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BW Businessworld

Maharashtra Signed MoU Worth $1 Billion With Oracle To Develop Ecosystem For Smart City Initiative

The state government and Oracle will create a centre of excellence to modernise government services and enable smart city solutions

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The government of Maharashtra has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with cloud company Oracle to accelerate the state’s digital transformation initiatives as part of which it has committed an investment of $1 billion through December 2018 when the smart cities project is expected to be completed.

This announcement at the ongoing Openworld event in San Francisco follows Oracle’s recent commitment with the prime minister of India Narendra Modi to support the country’s global digital initiatives as part of which Oracle had unveiled a new campus in Bengaluru, nine incubation centers throughout India, and an initiative to train more than half a million students each year to develop computer science skills.

As part of the MoU, the Maharashtra government and Oracle will create a Centre of Excellence (CoE) to help accelerate its smart city program and modernise the government’s technology solutions. The CoE, housed in Mumbai, will serve as a research platform to design, develop and test new capabilities intended to deliver better services to citizens and businesses. As part of the project, 29,000 villages of the state will be connected through fibre optics.

The proposed projects, to be finalised before the end of the calendar year, include smart city in a box; mobile platform for service questions; unified app development for services like driving license renewals or property tax payments; digital platform to deliver smart city services across the state; and connected infrastructure across all devices, kiosks and citizens.

Many of these projects will support the government’s e-services program which was initiated in April to develop 10 smart cities, adding to the 33 announced by the central government in the 100 Smart Cities initiative. Five cities of Maharashtra have just been outlaid by Modi to be part of the Smart Cities initiative for this fiscal.

The government will primarily be using Oracle’s latest cloud-based technologies to power its smart city initiatives. “Cloud computing has changed the landscape of governance. It has the power to enable inclusive growth and to transform the state into a digitally empowered society,” Devendra Fadnavis, chief minister of Maharashtra said. “Together with Oracle, we want to build a new, efficient, transparent and inclusive system that benefits our people. The CoE is a step in that direction…”

Fadnavis said that Maharashtra’s Smart Cities project could also help in creating prototypes in other Indian states which would be a testimony of its success.

Oracle CEO Safra Catz said that Oracle plans to grow its India operations almost 10 fold by 2020 given the huge opportunity India has to leapfrog by using the power of the cloud. Reinforcing the company’s commitment to India, Catz said that Oracle is planning to bring its flagship customer event Oracle Openworld to New Delhi in April next year.