Open Source Becomes Part of India's State Policy

India joins a new breed of nations that have come openly supporting open source software solutions as part of the declared state policy. The Government of India has adopted a comprehensive and supportive open source policy building on their earlier efforts to adopt open standards for procurement.

india adopts open source policy

India's Massive "Digital India" Program And The Role of Open Solutions
Government of India (GoI) is implementing a Digital India program as an umbrella program to 'prepare India for a knowledge based transformation into a digitally empowered society and a knowledge economy'. This require a major overhaul of hardware and software infrastructure. Many firms have already committed to the tune of US$ 71 billion towards the initiative. But to ensure efficiency, transparency and reliability of such services at affordable costs, open source solutions are as important.
"Organizations worldwide have adopted innovative alternative solutions in order to optimise costs by exploring avenues of “Open Source Software”. GoI has also been promoting the use of open source technologies in the eGovernance domain within the country to leverage economic & strategic beneifts." "Government of India shall endeavour to adopt Open Source Software in all e-Governance systems as a preferred option in comparison to Closed Source Software (CSS)."
The policy document titled "Policy on Adoption of Open Source Software for Government of India" put forwaded by its Ministry of Communication & Information Technology has 3 key objectives:
  • To provide a policy framework for rapid and effective adoption of OSS
  • To ensure strategic control in e-Governance applications and systems from a long-term perspective.
  • To reduce the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of projects.
A perfect summation of benefits I must admit. As stated in the document, it is not just about the cost-advantage. Open Source software solutions brings about qualities such as longevity and sustainability which can be very critical for massive initiatives such as Digital India. The government is currently working on creating an implementation mechanism for Open Source software that can be then replicated across the country.

Further reading at Full policy document PDF can be found here (PDF). Also read how Turin saved millions of Euros by becoming the first Italian city to adopt Ubuntu and Open Office.