India might soon become the first country in the world to deliver egovernance services to citizens using cloud-based IT services. The government is having a dialogue with the apex software industry body, Nasscom, on how to roll out e-governance services using this emerging technology, which is fast gaining acceptance among enterprises for its affordability and ability to address large numbers of transactions. “A collaboration on e-governance via cloud technologies may include 90% of the citizen services, which have not yet been rolled out. It will also make project execution faster,” R Chandrashekhar, secretary for IT, ministry of it and communications said . The advantage of using this technology is that the IT infrastructure need not be set up by the government. In addition, because of the ability of the technology to handle large number of transactions and citizens can look forward to less congestion bottlenecks. For instance, simple tasks like booking a rail tickets online, which are extremely slow during peak hours now, will no longer be a bottleneck. The government’s plan to roll out e-governance and citizen services through cloud computing will open a new market for players like IBM, Salesforce.com and Microsoft, and Indian players such as TCS, Infosys and Wipro. “A collaboration on e-governance via cloud technologies may include 90% of the citizen services. Only about 10% of the services are fully rolled out. It will make projects go online faster,” he added. Rolling out e-governance services through the cloud may reduce project costs but Mr Chandrashekhar said the priority would be roll out services faster rather than cost optimisation. The industry players seem to welcome the government’s move. NIIT, which is partnering with Hitachi to roll out cloud services, said that it would be interested. Wipro has also rolled out a private cloud for clients, and might pitch in. Nasscom also appreciated the initiative. US-based TowerGroup’s senior research director, Rodney Nelsestuen, said India is in a unique situation to leverage cloud computing. “US Federal CIO, Vivek Kundra, has been assigned the task of removing duplication of information and rationalising IT costs via a cloud. India is doing it at the right time as it does not have a problem of legacy systems,” he said. Globally many popular online applications have already gone on the cloud. For instance, Twitter.com, Skype.com, Facebook, Google and Yahoo Maps all use cloud computing. Now e-governance via the cloud may improve lives of citizens.