Need For Inclusive Growth key to Success
Attended by top government officials and members from the corporate world, the Conference covered a wide spectrum of IT subjects like creation of self-sustaining rural connectivity to benefit local people, enabling users to access regional rural market and removing technical barriers to increase rural broadband penetration.
The luminaries inaugurated the VARindia IT Forum by lighting the ceremonial lamp. The event was graced by Dr Yoganand Shastri, Speaker, Delhi Vidhan Sabha, Government of Delhi; Mr S. R. Rao, Additional Secretary, Department of IT, Government of India; Mr N. Vijayaditya, CCA, DIT, Government of India; and Mr S. N. Srivastava, Director- IT, DGS&D.
The conference, which attracted a galaxy of speakers and industry leaders, got under way with the delivery of address by the Chief Guest, Dr Yoganand Shastri, Speaker, Delhi Vidhan Sabha, Government of Delhi. As great disparity still exists between the rich and the poor, Dr Yoganand Shastri underscored the need for inclusive growth and equitable development in the country.
Addressing the august audience, Dr Yoganand Shastri said, "I feel honoured to be here at this VARIndia IT Forum. I am happy that VARindia is doing this kind of event for bringing the thinkers and architects under one roof for the last six years. Given the global slowdown, sagging market confidence, this is a very good opportunity to take stock of the situation and think about the future ahead. The Indian IT industry has been a flag-bearer for the entire country in terms of its industrial growth of India's development.” He added, “IT is a subject on which every state is keen to discuss and at the same time it holds an immense opportunity in the employment space. It gives me immense happiness that VARIndia, a frontline IT magazine, is organizing the event for the seventh consecutive term."
In his inaugural address, Mr S. R. Rao, Additional Secretary, Department of IT, Government of India, stressed the need for increasing the role of technology in transforming human lives. Mr Rao said that India's diversity poses both a challenge and an opportunity. "There are some 1,000 dialects in the country and the area of the country is very vast. In such a scenario, connecting all the centres is in itself a huge challenge."
“India is a huge country of six lakh villages; we speak 22 official languages, besides more than one thousand dialects. We have 35 democratically elected state governments; we have close-to three lakh locally elected democratic institutions like panchayats and municipalities.” He said, “E-governance is about transforming the government and using the e-part for the citizens.”
Apprising the audience about the government projects, he said, “The Union Cabinet in 2006 has launched an ambitious progamme of transforming the government for the citizens.”
The Department of IT has put in place the core infrastructure. This will cost around fifteen thousand crores of rupees. It is a three legged-pipe. The first leg of the pipe is the building of the state datacenter. Each of the 35 States and Union Territories are going to have state-of-the art datacenters and these datacenters are going to host not only the data of the State Government services but also the applications.” The State datacenters will be completed by December 2010.
“The second part of this infrastructure is building the statewide area network, which is 2 mbps broadband-enabled network connecting government offices right from state headquarters to district headquarters and right down to each of the block of this country.”
“It also aims at providing horizontal connectivity at the block level which will tantamount to mapping all the offices at the block level including primary health centres, police stations, BDO offices, tehsildar offices,” added Mr Roa.
“This means we are going to connect about 51 thousand government locations and this network will be ready by the end of this year. This will necessitate the establishment of one million km route of broadband,” informed Mr Roa.
Talking about the third leg, Mr Roa said, “The third leg is about the front and delivery outlets, what we call the common service centre. One in each six hundred thousand villages will be mapped with the broadband connectivity. So, in one lakh locations, broadband will be ready by March next year.”
Addressing the gathering at the VARIndia IT Forum 2008, Mr N. Vijayaditya, CCA, DIT, Government of India, said, "e-Governance is a befitting answer to most of the issues that the country is grappling with at present. The growth of India can be achieved if we are able to offer employment to the youth in the rural areas, which comprises 70 per cent of the population.”
If you look at the evolution of the e-governance in the country, we started with a very low level process which was called statistical compilation. Then, we started next stage process that took a long time for us to come in. This stage is called dissemination of information where we distribute information.”
The next major change that e-governance has undergone is the integration of the process of interaction with the individuals. That is the stage we are in and we are trying to increase our e-governance applications into the scenario. The next stage we have to go because this is not the ideal situation we should be in. We should be in a situation where the applications should talk to each other, interact with each other, basically called integration of applications that has to take place. We need to do these things so that if I have to change my residential address in one application it should be available in all the applications.
“Integration of e-governance is a fundamental thing to do. We should have a mechanism for linking them together. As we go along, we have to ensure that we perform those things safely and securely and that is fundamentally important.”
“This is the right time for us to think, innovate ourselves, give trust and confidence to the citizens to implement them. Development of applications itself is the first step in this direction.”
From e-governance, we will be moving to mobile governance. Only then we can think about the inclusion of the rural population. So, when we are talking of mobile governance, there should be a mechanism which will allow us to do our business in a trustworthy manner.
Mr N. Vijayaditya said that e-governance will now pave the way to “mobile governance” to deliver citizen services through cellphones. This is an extension of e-governance. "With the available technologies, it is now possible for the public to access services through mobile phones," said Mr N. Vijayaditya.
Addressing the audience, Mr S. N. Srivastava, Director – IT, DGS&D, provided an overview of the ambitious project of e-Procurement system being implemented by DGS&D.
“In the government procurement, we have to ensure the best use of public money in addition to the transparency, principle of equity, fairness and justice. These are the fundamental principles prescribed by the Indian Contract Act which has to be made applicable.”
“Apart from this, expenditure of public money has always to be audited. Therefore, special type and care is required while making the investment so the best value for money is delivered to the society. Here comes the role of DGS&D which is the Diretcorate General of Supplies and Disposals.”
“DGS&D, which was established in 1951 in its current form, is rendering procurement services to the Centre and Government Departments by placing rate contracts for commonly used items and also by placing contracts against ad hoc requirements. It is the procurement arm of the Government of India.”
“Prior to 1919, it was mandatory for the Central Government and departments as well as the State Government departments to procure their goods through DGS&D beyond a certain value prescribed at that time Rs.1 lakh and above.”
“In 1991, the activities of DGS&D were decentralized and ad hoc procurement activities were handed over to the respective government departments and ministries. Of course, DGS&D continues to provide the facilities, in case if they so desire.”
"The e-Procurement was initiated in DGS&D in the year 2000-02, when both manual and computerized system were being used, but from the year 2004-05, DGS&D switched over completely to the electronic mode for the end-to-end e-Procurement process," said Mr S. N. Srivastava.
"Although there are many challenges in implementing e-Procurement, I am optimistic that they will be overcome with the second phase of e-Procurement, that is being initiated now."
Mr Ajay Pal Dharni, Client Solutions Lead, EMC India Pvt. Ltd., dwelt on the recent trends in the storage industry which were in sync with the present economic scenario. “According to IDC, the data growth has been more than exponential. Everything in the future is going to change from analogue to digital world. Lots of new terminologies have cropped up to measure the storage capacity. So, you can imagine the amount of storage content that is being generated.”
“If we have to work smartly, we will have to store data. Information is going to be the most important asset of an organization – government or otherwise. To manage such an explosion of data, we need to work together. The government needs to come out with better policies; I need to come out with better products. Together, we can somehow manage this data explosion.”
“The data that is growing in this planet is much higher than the storage companies will be able to produce equipments to store that data. So, it only goes on to show that no matter what the companies like EMC will do they are not going to be able to store the data that is expected to get generated over the next few years,” said Mr Dharni. “So, we need to do something about it. There are certain technologies which are getting developed, and EMC is taken a leading edge in developing those technologies.”
Speaking about the current economic scenario, Mr Pulkit Trivedi, Lead Manager – Public Sector, SMG South Asia, Intel Technology India Pvt. Ltd., said, “Looking at India, there are certain barriers but there is an opportunity. We have proven while the West is in severe slowdown, we still managed to achieve about 6.8 per cent of GDP growth.”
“And three sectors that are very critical for our becoming Superpower are: infrastructure, healthcare and education and most of these sectors have rural elements.”
Showcasing the strides EPSon has made in the industry, Mr Satyajeet Satapathy, DGM – North & East, EPSON India Pvt. Ltd., said, “Imaging and printing are the front and backend activities of an organization, department and enterprise – related to citizens, employees and other straekholders.”
“We are close-to a 12 billion dollar company, having 23 manufacturing plants, 108 offices and employing 70 thousand people across the world who continuously work towards imaging products, processing instruments, and electronic devices. And we promise to deliver the innovation, quality to exceed your vision,” added Mr Satapathy,
The VARIndia IT Forum also provided an occasion for showcasing a mind-boggling product from NVIDIA. Introducing the product to the audience, Mr Nishant Goyal, Sales & Business Development, South East Asia, NVIDIA Graphics Pvt. Ltd., talked about the features of the NVIDIA’S Tegra-powered smartbook.
Shri. Ashok Panda, Head- State IT Promotion Cell, OCAC, said, “Lots of things have happened in the last five years. The State has made strides in the ICT sector in that period. Today, in Orissa there are 300 IT units of different sizes and shapes. Infosys, Wipro, Mahndra Satyam and TCS have set up their centres in Orissa.”
Emphasizing on e-Governance, he said, “Orissa has also achieved very good progress in e-Governance. e-Shishu Project is a path-breaking project tracking all the students and children below the age of fourteen, mapping the schools of the state and identifying the teachers. This project has bagged the Prime Minister’s award in 2008.”
“Under the e-procurement project of Orissa, in just one year Rs.20,000 crore of government e-procurements have been done. We have a very innovating project called project Nandini tracking the livestock by creating a database of their breeding to improve the quality of livestock.”
At the beginning of the event, Mr Deepak Sahu, President, VARIndia and Director, Kalinga Digital Media Pvt. Ltd., welcomed the guests. The event was organized in association with the State of Orissa and the corporates which partnered were NVIDIA, Intel, EMC, EPSON, Trend Micro and Canon. This was also an occasion to showcase the products of the vendors like NVIDIA and EPSON.
While concluding, Mr Sanjeev Mahapatra, Publisher, VARIndia, proposed a vote of thanks to the distinguished guests.