Odisha banks on emerging technology for effective governance

Odisha, eGovernance, Emerging Technology, Express Computer, Microsoft
(L to R) Munish Gupta, Director, Microsoft India; Manish Lodha, Director Sales, Microsoft India; Surjya Narayan Patro, Minister for Food & Civil Supplies, Cooperatives, Government of Odisha; and Mohd Ujaley, Principal Correspondent, Indian Express Group (BPD) during inauguration of Express Digital Governance Series in Bhubaneswar.

With the focus on ‘Technologies for Effective Governance’, the Bhubaneswar edition of Express Digital Governance Series was organized by Express Computer magazine in partnership with technology giant, Microsoft India. Government heads, visionaries, policy makers and IT leaders from the state came together to discuss and debate the great potential that state of Odisha offers and how technology can overhaul the existing infrastructure for the state.

The conference began with the  overview address from Munish Gupta, Director, Microsoft India. He spoke in detail about the impact of emerging technologies on life and how over the years the dynamics of governance has changed due to tech intervention. He said, “Governance has become more demanding as people want services on the go.” With the help of video presentation, Gupta showcased some of the futuristic work done by Microsoft India in the area of machine learning and artificial intelligence and their impact on governance, agriculture and healthcare. He was of the view that governments has to reimagine its role in the light of automation of services, which will happen because of proliferation of emerging technologies.

Delivering his keynote address, Dr C S Kumar, Principal Secretary, Revenue & Disaster Management, Government of Odisha shared his views on how revenue department is using technology to automate various process. He was of the view that with proliferation of technology, the vector for cyberattack will also increase, therefore both government and enterprise should adequately invest in cybersecurity. “With growth of technology, cyber attackers are also becoming smart. So, we have to strategize in a way to minimise the cyber risk,” he said.

On the challenge of adoption of emerging technology in government, he was of the view that only those efforts will succeed that can easily be adopted by people. “Your architecture could be complex but at the user end, things should be simple,” he said, adding that this could only be achieved if organisations keep people in mind while deploying technology.

The Guest of Honour of the programme, Dr Omkar Rai, Director General, STPI, Government of India emphasised on the importance of creating indigenous products and solutions. While highlighting the work done by STPI in promoting ‘Make in India’ efforts of central government, Dr Rai said, “With the impetus of the government on Digital India and Make in India, there is gradual move of technology adoption across the country. And, this is quite visible from the fact that large number of mobile manufacturing units are being established in the country.” He also highlighted the Government of India policies like giving incentive to start-ups and people who are manufacturing in the country for promoting entrepreneurship and jobs creation.

Chief guest of the conference, Surjya Narayan Patro, Minister for Food & Civil Supplies, Cooperatives, Government of Odisha concurred the possibilities and challenges of technology adoption in the government. While sharing his tryst with technology, he said that he has been minister for IT & Electronics and seen the stride made by Odisha in digital empowerment of the people. During his address, he also emphasised on the role played by companies like Microsoft in digitsing the world. He agreed that future is going to be changed by technology intervention, so the governments need to think about the modern way of engaging with citizen. Making reference to Odisha government public distribution system (PDS) and food programme, he said that government has been able to do it successfully because of the intervention of technology.

Apart from the benefit, he also focused on challenges, specially the challenge of connectivity. He said that without proper infrastructure to connect people, the country will not be able get benefit from emerging technologies. So, basic infrastructure that is sustainable and affordable must be laid down across the country, he said. In addition to connectivity, he also emphasised the risk of cybersecurity.  “With growing cases of cybercrime, it is imperative that government as well as private companies need to make cybersecurity an integral part of their technology push.”

The conference featured a panel discussion on “Emerging Technologies for Effective e-Governance” moderated by Mohd Ujaley of Express Computer. The panellists discussed about various challenge faced by the Odisha and how emerging technology like cloud, virtualisation, mobility solutions could help the state in delivering people friendly services.

Participating in the debate, Rudra Narayan Palai, Special Secretary IT and Chief Executive Officer, OCAC talked about various e-governance project being taken by the state to improve citizen service delivery. He said that the Odisha has a robust system of citizen service delivery and the efforts are being made to improve it further.

Agreeing with Palai, Anjana Prusty, Special Secretary, Science & Technology Department, Government of Odisha said that her department focus more on research and promotion of science education. “Odisha is in right direction, the scientific temperament in the state is high, thanks to right kind of policy framework that state has taken over the years.

Participating in the debate, Vineet Gaur, SeMT Head, Odisha informed about different IT related programmes run by the state government. He asserted that state is taking all necessary action to ensure that government to citizen services are provided in friendly-way. He emphasised that the next wave will be about mobile. “Our services has to be mobile friendly, because this is the medium on which large number of people are accessing internet,” Gaur said.
Sharing his views on cloud technology, Manish Lodha, Director Sales, Microsoft India said that cloud technology has completely changed the way people use to imagine IT infrastructure. Now, they are able to launch services quickly and with less cost. He assured the audience that cloud is more secure than any other form of IT infrastructure.

One of the other key highlight of the conference was the special presentation from Sriram Viswanathan, of Fluentgrid on “Transforming Utilities & Smart Cities through Innovative Solutions.” During his presentation, he explains about the importance of cloud and how with the help of Azure platform one can create application on the go.