People can access 100-odd services by voice mail, SMS alerts or Internet

Starting Thursday, mobile phone users in the State — at least Bangalore, Hubli-Dharwad and Mysore to begin with – need to just tap or punch their handset buttons to pay electricity, water, telephone bills, property tax or even fine for violating traffic rules.

After taking the lead in e-governance, Karnataka has rolled out the era of government services on the mobile phone — m-gov or mobile governance. People can also access the 100-odd services by voice mail, SMS alerts or by Internet on the mobile. The m-services include some of the 150-odd e-services now covered under Sakala, BangaloreOne, KarnatakaOne, Bangalore Transport and Mysore Traffic, all accessed through a single number instead of calling them individually on half a dozen numbers.

Launching the pilot phase of the new government-to-citizen or G2C initiative, Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar said, “M-governance will usher in a new era in service delivery of the State.” I.S.N. Prasad, Principal Secretary, Department of Information Technology, was present.

M-gov is meant to simplify and smoothen people's interactions with government agencies. All departments would use the mobile platform to take their services to people.

It would soon include services related to health, education, legal aid and agriculture. “We are exploring a business correspondent-based model in all villages in order to reach more people under the scheme,” Mr. Shettar said, appealing to other cellphone service providers to join the initiative.

Gunjan Krishna, Head of SeMT (State eGovernance Mission Team) for Karnataka under the National eGovernance Division, said m-gov would tap the high cellphone penetration in the State. More people accessed the Internet on their phones than on laptops.

M-gov would bridge the digital, language and rural-urban divides at almost no cost while providing and can be another tool for good governance, she said. For the government, it would give quick data from inspections and surveys and streamline administration across departments.

OnMobile Global Ltd has provided the technology free of cost for this phase.