De­itY is pro­mot­ing the use of open source soft­ware in all im­por­tant e-gov­er­nance projects. This will aid the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the In­dian gov­ern­ment’s Dig­i­tal In­dia pro­gramme, which aims to make gov­ern­ment ser­vices ac­ces­si­ble on­line to cit­i­zens in their l

OpenSource For You - - IN THE NEWS -

Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi launched the ‘Make in In­dia’ cam­paign in Septem­ber last year with the aim to make it eas­ier to man­u­fac­ture in the coun­try. Now, the gov­ern­ment has an­nounced that it will use open source soft­ware for all im­por­tant and long term e-gov­er­nance projects. How­ever, it has not ruled out the use of pro­pri­etary soft­ware to meet spe­cialised re­quire­ments.

Open source soft­ware is that which can be mod­i­fied be­cause its de­sign is pub­licly ac­ces­si­ble and it is open for the gen­eral public to use.

The Depart­ment of Elec­tron­ics and In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy (De­itY) has made it manda­tory for the gov­ern­ment to use open source soft­ware for all its ser­vices, in or­der to make them more ef­fi­cient, trans­par­ent, re­li­able and af­ford­able. ‘‘The gov­ern­ment of In­dia shall en­deav­our to adopt open source soft­ware in all e-gov­er­nance sys­tems im­ple­mented by var­i­ous gov­ern­ment or­gan­i­sa­tions, as a pre­ferred op­tion in com­par­i­son to closed source soft­ware,” said the pol­icy state­ment, put up on the web­site of the Depart­ment of Elec­tron­ics and In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy.

De­itY pro­motes e-gov­er­nance and em­pow­ers cit­i­zens. It has been es­tab­lished for the sus­tain­able growth of the elec­tron­ics, IT and ITeS in­dus­tries. To en­hance e-gov­er­nance, De­itY fo­cuses on the devel­op­ment of hu­man re­sources, pro­mot­ing R&D and in­no­va­tion, en­hanc­ing ef­fi­ciency through dig­i­tal ser­vices and en­sur­ing a se­cure cy­ber space.

With the adop­tion of open source by the In­dian gov­ern­ment, all the work re­lated to e-gov­er­nance ap­pli­ca­tions and sys­tems will get a frame­work for rapid and ef­fec­tive re­sults. This will en­sure long term pro­duc­tiv­ity and re­duce the to­tal cost of own­er­ship (TCO) of th­ese projects. Gov­ern­ments in the US, UK and Ger­many are al­ready us­ing open source soft­ware ex­ten­sively.

The new pol­icy in­cludes a spe­cific re­quire­ment in the Re­quest for Pro­posal (RFP) for sup­pli­ers, who need to con­sider open source soft­ware as a favourable op­tion in com­par­i­son with closed source soft­ware (CSS). In CSS, the source code is not open to the public. CSS code is the prop­erty of its orig­i­nal au­thors, who are the only ones legally al­lowed to copy or mod­ify it. While im­ple­ment­ing e-gov­er­nance ap­pli­ca­tions and sys­tems, sup­pli­ers are re­quired to pro­vide jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for ex­clud­ing OSS.

The In­dian gov­ern­ment will also pub­lish a pol­icy frame­work for rapid and ef­fec­tive adop­tion of OSS. This will cover pri­ori­ti­sa­tion of the ap­pli­ca­tion ar­eas, and frame a list of OSS and OSS stacks re­quired for var­i­ous func­tions. With an in­creased fo­cus on the Dig­i­tal In­dia pro­gramme, the gov­ern­ment wants to make ser­vices ac­ces­si­ble on­line to cit­i­zens in their lo­cal­i­ties. The need to ex­pand th­ese ser­vices quickly at a low cost has led to the de­ci­sion in favour of open source in the coun­try.

The Na­tional In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy Pol­icy in 2012 had men­tioned the pro­mo­tion of open source and open tech­nolo­gies as one of its ob­jec­tives. Car­ry­ing for­ward the goals out­lined in this pol­icy, the gov­ern­ment will now be pro­mot­ing open source and open tech­nolo­gies in the coun­try in a more fo­cused man­ner.

This pol­icy is not new to many states like Ker­ala, Delhi, Tamil Nadu and West Ben­gal, which have al­ready sup­ported and pro­moted the use of open source in e-gov­er­nance projects in var­i­ous ways. Now, it’s time to see how De­itY will en­sure the ac­cep­tance of the pol­icy and pro­mote open source soft­ware in other parts of the coun­try.

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