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Here's How Uttar Pradesh Is Growing Digital

With the new BJP Led government stepping in to the state of Uttar Pradesh, there has been a steer push among the government departments of the state for implementation of Digital India Programme and use of technology for ease of citizen centric cervices. G S Naveen Kumar, Special Secretary (Information Technology & Electronics), Government of Uttar Pradesh shares the overall progress of Digital India in the state as well the plan for next few years.

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How has been the overall progress of Information Technology (IT) in the state of Uttar Pradesh?

IT department has two different roles in the state of Uttar Pradesh, one is to bring investment in the IT Sector and electronic manufacturing and the other one is to concentrate on e-governance. 

The state has been doing well in both the things. We had seen successful growth in the last 6 months in both the sectors. One of the things we’ll see as the largest investment in terms of electronic manufacturing is coming in the NCR region right now. And that has been our special focus to create more employments across the state. 

Secondly we are concentrating on improving e-governance facilities across the state day by day. UP is a state, which implemented direct benefit transfers to farmers in the large proportion way back. Given our all pension schemes are IT based, we have used technology as a prime mover and we have used it in a big way. One of the reasons we have been so successful is that socially backward regions of the state like Purvanchal have been heralding this IT revolution. The districts like Jaunpur, Azamgarh and Ghazipur have been having the largest number of digital transactions.  

Nowadays for a common man, IT is not a disability or something. But I think they are the ones ready to use it and happy to use it. So this is an enabler, the biggest enabler or game changer, which we have seen. And the focus of the department is to make it as a game changer in the years to come and to get governance at your footsteps.

How do you plan to get investments or good companies like HP, Dell, and Microsoft to your state for the e-governance or the m-governance projects?

We are planning a Digi Gaon initiative in the state where we are trying to make a village completely based on digital payments. In UP, these companies are always working in the state and have always supported our Initiatives. Intel has always supported our initiatives; HP has e-setu centers where they have rural incubation. So technology is one part of the story and creating an enabler using the technology is another part of the story. So the ideas are coming from Grass root levels not like we push it from top down. We are also looking at opportunities coming from Grass root level where the technology can be used as an enabler to create a system.

There is a new government coming in the state. So what’s your vision and the government’s vision towards IT?

The primary focus of the government is to have technology as an enabler. IT would be a prime mover in that. We are planning to build the largest Incubation Centre here, that’s where you will have technology labs, to the land. So we are connecting both the initiatives, lab to land initiatives. Technology has always been there so, “how do you use technology to locate someone”, that’s what we are looking at right now.

Every state is focusing on getting good number of startups towards Digital India, Smart Cities, Digital Payments, Digi Gaon. What is Government of Uttar Pradesh’s vision on the startups now? 

We strongly believe that startups are the future of the state. Startups will lead to the large-scale innovation in the state. They have been a prime focus of the IT policy so far. In fact the last policy was in 2016 which calls it itself as an IT and a Startup policy. This is one of those comprehensive policies in terms of handling the entire eco system.  It just doesn’t leave one part of the eco system. So we call our policy as INFUSE policy where IN stands for incubator, Fu stands for fundamental and SE stands for startup-Entrepreneurs. The entire policy has been focused on all the three important components of the startup ecosystem i.e. Incubators, the startup themselves and also the funds. So we are being successful in having a Centre of Incubation Centre’s at IIT (BHU) and KNIT Sultanpur.  We have the largest government run Incubator in Lucknow and so the idea has been not just to work on the NCR area but also to move beyond NCR. The government is very important in bringing a new focus, new areas of growth. We see a lot of opportunities coming in terms of private businesses coming up also and BPO sector. Hindi BPO’s state would lead the BPO’s. The mega call centers would boost the BPO sector in the state. 

What’s your vision on the IT revolution in Smart Cities?

Smart cities is a big thing to happen and will be a big thing for the next 10-15 years. We talk about big data, cloud computing and IoT. The government of UP is talking with IIT Kanpur to setup a Centre of excellence in big data, cloud computing and IoT. Given the size of the state big data is the biggest technology we are looking at and I think probably UP would herald that growth in big data. We can use it for transportation systems, or beneficiary identification systems. We’ll also use lot of Aadhar based technologies. So big data is going to be the next big thing.

For everything connectivity is the most important thing. How importance is connectivity and what are the challenges and what u are going to do?

We are already working on a project, which will connect all the block offices. All the police stations in UP are connected to a different system. We are also in the conceptual stage to make a smart IT grid in the state. I would put data storage, connectivity and backend technology as the most important things in the entire eco system. Connectivity would be the most important focus for e-governance right now.


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