The Government of India is about to launch a master application, apparently hailed as “mother of all apps.” It is one single app, which will amalgamate more than 200 online applications services provided by the Central Government, State Government and the Local Government under one umbrella. The master app has been named Unified Mobile Application for New-age Governance, or UMANG for short; and has been consolidated by the Union Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, under the National e-governance Division (NeGD scheme). Regarding this, NeGD says “Everyone is carrying a smartphone and using the internet on mobile. So we want to provide services wherever the citizens are.” The app has been launched in a time when there is a massive boom in the smartphone market in the country, and hence comes with the potential to shift the power of information to the user.
How will UMANG work?
In the first year of implementing the application, NeGD attempts to bring 50 major services on-board, to which 70 more will be added in the second year, and 80 more will be implemented in the third consecutive year. Some services that will be consolidated in UMANG are: IRCTC, Passport Seva, Aadhar Card, PayGov, DigiLocker, Women Safety (Nirbhaya), E-Municipality, Mother and Child tracking, PF/NPS, Income Tax, National Scholarship, Healthcare Applications, E-Post etc. These services will be available in 13 other Indian languages, and if the user do not have a smartphone, the application can be used via a feature phone, using the SMS menu and a toll free number.
However according to the officials, the integration of the local and state control departments into this application would be a tough challenge to deal with, as internal politics and bureaucratic differences may hinder the swift and smooth working of the process. Thus, Government of India has called for private partnership in a move to develop and deploy the huge app. The bidding for the process has always started, as per the information shared by the government.
According to the document released by the Government of India regarding the bidding, the Government “will select a Partner Agency which would be responsible for development, implementation, enhancement and operations & maintenance of UMANG.”
“Government of India will give a time period of 2 years, will a possibility of extending it for another 2 years, which will be subjected to mutually agreed terms and conditions. Commenting on the documents, the ministry official said “This documents enlists various components and features like voice based command, analytics, supporting software, hardware and other requirements.”