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Govt of India explores APIs as another step towards eGovernance

In a significant step that would make Government of India’s several ministries accessible to the millions of smartphone users in India and overseas, the government’s information technology department has come out with a draft policy to open its application programming interface, or APIs.

The Indian Government said that it aims to make all of its services digitally accessible to the common person in his locality through common service delivery outlets. To meet this objective, it added, there was a need for an interoperable ecosystem of data, applications and processes which will make the right information available to the right user at the right time.

“In view of the above, there is a need to formulate a policy for the Government Organisations in India to provide Open Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). The “Policy on Open APIs for Government of India” will encourage formal use of Open APIs in Government Organisations,” the draft policy released by the IT department earlier this month said.

“This policy sets out the Government’s approach on the use of ‘Open APIs’ to promote software interoperability for all eGovernance applications & systems and provide access to data & services for promoting participation of citizens and other stakeholders,” the government added.

The norms for the effective implementation of the policy are yet to be formulated by the government but it has constituted an oversight committee chaired by the Secretary of Department of Electronics and Information Technology R S Sharma. All the government departments have also been instructed to publish the APIs for integrating with their eGovernance applications and systems and for the public to access relevant information from eGovernance apps and systems.