A virtual roundtable discussion named, ‘Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) in Government’ was organized by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) in collaboration with Omidyar Network India on April 22, 2021.
What is Free and Open Source Software (FOSS)?
- Open and Free: It is software that is both free and open, means any one can use, copy, study and change the software in any way and the source code is openly shared.
- This is in contrast to proprietary software, in which the software is under restrictive copyright licensing and the source code is hidden from the users.
#FOSS4GOV Innovation Challenge
- Ministry: The Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology the challenge to accelerate adoption of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) In Government.
- Innovative: It calls upon FOSS innovators, Indian Startups and technology entrepreneurs to submit implementable open source products in Health, Education, Agriculture, Urban Governance etc.
Need of such initiative
- Diversified: 96% of Indian 4G data subscribers use open-source based operating systems.
- So, India is well in a position to be a vibrant hub for Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) innovations.
- Other similar initiatives: Some of the largest-government projects such as Aadhaar, UPI and many technology start-ups have also been built using FOSS.
- MEITY organized the roundtable to increase awareness about the usage of FOSS in governance and Government functioning, and adoption of FOSS.
- Acknowledgement: It also acknowledges, the Government of India’s Policy on Adoption of Open Source Software in 2015.
- FOSS is also a key component of GovTech 3.0, which is up to secure and for inclusive Open Digital Ecosystems (ODEs).
- This will harness the potential of social innovators to solve India’s toughest problems.
India’s Policy on Adoption of Open Source Software, 2015
- Objective: Government of India endeavours to adopt Open Source Software in all e-Governance systems which are implemented by various Government organizations, as a preferred option to Closed Source Software (CSS).
- 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.
- Characteristics: Under the policy the Open Source Software shall have the following characteristics:
- The source code shall be available for the community / adopter / end-user to study and modify the software and to redistribute copies of either the original or modified software.
- Source code shall be free from any royalty.