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Empowering India Digitally Through E-Governance

At the 5th Annual Digital India Summit, both government and private sector officials come together to analyse the role of digitisation.

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BW Businessworld organised the 5th annual Digital India Summit on 28th June, 2019 to analyse and discuss the government’s Digital India initiative. The discussion touched upon the best practices of the flagship campaign that has been implemented alongside, how other futuristic technologies can be used in different sectors while improving governance. Talking about importance of technological development in India, Dr. Annurag Batra, Chairman & Editor-in-Chief, BW Businessworld Media highlighted NDA-1’s intiatives including the introduction of technological platforms and incumbent NDA-2 ‘s focus on the implementation and naturalisation of technological amenities into the country.

Digital India: Transforming Economy

Digital India is considered to be one of the most impactful initiative of the government. Ajay Prakash Sawhney, Secretary, Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MEITY), Government of India (GoI), said, “India is far better equipped to handle the upcoming decade of technological advancement and transformation than any other nation. The technological gap that exists in India, Digital India initiative hopes to shorten this gap.” Navin Mittal, Commissioner at Collegiate and Technical Education in Government of Telangana informed, “Today higher education sector is leveraging digital platform by using the technology in educating students and training teachers. Diptiman Das, Chairman & Managing Director, EdCIL (India) pointed out that the biggest challenge is training the teachers, and so digital solutions are the only way forward. Talking about the non-avalability of education and resource, Amit Gainda, CEO, Avanse Financial Services talked about the services provided by Avanse to help in educating the financially weak population of the country. Shilohu Rao, General Manager, Capacity Building, National eGovernance Division (NeGD), Digital India, GoI informed that the NeGD is imparting key skills on cyber-crime to the police force of the country. He said, “We are training the police officials about cyber-crime via digital medium with a minimal focus on soft skills.”

Shafqat Khan, Officer on special duty, Department of Health and Medical Education in Government of Jammu and Kashmir said, “There is a 10 per cent drop in the infant mortality rate in the Jammu and Kashmir within a year.” Propounding on how they achieved that, Khan said, “It is the thrust we have made towards the maternal and childcare issues to address this concern. The ASHA workers helped in collecting data of mothers and children from the fringes of the state.” Arun Sharma, Director, DBT (Direct Benefit Transfer) Mission, GoI mentioned how DBT which works on three pillars aadhar, banking and fintech is leveraging technology and digitisation in various schemes. Rishikesh Patankar, Head of Operations, Education CSC eGovernance Services India added about the measures and initiatives in the different sectors. 

Technology Influencing Governance 

Digital transformation has brought a drastic change in our daily lives. India is on the path to its digital journey and, this time, the leap is expected to be more gigantic than ever before. Vijay Sakhare, IGP & Commissioner of Police, Kochi Range said, “In Cochin, we have facial recognition cameras at public places which helps in predicting and preventing criminal activities. Kochi traffic police is equipped with ITMS (Intelligent Traffic Management System) in which AI aids in understanding the traffic and managing traffic lights accordingly.” Chhabilendra Roul, Secretary, Department of Fertillisers, GoI, stated, “We are using biometric verification for sale of fertilizers which helps in tracking who bought how much of it.” “Within two months nano-fertilisers will be introduced in India which could majorly replace the current usage of fertilisers,” he added. Talking about how can India become a technology provider, R K Pathak, Deputy Director General (International Co-operation) at Department of Telecommunication, GoI said that India along with the rest of the world will be unveiling 5G.

Sandeep Dutta, Chief of Practice, Fractal Analysis, points out, “In the healthcare sector technology is used in early-stage detection of Tuberculosis using AI. It helps in filling the gaps of lacking radiologists, imagination and detection machines. Angiah Santhanaswamy, Director Business Development in Public Sector, Oracle India informed that during a project with NITI Aayog through the usage of blockchain technology they were able to trace back the details of the channel from its production plant to the point of sale. Sukesh Jain, Senior VP, Enterprise Business, Samsung Electronics pointed out that they have been working with the government and private entities to bring in real digital mobility transformation driving consumer benefits. Samsung is providing the technology to Indian Railways, Indian Post, WCD and Hyderabad Police, informed Jain. Talking about the digital platform for urban planning and project monitoring, Sunil Kumar, Senior Technical Leader at Dassault System added, “Introduced in 2012, our 3D Experience platform takes the whole world to a new era of managing the smart city.”

E-Governance Systems 

Discussing about e-governance, Padma Jaiswal, Secretary, Department of Information Technology at Government of Puducherry, pointed out, “There is an increase in demand as the consumers have become ambitious in terms of technology.” Rohan Thakur, Director IT, Government of Himachal Pradesh, said, “Government to government (G-to-G) and government to consumers (G-to-C) are the areas to adopt e-governance to strengthen the digital infrastructure and can be used for instant certification in the country.” Ajay Chagti, Special Secretary, Department of IT, Government of NCT of Delhi, said that it is the beginning of technology adaptation and implementation in the government sector. He pointed out the importance of cloud, as it is cost-effective and helps in continuing businesses and concentrate on data analytics. Elucidating the importance of IT application geared with cybersecurity, Gagan Rai, Managing Director and CEO, NSDL e-Governance Infrastructure, stated, “Filing income tax, issuing of pan card of 4.60 million people requires cybersecurity which could be assured by 100 per cent encrypted data transmission.”

Workforce & Digital India

Artificial Intelligence (AI) equipped bots are becoming smarter day by day. They are already playing a significant role in numerous industries making work simpler, easier and faster. Rohit Kumar, Regional Head- Public Sector, Automation Anywhere said, “India is already the outsourcing hub of the world and is on the verge of becoming the next automation hub of the world.” On the subject of ‘digital workers’, Kumar informed that the companies have already started working with digital workers, which have an employee number and are mutually working with humans. 

Debapriya Nandan, Senior Director & Head Public Sector, Business Development, Oracle India, said, “By 2025, almost every cloud application will absorb artificial intelligence. Automation will change the game of enterprising data management and interactions for managing customers by 50 and 85 per cent respectively.”

Future of Digital India

Highlighting the advantages of Digital India, Dhotre Sanjay Shamrao, MoS for HRD Ministry, said, “Digital India campaign of GoI is more of an experience that citizens would relish on than any policy, intended to smoothen their day to day life.” He further added, “The government has also prepared a draft of 100-days action plan that includes National Policy on Electronics 2019; National Policy on Software Products 2019, Digital India Info way  (National Government Network and National Knowledge Network 2.0); National Mission for Natural Language Translation and Personal Data Protection Bill. Lovneesh Chahana, VP, Digital Government (APJ), SAP India stressed on the importance of experience economy, and what India must do to achieve this. He said, “An experience economy is where services are used as stage and goods as props to engage stakeholders in a way that creates a ‘memorable experience’.” Rajiv Mehta, VP, Vodafone-Idea Business Services confirmed the Vodafone-Idea’s support to the government as they are pushing more towards making Digital India a reality. Sawhney added, “The next decade belongs to India because it is the only major country that has both problem solvers and problems that need to be solved, unlike most nations.”Kamal Kashyap, Country Manager, Public Sector, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise identifies the need for further technological expansion into other sectors and industries of the economy. He gave a run-down of the various initiatives from Hewlett Packard, especially in the field of surveillance technology. Jain added, “India is having a lot of opportunities as there will be 7 billion mobiles by this year. Therefore, three key challenges in the form of security, customisation and ease of doing operations come back to us.” Sharing views on modernisation of technology, Ron Malka, Israeli Ambassador says that the problems India and Israel are the same and it is only a matter of scale, hence they can have the same solutions. 

Conclusion 

Many of the futuristic technologies like AI are already being used in several systems in India. With private parties collaborating with the government in fostering a digitally empowered India, it is likely to see efficient and safer modes of functioning at different levels.  


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