The Government of India is soon coming out with an “Open software policy” according to Union Minister for Telecommunications and IT, Ravi Shankar Prasad. Speaking at the 3rd Web Ratna Awards ceremony, the Minister mentioned that under the new policy, all proposals for e-governance projects will include a mandatory clause for considering open source software as a preferred option. The Minister further added that suppliers and vendors will have to provide justification for exclusion of OSS in their responses, as reported by FirstPost. He said that closed software is monopolistic as there is a vendor lock-in, in addition to heavy charges for maintenance and subsequent updates.
Key Highlights of the OSS Policy
- The nature of compliance will be Mandatory.
- The policy shall be applicable to all Government Organisations under the Central Governments and those State Governments that choose to adopt this policy.
- All new eGovernance applications will be considered for implementation as well as all new versions of legacy and existing applications.
- All Government Organizations, while implementing e-Governance applications andsystems must include a specific requirement in Request for Proposal (RFP) for all suppliers to consider OSS along with CSS while responding.
- Incase, in certain specialized domains where OSS may not be available or in case of urgent / strategic need, Closed Source Software (CSS) may be permitted.
- All future Requests for Proposals (RFPs) of e-Governance projects shall include a mandatory clause for considering Open Source Software (OSS) as a preferred option in comparison to Closed Source Software (CSS). Suppliers will need to provide justification for exclusion of OSS in their response
- Government of India, shall actively collaborate with OSS communities in India as well as at the International level and contribute wherever appropriate.