhaps it’s time for policymakers, technologists and other stakeholders to take a re-look at the model and ascertain how best and how quickly this opportunity could be utilised.
Deloitte predicts that this year, will see more ideas being incorporated around UID that would accommodate structural changes in the model to make the concept a hub for addressing a range of governance issues. As this happens in a top down fashion, we expect a few large players to start taking baby steps towards forming the ecosystem around the G2C model. We are yet to see significant start-up activities in this space, though Deloitte predicts that in the long run this could be a big opportunity for the technology community.
The key to harness the full strength of UID would be in ensuring that data is available seamlessly across the various arms of government. To illustrate, only a seamless integration of census data and patient information can help in building a comprehensive community healthcare programme. We envisage that the structure of UID would move more towards a Freemium model, where the services weaved around an Open-data platform would be monetised. While technological barrier to achieve this is not so large, this may require significant policy level mandates to be implemented across government agencies.
A few enablers of G2C initiative, which in the meanwhile may be encouraged, are investment in last mile FTTH connectivity; cloud infrastructure that would be capable of handling such a humungous amount of data; digitisation of records and content and data security. Deloitte sees many firms leveraging this opportunity presented by the underlying infrastructure required for disseminating the G2C services.
As the larger policy-level debate regarding the structure of G2C initiatives continues, Deloitte predicts that the coming year would see a few large players and a handful of start-ups joining hands across some segments to offer key “Inclusion services”. Primary among these would be remittance services that would bring banks, mobile operators, retailers and application service providers / aggregators / banking correspondents on a single platform. The integration will enable offering of banking ability to a larger section of the society via a much wider channel than what could be traditionally offered. Such a model in the long-run can significantly widen its scope by linking to the UID.
Privacy issues would be another determinant of G2C policies. Lawmakers would find a balance to ensure that while enough data is available to a larger community for service deployment, the privacy of individuals is respected and any mala-fide usage is curbed.
Overall, this year could witness the beginning of a coherent structure for G2C services in India, with some private sector investments and fledgling start-up activities that would establish the ecosystem.