State of E-Governance in India

Government in India is Microsofts biggest distribution strategy, by forcing users to use Microsoft products for their e-governance portals.

 · 2 min read

As a user, we use services provided by Indian government regarding registrations, licenses, payment of various taxes and return files of taxes. To provide such services government has made good online service portals. These services has functionalities to upload taxation information on the cloud. Also, there is an alternative provided for offline utility.

On registration, we became eligible to access these services. From last four years, I have been using these services to perform Professional tax return and Service tax returns.

While filing professional tax return, we have to download e-form III-(B). This e-form opens in spreadsheet file and save in .xls format in particular folder. Similarly, to perform service tax return, we need to download excel utility to fill return data and create XML file to upload on service tax portal.

For these services, government has recommend use of Microsoft operating system. This means, if you  want to complete your work, then you should buy Microsoft OS as well as you should pay for their upgrades. Because they demand for the latest version. There is no any other option provided by them. Why government impose these penalties on the users? Why they are they forcing users to subscribe to licensed softwares? Is there any particular reason?

As I know, there are open source companies, who provide these services free of charge with free upgrades. One of them them is Ubuntu. Since its an open source product, the user need not buy license. Products of these company is available at free of cost. You just have to download their OS from their website. They is also Elementary OS, which we use in our office, which gives you a feel of MacOS. On their OS, you can use office software tools like Libre Office which are alternatives to Microsoft Office. These office softwares are also available at free of cost.

In our product, ERPNext, we allow user to import and data from using these open source office applications. So that ERPNext users do not need to buy any other paid services. Like this, government should also make their data uploading and downloading utilities compatible with open source softwares as well as with paid softwares using open standards like CSV or XML.

Let us hope government will rethink their strategies and the make required changes in their software systems. This will give all users  relief from burden of these imposed services.

Prakash Hodage

Prakash handles accounts, administration and occasionally support at ERPNext.

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