The MSDG enables delivery of public services over mobile devices through various mobile based channels, such as SMS, USSD, IVRS and mobile applications. As MSDG has been developed based on IIP/IIS (Interoperability Interface Protocol / Interoperability Interface Specifications) standards of Government of India, it provides seamless integration with the backend departments through existing NSDG/SSDG eGovernance exchange infrastructure. Backend departments are connected to the MSDG for mobile based services.
MSDG consists of the following components.
The SMS Gateway provides the common service of SMS to the eGovernance exchange and is used to deliver SMS based services to all citizens and businesses. It supports both push and pull based services. Using push services, common informational services can be pushed to citizens as a group. Departments can use the SMS Portal or a programmatic interface to push SMSs to citizens. Citizens can also request for specific information through pull based SMS services. Short codes 51969 and 166 have been allotted by Government of India for mobile governance services in the country. These short codes have already been made operational for pull services. In addition, a long code, 9223166166, has also been made operational for pull services.
Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) is a session based service unlike SMS, which is a store and forward service. USSD can be used by the user to send command to an application in text format. USSD acts as a trigger for the application. Currently this service is mainly being used for checking balance in financial accounts and mobile prepaid recharge. A three digit short code *166# has been allotted to Mobile Seva for this service. USSD is more interactive as compared to SMS but nothing is stored on the phone. This can be very useful for submitting requests for a service through an interactive menu and for tracking their status.
IVRS is an example of a computer-telephone integration (CTI). The most common way for a phone to communicate with a computer is through the tones generated by each key on the telephone keypad. These are known as dual-tone multi-frequency (DTMF) signals. A computer needs special hardware called a telephony board or telephony card to understand the DTMF signals produced by a phone. A simple IVR system only requires a computer hooked up to a phone line through a telephony board and some IVR software. The IVR software allows pre-recording of greetings and menu options that a caller can select using his telephone keypad. More advanced IVR systems include speech-recognition software that allows a caller to communicate with a computer using simple voice commands. Speech recognition software has become sophisticated enough to understand names and long strings of numbers.In the context of mobile governance, the IVRS application is intended to serve the C2G and G2C services within the e-governance domain. Through IVRS based services, status enquiries for a large number of services can be automated and the requisite information provided to the service seekers without causing undue overheads on the e-governance infrastructure.
Location Based Services (LBS) can be very useful for the departments for customizing their services according to the location of the service seeker. There are various ways in which location of the service seeker can be determined. Most popular are GPS and cell tower based locations. GPS based location is more accurate compared to cell tower based location. MSDG will connect to such systems and will provide a unified interface to departments or developers of mobile applications, which can be used by them for customizing or developing the applications.
Cell Broadcasting Services (CBS) are particularly relevant when certain notifications or alerts have to be sent to citizens in a particular area. This can be very helpful in case of disaster or emergency situations. MSDG will connect to all the telecom operators for CBS for this service and will provide a unified interface to the departments. Departments can then use this unified interface for notifications and alerts in a particular area.
Many transactional government services involve some amount of payments to be made by the service seekers to the Government departments. A Mobile Payment Gateway has been developed incorporating various channels for making electronic payments through mobile devices. These include credit/debit/cash/prepaid cards, SMS based payments through Mobile Money Identifier (MMID), mobile wallets, net banking, etc. The Mobile Payment Gateway has been made available to Government departments and agencies for integration with their applications. Citizens can use this facility to make payments for various government services through their mobile devices.