With e-wallet and payments apps, the need to carry wallets is all but gone—it is only the need to carry government-documents like driving licence, IDs, etc, that still make one seem necessary. But even that, if governments everywhere were to emulate Telangana, could soon be gone. The state’s transport department has launched a digital wallet that stores a user’s driving licence and vehicle information, including the registration certificate (RC). With over 1 lakh downloads, it is the only government app to figure in top 100 downloads of Google Play Store for India. Since its launch on March 30, more than 2,83,814 vehicles have been registered as have been 1,80,651 driving licences while close to 2.5 lakh RCs have been downloaded. It also allows sharing of the RC with family and friends and will soon store insurance and pollution certificates as well.
While the app represents an exciting beginning, seamless digital service from the government will be a distant dream as long as integration issues remain. This is best illustrated by the Union government’s Digilocker—an online personal storage space. Well over a year after its launch, it has been able to attract just over 11 lakh users, with only 12 Union and state government entities linking with it to provide e-documents. Half of them are yet to even issue a single document. While there is a need to integrate government services on the app ecosystem, the purpose will get defeated if one has to download an app for each state/Union department. With the country expected to soon have half a billion smartphones—with the room to add well over half a billion more—it is important that government designs a sharp app-delivered governance strategy.