Monday, July 13, 2009

Prodyut Bora's Blog on Open Standards

Prodyut Bora, Head of the IT Cell of the Bharatiya Janata Party has put up a blog post titled, When Commercial Considerations and National Interests Collide. Bora was one of the main architects of the BJP's IT Vision that supported open source and open standards. Commenting on NASSCOM's push for the inclusion of multiple standards in the Department of IT's Draft Policy on Open Standards for e-governance, Bora says:

[...] the current demand for multiple standards by Nasscom is misplaced. Multiple standards would introduce duplicacy and reduce perfect interoperability between competing products. Whereas a single open standard would remove entry barriers and encourage innovation by small local firms with limited risk appetite, multiple standards would favour market-dominating multinational Goliaths and the Indian software services majors that make money by servicing such Goliaths. Multiple standards would also result in unnecessarily high costs incurred in writing ‘bridge’ code to connect different products, and things like data migration.

It is because of such short-sightedness in the past that we have landed up with a plethora of identity systems—Election ID Card, PAN Card, Ration Card—before finally the wisdom of a unified ID system dawned.

So far, the Government has very wisely thought in terms of an ‘open’ IT ecosystem. But where commercial considerations and national interests have collided, Nasscom very sadly seems to have favoured the former.

I hope that the folks at DIT listen and finalize the policy soon!

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