We are in the new world; innovation is the name of the game: Amit Mitra

“Today private companies produced about 70% of GDP, so the PSUs have to be modern, leaner and tech-savvy to meet the challenge and being relevant,” said the Finance Minister of West Bengal.

By Mohd Ujaley

Provoking the Public Sector Units (PSUs) to introspect on how much they focus on innovation and modern technologies, Amit Mitra, Minister-in-Charge of Finance, Excise & Commerce and Industries, Public Enterprises, Industrial Reconstruction, Information Technology and Electronics, Government of West Bengal told the PSUs to become modern, leaner and tech-savvy, and be ready for anything.

While delivering his inaugural speech at the second edition of Express Technology Sabha – PSU in Kolkata, Mitra said, “We are in the new world; innovation is the name of the game. Today private companies produced 70% of GDP, so the PSUs have to be modern, leaner and tech-savvy to meet the challenge and being relevant.”

Recalling his days as an independent director on the board of some PSUs such as GAIL and SAIL, the minister said, “PSUs need to use more of IT for becoming efficient.”

He asked, “Are the PSUs trying to be paperless? Are PSUs using data anlytics to understand the future demand and customers? Are the engineers and accountants working in PSUs talk to each other in the age of Whatsapp and Facebook? Are the PSUs using technology for inventory management? Do PSUs have chief economic advisor? Are PSUs tracking the technology development on real time basis?” “A yes, to all these, is the best way forward,” he added.

During his 40 minutes long speech, Mitra touched upon various important application of information technology including e-tendering, big data analytics and integrated finance management, and e-process in the governance, which has huge potential to catalyse the overall progress of the PSUs in India.

Sharing his state experience with IT, he said, “In Bengal we have learnt how to use PPP in effective way from railways, which under the leadership of Mamata Banerjee as a Railway Minister worked on the best process of PPP, and wrote the vision document for e-tendering.” He added that in West Bengal none of 64 departments purchase anything without e-tendering. And, the government is also considering, implementing e-tendering in municipalities and plan is to take it to Gram-Panchayat level in future.

Mitra also highlighted the implementation of The Integrated Financial Management System (IFMS) for which the Government of West Bengal was recently awarded first prize – “Award of Excellence”–by Computer Society of India-Nihilent. Out of about 250 nominations from different states, 53 qualified for the final round and West Bengal’s IFMS, stood first. “Under this system, state government has been using RBI’s core banking solution e-Kuber for consolidating and settlement of accounts under the GST system,” said Mitra, adding that all the spending by the state are e-spending now.

He also informed that in West Bengal, VAT registration has been completely digitised and no officer can raid a dealer without the written approval of a Joint Commissioner level officer.

Highlighting the various achievements of the state government in IT sector, the minister said that IT has seen 79% growth, number of companies has moved from 500 to over 900 and IT export has grown to Rs 13686 crore. Companies such as TCS, Cognizant, Wipro and Microsoft are expanding their operation in the state.

The minister also pointed out that the state government has dedicated 58 acre land in Kalyani, a city and a municipality, located around 50 kilometres from Kolkata, for developing an IT park, which will be dedicated to data analytics. “Any company or startups can start their operation in plug & play mode,” he added.

On the question of does “Singur Tata Nano controversy” haunt the government? The minister said, Singur was a people’s movement and it should not be seen as a reflection on the acceptance of an industry by the state or a state by the industry. He added that post Singur, Tata has raised its investment in the state and other key IT companies are also setting up their center of excellence or increasing their presence in West Bengal.

Amit MitraKolkataPSUtechnologyWest Bengal
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