Constitution of India says: Of the People, By the People and For the People. Since public money is used, the work done should be given back to the public. Other then sensitive defense projects, all other software projects supported by the government should be made Open Source. Students doing projects in schools and colleges where fees are subsidised by the government should also be release under Open Source.

Reuse of Code

Suppose a Municipal Corporation decides to create a software, if the software is released under Open Source, then a Municipal Corporation in another city or town could reuse most or all of that code. They can also improve upon it and send it back to the original developers. This way code can be reused, there by reducing the cost of further development. Lot of government projects work on the similar projects and each one is re-inventing the wheel. If the code of all the project is available, they can collaborate and avoid duplication of work.

Transparency

Showing the code also bring about transparency in the way the government functions since citizens can view the code and verify the quality of work done as well judge weather the money was rightly spent.

Code Never Dies

Quite often it happens that a government funded project dies over time due to various reasons. What happens to the code that they developed? The code also dies with the project. Sometimes the project may be active but code may be lost or unable after a few years. If the source code of all government funded project is released as Open Source, the code will never die even if the project is discontinued. Any one who wishes to continue can just download the code and continue where someone else left off.

Reduce Costs

Open Source and Linux helps in reducing the Total Cost of Ownership drastically of the entire system. India being a developing country, should use such technologies so as to reduce the over all cost. The money saved can be used to provide computers where there aren’t any currently or can be utilised for other projects.

Outflow of foreign exchange

More than 90 percent of software that Indian purchase are not produced by Indian companies, valuable foreign exchange is used to purchase them. By using Open Source software, there is no outflow of foreign exchange since the basic software is free. You may have to pay for services, but the services revenues goes to Indian companies or Indian subsides of foreign companies which employ Indian to provide local support.

Opportunities for local vendors

When proprietary/close source software is used, there is very little revenue opportunity for local vendors. With Open Source, since the source code is available, local vendors can do value additions and customisation as required by the customer and thereby earn extra revenues.

Open Standards

Since Open Source follows Open Standards, government must encourage the use of Open Standards document formats. For example if the government tender documents are in Microsoft Word documents which is a proprietary format, then citizens are forced to buy Microsoft Word to read/write those documents. On the other hand if the government standadises on the use of open standard document format, then the citizen can use any software to create them.

Make Software a Cottage Industry

To develop software there is an investment required in the PC + Operating System + Development tools. The cost of proprietary development tools alone would come to a lakh of rupees. The cost of Open Source development tools is zero and there are a huge family of development tools available as well as a huge collection of development libraries are available for free. Also since the source code is available, the developer can study the source code of some of the best applications.

If the government encourages the Open Source model of development, the software industry can become a cottage industry. The Open Source development model is also decentralised, which means a student, sitting in a small village can easily contribute code to a large Open Source project. Where as if he had to contribute code to a close source project, he would be required to be physically present at the premises of the software company and be employed by them.

Also Open Source makes it easy for anyone to contribute code, even if the person is fresh out of college, he could still write some application and put it out as Open Source. Linux started by Linus Torvalds as Hobby when he was a student at University of Helsinki in Finland. We would like the next Linus Torvalds to be from India.

No Dependence on a Particular Vendor

With Open Source you are not dependent on a single vendor, so if one vendor fails to support you, you can get any one else to support you since code is available. This creates a healthy competition and companies cannot hold the government at ransom.

Last but not the least

If China Mexico, Brazil, Germany, UK, US and South Korea have done it, why not we? These countries are promoting the use of Linux and Open Source in a big way, so why should India be left behind?

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