The FOSS4Gov Innovation Challenge programme aims at transforming India into a knowledge-based economy and digitally empowered society based on technology. India’s Digital footprint is one of the fastest growing in the world.
The Digital India Programme, launched by the Government in 2015, has ensured digital access, digital infrastructure, digital empowerment and bridging of digital divide with the common thread of digital inclusion.
This pace was further accelerated due to the current Covid-19 pandemic. Citizens have moved towards Digital services in almost every sector, rather than traditional method of availing services. Free and open-source software (FOSS) has enabled this seamless transition towards Digital economy. With more than 85% of India’s Internet running on FOSS and a large 4G mobile base of India which recently crossed more than 598.11 million of which 96% of them access the digital world via open-source based mobile operating systems (primarily Android), it would not be wrong to say that FOSS has come up as a flag bearer of e-governance system under Digital India Mission.
Some of India’s largest-government projects (including Aadhaar, GSTN and DigiLocker) and many technology start-ups are built using FOSS. Acknowledging the huge potential of FOSS, the Government of India had issued Policy on Adoption of Open Source Software for Government of India in 2015 to drive uptake within the government. With the vision to transform India as a Software Product Nation, National Policy on Software Products-2019 was approved by the Government. This policy was crucial for development, production and supply of innovative and efficient Software Products, and facilitating the growth across the entire spectrum of ICT sector.
To realize the vision of Software Product Nation and aspiration to be global hub for FOSS4Gov Innovation Challenge, a collaborative effort is needed from various stakeholders like individual volunteers and consultants, schools, higher educational and research institutes, online educators, micro small and medium tech enterprises, global tech firms, local and state governments, national governments, FOSS groups, funders and investors with primary focus on domestic innovation. This perspective was endorsed at the recent virtual roundtable discussion ‘Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) in Government’ that was organized by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) in collaboration with Omidyar Network India on April 22, 2021.
The Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY) announces FOSS4Gov Innovation Challenge to accelerate adoption of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) in Government and build Indian FOSS Ecosystem. Through this challenge, we invite innovators, start-ups, working professionals, academics and students in India to showcase their existing FOSS based innovations and/or build new, implementable, open source product innovations in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) with possible applications for Govtech in Health, Education, Agriculture, Urban Governance etc.
This Challenge is an opportunity for participants to pitch ideas to experts and receive mentorship to develop and fine-tune solutions. The winners of the Challenge will also receive cash rewards and incubation support to scale their products. Additionally, they will have the opportunity to get their solutions listed on the Government e Marketplace (GeM) , thus allowing a host of central and state government departments to procure them.
Omidyar Network India (ONI) will support the provision of mentorship sessions (optional) for this Challenge to the interested shortlisted teams with leaders from the tech, startup and functional domains, to guide the teams towards customization of their solution and driving citizen-centric and scalable design.
OpenForge – India’s own platform shall be used to host the code for this innovation challenge, we’ll be using for collaborative development of e-governance applications.
Objectives of FOSS4Gov Innovation
India has great prospects to become a vibrant hub for FOSS innovations. India has one of the largest pools of developers in the world. This challenge intends to harness this pool of talent and nurture the growth of FOSS community in India. The challenge provides opportunity to integrate proposed solutions with existing GovTech projects. It aims to create an exclusive group of innovators that can be leveraged for various projects.
Problem Statement for FOSS4Gov Innovation competition
If software platforms are the drivers of the digital economy, then reusable open source systems are its building blocks. In the case of FOSS, these building blocks are made openly available for everyone to tinker, tweak, and improve as they like and to use as building blocks to build other things.
FOSS innovators are invited to propose Ideas/Products/ Innovations, build applications, having applications in the fields of Health, Education, Urban Governance, Agriculture or any other field related to E-governance for public for two categories :
- Customer relationship management (CRM)
- Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
Eligibility for FOSS4Gov Innovation Challenge
The Challenge is open for all Indian entrepreneurs and FOSS enthusiasts including startups, students, academia, coders, IT professionals, engineers, UI/UX professionals, etc.
All applicants should:
- Be Indian citizens and currently residing in India OR startups/Companies registered in India wherein majority stakeholders are Indians; and
- Register either as individuals with atmost 2 supporting team members, with the team leader registering on behalf of the team.
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- Exciting cash prizes for the winning solutions in FOSS4Gov Innovation Challenge The Top winning teams in each of the two categories (CRM and ERP) will receive INR 20 Lakhs (CRM) + INR 20 Lakhs (ERP) and the second team will receive INR 15 Lakhs (CRM) + INR 15 Lakhs (ERP) and the third team will receive INR 10 Lakhs (CRM) + INR 10 Lakhs (ERP) as funding to further develop and add features to the selected application, along with certificate from the Hon’ble Minister of Electronics & IT.
- Omidyar network India (ONI) will provide a special prize of Rs 5 lakh in each category for best citizen centric safeguards.
- A chance to receive one -on- one mentorship support by experts to develop and fine-tune your FOSS solutions during the competition
- An opportunity to present your solution to an eminent jury of experts from the government, civil society, academia and the industry during the competition.
- Incubation support and an opportunity to get solution(s) listed on the government platform GeM for procurement, customisation and use by departments and agencies in the centre and in the states, for the winners.