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Smart City Is Impossible Without Safe City First

In the current environment, crime poses the biggest challenge in the face of the “smart city” initiative.

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At the 5th BW Businessworld Digital India Summit organized by BW Businessworld, a panel discussion themed ‘Connected Neighbourhood and Infrastructure: Towards Safe and Secure Cities’ discusses the challenges and demands in the accomplishment of ‘Smart Cities’ status in India. The panel comprised of speaker Upendra Jain, Additional Director General of Police, Madhya Pradesh, M.S Bhatia, Inspector General of Police, CRPG, Brijesh Singh, Inspector General of Police, Cyber, Maharashtra Police, Sanjeev Tyagi, National Head - Government and Defence, F5 Networks and Satish Nair, Director – Technology, F5 Networks, with Vikram Sehgal, Inspector General, CRPF serving as moderator. 

Vikram Sehgal begins the discussion by introducing the agenda to the audience and subsequently inviting the first speaker Upendra Jain Madhya Pradesh to give a presentation on India’s First Integrated Police Emergency Response System. Jain introduces the [email protected] programme in Madhya Pradesh, and its structure. He goes on to explain the workings of the call centres and the structure surrounding it. Jain speaks about the effectiveness of the programme and the help it has given to the Madhya Pradesh Police. “The [email protected] programme allows for analysis of crime in order to prevent crime and policy framing” remarks Jain, who provides statistics along with the statement. 

The next panellist is M.S Bhatia who speaks on the semantics of smart policing and how its implementation is improving the police, with a view to the future for the police and the citizens of India. He elucidates on the concept of smart cities and how the rise of smart cities entails a decrease and absence of crime. “In a smart city, the police must be equally smart”. He calls upon the police forces to be more proactive than reactive. Bhatia cites the benefits of a smart city in delivering of justice using the London Tube bombings of 2005. 

Subsequently, Brijesh Singh comes to the podium to speak about the details of India’s struggles with cyber security, and how we can rise above them. He starts of by discussing the vulnerabilities that connected systems hold, due to their sheer size. This vulnerability is actively exploited by cyber criminals. For this reason, the central government dedicates 10% of the IT ministry’s budget to the cyber security department, but cyber security programmes are mostly outsourced or purchased from other nations. “If we don’t innovate our cyber security soon, we will continue to keep outsourcing the technology and that will not be good for us”. Singh recommends that we must begin to invest more money and time into the AI and cyber security fields in order to keep up with the challenges and threats from cyber criminals. 

Satish Nair arrives on stage to deliver a presentation on optimising cost while maximizing security. He identifies the importance of constantly upgrading to superior technology in order to better equip yourself against cyber threats. He identifies the growing size of the cyber user base as a major reason for the increase in security risk. When identifying the significance of encryption in the current cyber space he says “Encryption is the new norm: Whatever you do today is all encrypted (70%)”, and claims that encryption is important to tackle problems of traffic, demand and security.

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