Monday, March 09, 2009

India 2015: An IT Vision for the Next Prime Minister of India

2015. Everyone is experiencing a prosperous India. Life is hassle free and people walk around with heads high. Rabindranath Tagore’s smiles from the heavens as atlast India has awakened into the heaven of freedom.

The world is acknowledging the Prime Minister’s success in dealing with the major challenges India inherited: an unsafe and insecure India, a failing economy, an hassle filled life, failed land-use management, difficulties in making right projects happen in the right place at the right time, huge leaks in spending tax rupees, an absence of citizen friendly communication, lack of citizen involvement and inability to manage risks in a troubled world.

The ten-point IT program launched in 2009 has transformed the country.

The Ten Point IT Program
1. One-India Card: Building a safer India
2. Shared Information Systems: Information system across agencies and businesses to build a prosperous India
3. Citizen Benefits: Resident accounts for single-point hassle-free governance
4. Tracking Landuse: Vibrant and productive spaces for all
5. Mobility: Mobility cards for hassle free green transportation
6. Projects: Wiki to ensure right projects happen at the right place and right time
7. Budgets: Wiki to track that every rupee well spent for the people
8. Alerts: Broadcast channels for easy and people friendly communication
9. Collaborative governance: Letting people matter
10. Collaborative modeling and futures: Managing the risks of a troubled planet

One-India Card

Of the 3,976 villages with populations larger than 10,000 more than 3,000 have implemented the One-India Cards. Most of the remaining 634,389 villages with populations under 10,000 are implementing the One-India Cards. All of the 4,378 cities of India are now covered under the One-India Cards.

The One-India Cards were launched through licensed One-India Card providers in 2009 when the Prime Minister took over. Over 642,743 entrepreneurs are licensed providers of the One-India Card. They use the standard open-source technology already developed and implemented on a pilot scale in Pune. 35 exchanges run by the technology provider service the cities and villages in the 35 states and union territories to allow a quick query of the resident data from any One-India Card across the country.

Besides creating the huge number of entrepreneurs in the direct management of the cards for each city/village, there are a huge number of entrepreneurs customizing service and product delivery services around the One-India Card. Entrepreneurs have been integrating widgets and API’s into local commerce- the grocers, the libraries, the book shops, the malls, the insurance companies have all sought out ways to allow auto form-fill, customer business profiles, relationship management to integrate with the One-India Card. Some have even provided an integration of their data onto the One-India Card account of every resident signed on the card.

It is now mandatory for all government interactions to use the One-India Card to identify residents, obtain citizen information through forms and provide any services. Most of the Government offices have opted for the easy auto-form-fill services of the One-India Card to fill on-line forms for various requirements. They are also using the auto account-book to display the history and status of transactions with the government offices on the citizens account page.

Shared Information Systems

With One-India Cards the Prime Minister has ensured that there will be a single registry across India of its 1.14 billion residents. In fact there is a real-time information system of the demography of each region. The huge gap of information about the citizens is bridged as is the waste of resources in identifying citizens and authenticating them independently at every point of transaction. This has contributed to making a safer India. This has also brought accountability and responsiveness in dealing with every citizen across the country.

The Planning Commission and various Ministries now rely on information provided by the One-India Card to device and implement schemes for targeted demographic groups: women, children, economically underprivileged, handicapped, homeless, migrants, youth, elderly, unemployed illiterate to name a few.

The 309 million people (60% of the workers) in agriculture now form a backbone of the nation’s Agriculture Information System. Similarly the 61.92 million people (12% of the workers) in industry are the backbone of an Industry Information System. The 144.48 million people (28% of the workers) in services form the backbone of the Services Information System.

One-India Cards are also making it possible to track energy demand distribution of the 4.5 T kWh, 0.09 percent of India’s theoretical Solar Potential . One-India Cards are making it possible to locate the distribution and transmission network and better scale the various power plants and oil and gas stations. It is becoming easier to device a strategy to move from the current energy mix of 53% Coal, 33% Oil, 8% Natural Gas, 5% Hydroelectricity, 1% Nuclear and close to 0% Other Renewables to a different mix that will be more sustainable.

Naturally the One-India Information System has helped a quick revival of the economy- helping support to reach the regions and even individuals where it was needed. The stimulus plan having ensured that using the One-India Card appropriate incentive reached the bank account of each registered resident after an automatic evaluation of the eligibility.

The economy is now well past 4 trillion from the $3.305 trillion figure in 2008 and is growing at 9 to 12%.

Citizen Benefits

The account pages of each citizen now inform them about the demography, energy use, water use, land use, mobility and other details in their neighborhood. They are also told about the incentives, schemes, and programs that they have been automatically qualified for based on their profile information. They can also get their taxes worked out through third party licensed widgets and file them through the One-India Card. All this serves as a terrific incentive to help them update their profiles regularly.

While filling their profiles on the One-India Account Page individuals can quickly indicate their current or past employers or become one. Becoming an employer allows a one-step easy registration of a for-profit or a non-profit institution. Becoming an entrepreneur is as easy as that. This has helped create more jobs, compensating for the huge number of jobs lost when the recession hit in 2008-09.

Tracking Landuse

Recognizing the importance of tracking the conservation of the economic, energy and biological potential of its 3,287,240 square km tracking of land use, land records and property records have been standardized across the country.

Most of the 595 districts have initiated wiring every property. About 30 percent of the districts have completed more than 70 percent of the properties. The North East point of every property now has an official GPS device on it. Any movement of this point alerts the Land Use Information System. Each of the GPS coordinates link to a property database with records of its history and links to the One-India number for the owners.

Development Plans can now be monitored and implemented. Land acquisition is easier and partitioning property without violating Land Use has become possible.

The landless can now receive land, single property owners a 50% rebate in their taxes. Land taxes now work by a fixed rate per acre times the inflation, not by market rates.

One-India account holders can now search and view land-use, proposed use as per DP, encroachments, ownership, tenancy, other claims by loging in to their account. The information they sought on individual properties leaves a trail for purposes of security.

The forests, rivers, wetlands, fields and wastelands are now much better conserved as also the built environments across India.


It has long been recognized that not just does mobility result in a happy people but it ensures a buoyant economy.

All vehicles now come with an embedded RFID that serves as a single registration of the vehicle with the Transport Ministry. Since road tax is now a pay-by-use per kilometer tax charged to the account of the person who owns the vehicle, all road junctions maintain a working RFID reader. The local-self-government of the region collects the road tax by billing the One-India Account of the vehicle owner. Inter city/town or village travel is simply charged the same way but a third party widget allows pay the road tax directly in a single click to multiple local governments.

All taxpayers get free information about traffic flows on different roads in any city, town or village. At a per-vehicle registered under the same name, the owner may subscribe to tracking her fleet of vehicles real time. Courier companies and transporters are using this system to track their fleet of vehicles.

The ministry of transport is able to generate real-time data as well as patterns of travel corridors for ensuring the smooth flow of vehicles in the city. The goods flow can be tracked by looking at the movement of goods vehicles.


Following the Web 3.0 emphasis on the IT Vision, every one of the government’s projects now has an online semantic wiki. For the Prime Minister this means every development project is track-able real time. It means that there is an overall development with millions of projects across the country tying together into a larger meaningful emergent whole. It means that projects happen, and happen on time. It means that projects are no longer about awarding contracts but rather about providing development.

For the people this is quite a startling change. Suddenly everyone can actually collaborate to make project be relevant to them, help to ensure they meet high quality standards and most importantly serve the purpose for which they were executed.

Simple semantic forms allow anyone to enter data about new projects: the description, the associated plans, start dates, milestones, end dates, budget links, contractors details and even the current status. Amazingly each project can be viewed on maps- even a small pop-up window on the location allows fill the semantic form! It is now possible to view the categories of projects happening across the country and obtain detailed information about each of them.


Like the projects, all the tax Rupees are now track-able.

All government receipts through the multiple channels at local state and national levels now get displayed on a public semantic-wiki based application. Citizens can query and understand where the Tax Rupee is being collected real time. By geography, by income group, by item head, by level of government. They have an access to a huge spreadsheet to do a what-if analysis and suggest where it can come from and how it can be rationalized.

All the expenditure can now be tracked on a similar real time information system. Officials involved in the project associated with the budget head now have cards that allow them to expend money from the budget head upto the limit set for them. This has greatly speeded up the project execution process. This has also enabled the expenditure information to be available in real-time to everyone.


Several public broadcasting feeds have become a common feature of all government offices. Twitter started it all in 2009. Most of the early adopters in the government designated an official tweeter who would broadcast deadlines, event alerts, sos messages, public notices, changes in people, processes or policies. This practice now continues but has been enhanced to reach out to non-twitter audiences through an RSS push on the One-India accounts of relevant persons.

Collaborative governance

The governance wiki now allows stakeholders to collaborate on all governance issues. It tracks people, projects, budgets, issues and visions of the various communities across the entire nation. India’s cost of governance has more than halved and it is regarded amongst the top three best governed countries in the world.

Recognizing the importance of the botanical, zoological, geological, archeological and land surveys in India there is now a National Wiki Institute that promotes the public participation. This has led a nation-wide collaboration to update the information on its assets and even provide a discovery of many that were not known before.

Schools, colleges and universities are actively researching on these assets and updating their findings on the national wikis for a nation wide collaboration.

Every city and village are following the pattern of Pune in providing a map to track information at the ward or community level.

Collaborative modeling and futures

After the failure of economic theories to identify and help cope with the economic meltdown of 2008-09 the Prime Minister called for an active program on futures research and alternative design. The National Institute on Futures Research and Design was set up to promote more resilient, stable and sustainable systems across the nation.

The Institute has successfully built a wiki based modeling platform that allows collaborative design of models that can be mixed and matched to help design real systems, processes, and organizations. Now all stakeholders can communicate effectively the impact of various decisions in different systems on them. This is enabling a better design. This is bringing a tremendous power to create networks, collaborations and communities that succeed. No wonder the economy has shot past 4 trillion and is galloping ahead close to double digits.


The resulting India is one that brings prosperity to all. People can walk without fear and hold their heads high. Everyone has access to knowledge. The country is not fragmented by local, state and national governments.

The UN has requested the Prime Minister to replicate the vision across other countries and spread the prosperous and resilient economic and governance system across the globe.

You can make this your vision by modifying it on the the governance wiki.

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