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Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs launches Urban Observatory to improve productivity of cities

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Aligned with its mission to help cities across India become more productive, innovative and livable, the Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs (MoHUA), in partnership with Cisco, Quantela Inc, ESRI and AWS today announced the inauguration of a state-of-the-art India Urban Observatory in New Delhi. The first-of-its-kind observatory will leverage data analytics to optimize city operations, improve governance and enhance economic performance of cities across the country.

Housed at Nirman Bhawan, MoHUA, New Delhi, the observatory was inaugurated by Hardeep S. Puri, Hon’ble Minister of State (Independent charge), Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs; in the presence of Durga Shanker Mishra, Secretary, MoHUA; Kunal Kumar, Jt. Secretary, MoHUA along with other government dignitaries and industry representatives including Harish Krishnan, Managing Director, Public Affairs & Strategic Engagements, Cisco India & SAARC and Sridhar Gadhi CEO & MD, Quantela Inc among others.

The India Urban Observatory will collect data from various IoT devices and sensors, the Integrated Command & Control Center (ICCC) and other urban indicators and analyze them to generate insights for all stakeholders and city planners.

Hardeep S. Puri, Hon’ble Minister of State (Independent charge), Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs: “The India Urban Observatory is an important component of the recently launched Data Smart Cities strategy that envisions to create a ‘Culture of Data’ in cities, for intelligent use of data in addressing complex urban challenges. The conceptualization of the India Urban Observatory recognizes the value of enhancing engagement among all four stakeholders — government, citizens, academia, and industry, along with improvements in the internal workflow and decision-making processes of city governments. The India Urban Observatory will become the chief data analysis & Management Hub of the Ministry & would enable evidence-based policy formulation, capacity building of ecosystem partners on data-driven governance & foster innovation.”

Harish Krishnan, Managing Director, Public Affairs & Strategic Engagements, Cisco India and SAARC: “About 60% of India’s population is expected to live in cities by 2050. Hence, to achieve sustainable urbanization, cities need to become smarter and more efficient. Cities can be ‘truly smart’ if they can leverage data for intelligent decision-making and the establishment of India Urban Observatory will go a long way in realizing this vision. We are thrilled to be part of this initiative.”

To enable these, Cisco has provided the technological infrastructure such as Cisco WebEx, a Centralized Urban Observatory Software Platform with Analytics and Artificial Intelligence capability. Quantela on its part provided technology to integrate city data-sets.

Sridhar Gadhi, CEO, Quantela Inc. said, : “The Smart Cities program has been one of the biggest digitization initiatives launched by any government across the world. We are delighted to partner with the Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs and Cisco in this initiative in realizing the dream of a digitally connected India”.

In addition, Quantela provided non-IT support along with workstations, video walls and the necessary physical infrastructure for the India Urban Observatory. The observatory will be further complemented by a specialized data science unit which will analyze data, sourced from across the country to derive insightful trends, helping policymakers take productive decisions.


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