Andhra Pradesh goes digital to deliver inclusive growth

Andhra Pradesh

“What gets measured gets managed”, so goes the quote from Peter Drucker, the globally renowned management guru. Andhra Pradesh’s CM Chandrababu Naidu has internalized the saying. Right from the CM’s realtime dashboard viz., CORE, which the CM starts the day, to the exhaustive survey of the state’s 4.5 crore population on more than 70 datapoints, and also having a subtly layered enterprise architecture framework to deliver e-governance services, the recently bifurcated state, seems to be in a hurry to race past other states in delivering ICT enabled governance.

The state recently topped the ease of doing business chart in India and the ‘Single Desk Portal’ can claim a good part of the credit. According to a news report, In the last 1.5 years AP has been able to clear close to 11,000 proposals. The state is in the process of evaluating 357 projects to the tune of Rs 4.5 lakh crore, which can create upto 7 lakh jobs.

Chandrababu Naidu recently urged the centre to first start the e-Governance and IT related projects in Andhra Pradesh as the state has already developed necessary infrastructure for its implementation. Instead of laying underground cables, under the AP Fibre Grid project, the state has partnered with Cisco to overlay broadband cables on the electricity poles. The optic fibre cables have reached 9000 gram panchayats. The Single File System under the E-Office project is a mammoth work in progress with the objective to convert every government file in a digital form.

Swarnandhra Mission 2029

By 2022, Andhra Pradesh envisions to become one of the top three high performing states in India and by 2029, under the Swarnandhra mission, the aim is to become the best state by 2029. The Government of Andhra Pradesh as part of Swarnandhra Vision – 2029 has constituted seven Missions namely : 1) Primary Sector, 2) Social Empowerment 3) Knowledge and Skill Development 4) Urban Development 5) Industries /Manufacturing 6) Infrastructure and 7) Service Sector. ICT will be a major building block in accomplishing these missions.

In order to invite the best minds from all over the world, Andhra Pradesh recently launched the Vizag Fintech valley, which plans to host an ecosystem to develop new technologies towards achieving the goals the state has set for itself. The fintech valley has already launched a Fintech tower. The intent is to make Vizag, the fintech capital of India. The Government has also launched a Blockchain Institute of technology to assist Government agencies, financial firms in Blockchain related implementations. A school of cyber security has been formed in the International Institute of Data Security (IIDT), where a expansive syllabus has been made for short term and long term cyber security course for cyber cops.

e-Pragati

e-Pragati, the Andhra Pradesh State Enterprise Architecture, is a holistic and tight looped framework to propel the state into a developed state by 2029. It is claimed by the state to be the country’s first statewide enterprise architecture initiative. “We are going with a ‘One Government concept’, which is e-Pragati. It is a platform where all the departments will be integrated. The platform will be used to deliver more than 700 G2C services,” says K Vijayanand, IT Secretary, Andhra Pradesh. A massive survey has been undertaken to collect citizen information to provide targeted services and also to design policies that best reflects the requirements of the citizens. “4.5 cr population has been surveyed for close to 70 different elements. Data related to their biometrics, family, social, educational background including their co-ordinates, door number etc,” For further sharpening the targeted services, the state is constructing a specific land hub, peoples hub and GIS hub. It will be integrated into e-Pragati.

Real time executive dashboard

The Praja Sadhikara Survey Dashboard provides the single source of truth of any citizen from the state. It is entirely powered by Aadhaar. The citizens are provided services according to the details captured in the dashboard. “The CM has a real time update through the CM Office Real Time Executive Dashboard (CORE) to a granular level. For example, the payments of pension to a particular family,” says J Satyanarayana, Advisor to Government of Andhra Pradesh. It is also enabled by sensors, web services etc. The data on CORE, among others include real time, IoT based updates on the number of lamp posts working in a particular area of the state; irrigation related, sensor based information on the undergoing 17 reservoir based projects in the state. Additionally, the state is also sitting on quality socio economic data gathered from the Praja Sadhikara Survey dashboard.

The Health and Tracking System, available on the CM CORE has detailed 3.9 lakh pregnant woman in the villages and remote areas. Every household with a phone is listed in the system. The health workers and primary health remain in regular touch with the woman nearing their delivery date and keep ready ambulance/emergency services, food and medicine supply for them. This can increase the number of institutional deliveries and reduce maternal mortality rate (MMR)

Focus on startups

The government has also created a FinTech Valley in Vizag, which is being developed as a self-sustained global ecosystem that aims to host startups as well as established giants. The goal is to create an ecosystem where startups will act as enablers, while established businesses will act as advisors.

The state is offering market access and establishing links between various stakeholders to create a sustainable ecosystem: corporations are offering skill development syllabi to institutions, institutions are providing start-ups with equipment, and start-ups are bringing the much-needed new age ideas. With government intervention, corporations are advising institutions in areas of FinTech, and creating networks of information sharing that is aimed to benefit all players by filling in gaps of supply and demand. To support startups, the government is providing free infrastructure for six months, free fiber (high speed internet) connectivity, and preferential market access to facilitate PoCs of the startups. Additionally, the funds of funds strategy and alternate payments options are being discussed and are expected to be on the books soon. An advisory council consisting of global thought leaders from the FinTech space will be headed by Chief Minister Naidu is being planned to handle funds and map out intricacies.

“We are trying to enable new opportunities for startups, and thinking of new ways to help citizens. For example, we are planning to have a TV ATM. We want to convert the TV into a digital instrument, so that a farmer who wants to send the money from his bank account to his son or daughter who is studying abroad, can use this TV ATM, instead of going to a bank or ATM outside his home. He can transact the money through the TV ATM, after doing a biometric authentication. We are also looking at encouraging self-help groups to use a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin or an AP bitcoin, as it is much more secure compared to cash,” opines JA Chowdhary.

Product startups that have already received funding will be facilitated by the Government to connect with end customers, which would largely be BFSI players and to a large extent, even the Government, who could be potential customers for them. “The AP Government will co-ordinate handholding for startups in the services space, via a mentorship programme which will include banks and financial institutions. This will help startups to create a mature product and scale it up. We are also getting partners on board to handhold startups in setting up operations in a smooth and seamless manner. The AP Fintech valley will act as a facilitator between the Fintech players and the end customer. On the regulatory side, the SEBI, RBI, IBA have formed a joint committee for Fintech policy regulations. The AP Fintech valley will guide Fintech companies to get compliant with the procedures formed. IDRBT has come up with a working paper on Blockchain and our role is to work with them to make sure that the Blockchain use cases, especially for the financial services are compliant and are recognized by the industry as a whole.

The government of AP has identified three major places, for developing IT infrastructure – Tirupati (earmarked for Cyber security and IIDT and all other equipment testing), Vizag (where the Fintech Valley is located and many companies have already begun operations, particularly in Financial Technologies and in other related areas) and Amaravati, the capital of AP (for IT and ITeS).

Betting on the future

The government does not want to rest on its laurels, and has hence decided to invest in technologies that will help it give an edge over other states. The Andhra Government, for instance, has in a first, decided to look at Blockchain technologies, for specific areas such as land records.

States J A Chowdary, Advisor IT & Special Chief Secretary to Chief Minister, Government of Andhra Pradesh, “Blockchain can now be purpose fit for smart documents especially when they have to be transferred from one application to the other. For example, in land registration, once you register your land, then that same document has to be accessed by the bank before giving the loan and subsequently to many other entities. This is where a Blockchain can be used to ensure that documents are genuine and not tampered.”

Besides land registration, the government is also looking at the ‘Civil Supplies’ department as a test case for Blockchain. Civil supplies is basically the Public Distribution System (PDS), wherein a certain category of citizens are provided with specific goods or commodities at a low cost. Every card holder, is eligible to a certain quantity of commodity, depending on the number of family members. Since these disbursements have implications on the state finance and also have a probability of the wrong people getting the benefits, it is important to weed out fake beneficiaries – an area where Blockchain can be used with huge impact.

The state government is also using drones innovatively. Besides using drones to monitor work done at various project sites, the government is also looking at using drones in sectors such as agriculture, public security and traffic.

It is rare for a state to create an enterprise IT architecture and be a front runner in adopting emerging technologies. By emulating some of the leading companies in the world, the Andhra Pradesh government has shown the country, the immense possibilities that can emerge, if the vision is backed by strong political will. AP’s CM, Chandrababu Naidu, has been credited with the development and growth of the IT industry in Hyderabad during his first and second term as CM. This time around, under his leadership, Andhra Pradesh could prove to be the model state which showcases how even the performance of states can be measured objectively and information made accessible to every stakeholder. This will have a catalyst effect, and one can expect other state governments to take a cue, and explore the transformational power of technology, as AP has done.

Please Wait while comments are loading...