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Telecom Goes Digital Way

One of the first states to make Gram Panchayat Level Connectivity a reality to take Government services to citizens is Rajnet- a state connectivity project by Rajasthan. Vodafone has supported the Govt of Rajasthan to connect over 2000 gram panchayat through our robust network

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It's an exciting time to be a part of the dynamic Telecom landscape and to lead the government Vertical for Vodafone Business Services for the last 3 years has been an exhilarating experience.

India is at the cusp of a technology lead transformation. Over the last 3 years, Vodafone has associated with various initiatives to turn honorable Prime Minister, Modi's ambitious dream into a reality .

Being a leading enterprise mobility player and owing to our extensive reach in the rural and urban India Vodafone has presented ourselves as a keen partner for connectivity related projects identified under Digital India.

One of the first states to make Gram Panchayat Level Connectivity a reality to take Government services to citizens is Rajnet- a state connectivity project by Rajasthan. Vodafone has supported the Govt of Rajasthan to connect over 2000 gram panchayat through our robust network.

We have actively engaged with the government to seek standalone representation and request for further measures to allow for participation in the Direct Benefit Transfer of Subsidy, Pension, incentives & Salary Disbursement. Some of the ongoing initiatives with the government include: Department of Social Welfare (DOSW) & Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA).

Apart from connectivity to the last citizen, Digital India also aims to bring quality education and health across cities and villages. We have partnered with state rural health mission across Gujarat, Punjab, Haryana & Uttarakhand to provide cost effective mobility solutions.

Another key agenda of the Digital India program is enabling digital literacy especially for the youth and quite recently we collaborated with State of Goa to support their launch of 'Yuva Goa Samvad Yojana' that aims to enable younger citizens of the state to have access to data via their mobile phones.

State and central governments across the nation are using our wide range of mobility, connectivity, Internet of Things and M-Pesa propositions to power their Government to Government needs and their Government to citizen. We have specifically supported in the past and shall continue to do so in future the Government to Citizen Awareness campaigns such as Mann Ki Baat through our Voice and Message Broadcast services.

Supporting mHealth remote care services :

Vodafone is an industry leader and pioneer in supporting Internet of Things based solutions especially in the space of mHealth. Globally, by moving costs and care away from the hospital and primary care environment, we are providing a modern approach to healthcare through our Remote Care Services solutions. Our IoT monitoring and tracking solutions also help to maintain medical and lab equipment more effectively through real-time notification of potential issues. Some of our successes Globally include Telemonitoring Alzheimer's patients in Spain , Diabetacare that helps people manage their diabetes using Vodafone IoT & partnering with TRxCARE to improve patient care and protect healthcare budgets.

Closer home in India we have approached State governments to share our Global best practices especially in the mHealth IoT space. So far we have provided connectivity & mobility based solutions to support Government's health initiatives such as ambulance tracking , mobility data to support Apps to capture field level data or Voice Broadcast services for communication to healthcare workers to name a few.

Towards a Cashless Digital India with mPESA : 

Before demonetization drive accelerated our journey towards a cashless digital India, Vodafone has been taking large strides in supporting state governments to move to a cashless platform for quick and real time subsidy, scholarship, fund and salary transfer for their internal requirements and also citizen impacting programs.

With over 9 million users, M-Pesa is actively used as a wallet for all utilities, food, and entertainment. With M-Pesa Digital Wallet, consumers can make payments using the M-Pesa App on their smartphone - it's a convenient, worry-free and secure mode of payment for all their Utility bills like Electricity, DTH, post-paid, pre-paid recharges and online shopping.

As we speak we have multiple mandates secured across National Rural Livelihood mission to support micro finance for Self-help groups in states such as Rajasthan. We have delivered successful pilots for subsidy transfer of Janani Suraksha Yojana under National Rural Health mission to new mothers. We are particularly proud of enabling pension transfer for Dept. of Social Welfare in Haryana and very recently supporting fine collection in an eChallan project launched by State traffic police of Mumbai.

Tie up with Panchayati Raj Department, Government of Odisha to implement the first of its kind, mobile based disbursement of wages under MGNREGS in Odisha. Being the pioneers we got an advantage of building a ready network of Cash out agents across the country.

Creating Future Ready Cities: 

Going by the concept, smart cities are a functionality that is fast, predictable and trustworthy, wherein the whole ecosystem works on a predefined formula based on the internet of things. In a smart city, one would like to monitor traffic, transit systems, healthcare system and security of citizens, among other things. For this, you need to have a strong tele-connectivity. So, as a telecom service provider, we are in the process of understanding the requirements as part of our plan to turn India into a digitally-enabled country. We are also working closely with the government for the purpose. Connectivity can be through fibre as well as wireless connectivity, or a combination of both. But most successful last mile connectivity comes on wireless. At Vodafone, we are capable of providing both types of connectivity as far as the requirements of a smart city are concerned.

We have engaged extensively with State Governments, Knowledge Partners and Subject matter specialists to understand the needs and challenges in Healthcare, Education, Urban Development, Rural Development , Power & Home Ministries. Accordingly we are creating tailor made solutions for their needs by combining our Global expertise and Local market knowledge towards building a partner ecosystem to address mHealth, mEducation, mAgriculture & mCitizen.

Vodafone's robust, cost-effective, round-the-clock, intelligent services have enabled applications & mGovernance solutions and we are actively participating in India's Technology led growth story as keen and capable partners.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

Tags assigned to this article:
telecom vodafone technology digitalisation

Shekhar Agrawal

The author is Senior Vice President with Vodafone India. He has been associated with Telecommunication & Enterprise Services space for over three decades and has worked in Organizations such as Reliance Telecom, UPS & HCL Services.

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