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Tech Sabha 2022: A successful 32nd edition, raises the bar for e-governance

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TAKING THE NEXT DIGITAL LEAP BY RAISING THE BAR FOR E-GOVERNANCE proved to be an indefectible theme for the 32nd EDITION of Technology Sabha as a number of Government officers and industry leaders from across the country engaged to speak, discuss and deliberate the latest trends and technologies strengthening India’s eGovernance ecosystem making it yet another grand event by Express Computer, The Indian Express Group. The event was hosted by the Department of IT and Electronics and Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms, Government of West Bengal. Besides, MP State Electronics Development Corporation Limited from Madhya Pradesh and Electronic and Information Technology Department, Government of Odisha along with OCAC also supported the event as State Partners. 

This year Tech Sabha saw active involvement of bureaucrats, government officials, industry players, consultants and associations, keeping the legacy of the Express Group Initiative intact. 

Day one of the event started with an august presence of Babul Supriyo, Minister of Information Technology, Electronics & Tourism, Government of West Bengal as the Chief Guest. Supriyo welcomed all the participants to Technology Sabha Kolkata on behalf of the West Bengal Government. He apprised the delegates of the great plans of the West Bengal Government to boost the IT Infrastructure further. He also talked about the incentives of the Government which IT companies and investors are entitled to as they invest in the state. “Kolkata  has all the possibilities to become the next IT hub of the country, and I welcome all the IT companies to explore the umpteen possibilities here,” added Supriyo.  He also encouraged all the stakeholders to take baby steps. 

After Supriyo, Dr R S Sharma, CEO of National Health Authority addressed the delegates. Dr Sharma is one of the most celebrated bureaucrats in the country. Dr Sharma, for more than 40+ years,  has led reforms and leveraged IT to simplify administrative processes, thus, contributing to shaping India’s policies in Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). He was awarded the first ‘Digital Legend of India’ award by Express Computer this year in Kolkata. While addressing the audience, Dr Sharma highlighted that technology has to be inclusive, interoperable, and scalable. He mentioned how CoWIN has changed the game and helped the country to fight Covid-19 effectively. “Technology may not solve India’s problems, but it can solve many problems,” Dr Sharma emphasised. 

The event also witnessed the presence of B P Gopalika, Additional Chief Secretary,  Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms, Government of West Bengal who emphasised that – change is the only constant, and it is very much needed to ensure overall growth of a society. Gopalika educated the delegates on how the West Bengal government has remarkably integrated data making land records transparent. ”We have introduced an e-tendering process within our system to make the entire process smooth and transparent… We are also inducting newer technologies to strengthen our healthcare infrastructure, e-prescription is one such example..” Gopalika added. He further spoke about the online grievance portal and how government departments are working to ensure prompt resolutions to people of the state. 

Next, it was the turn for a bureaucrat who has been a well known orator on Cyber Security and Governance, and played a significant role in various initiatives of the Department of IT in West Bengal Sanjay Kumar Das. Das is working as the Joint Secretary & State Information Security Officer in the West Bengal government. Das focussed his speech on the significance of privacy of data and the need to be careful while sharing our identity. Das explained, “Rights, assets, and responsibility are the key elements of democracy in data governance.”

The first day of the conference hosted some of the great presentations and addresses by private organisations namely Oracle India, Infoblox Incorporation, and ESDS Software Solutions Limited. 

Debapriya Nandan , Sr Director & Head Public Sector Business Development from Oracle India spoke about tectonic shift taking place across the world today. He explained to the delegates how the fintech sector is going to witness a huge change in the coming days and informed that investment in the fintech industry has risen 200 percent over the years. Nandan also discussed CO2 emission and the need for adopting better technologies across the sectors and industries. “Because of IT developments, CO2 emissions have reduced significantly. Also, IT has been the backbone in strengthening our cities development and governance,” Nandan highlighted. “AI, ML, cloud and other advanced technologies have made our cities more connected, citizen-centric, resilient and smart,” he added. Oracle offers a comprehensive and fully integrated stack of cloud applications and cloud platform services. Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) unit in India has been reported to have clocked over 100 percent growth for the third year in succession.

After, Nandan, Vivek Kharpude, AVP – Presales, ESDS Software Solutions Ltd also spoke about major benefits of cloud which – as he mentioned – strengthen e-Governance, streamline operations, enhance storage, optimise data management and improve citizen delivery.  “ESDS is a one-stop shop that offers a complete digitisation solution. From providing cloud solutions to cybersecurity solutions and other associated services to help an organisation or a Government to shift to digital,” Kharpude added. He also informed that apart from Government Community Cloud, the organisation has also set up various community clouds for different industries. 

Cyber security was one of the major themes of the Technology Sabha. After Joint Secretary, IT from West Bengal, Pankaj Chawla, Head of Solutions Architects, SAARC at Infoblox Corporation also highlighted the need to improve the security postures within organisations. He specifically spoke about DNS and said, “95 percent of the cyber attacks use DNS and there are very limited tools available that protect DNS. If the DNS of any organisation goes down, all the application services will go down.” He emphasised on the fact that organisations need to focus on security by design to ensure safety from cyber attacks. 

Before Chawla, Dr Sandeep Goyal, Additional Project Director, M.P. State Electronics Development Corporation, Department of Science & Technology, Government of Madhya Pradesh also took the stage and apprised the audience of the use of AI, ML to improve the agricultural produce and streamline the entire supply chain of the farm products within the state of Madhya Pradesh. He also spoke about the Jan Seva portal wherein they offer most of the citizen services online. 

A panel discussion on Building Digital-Ready Citizen Services was also hosted on day one. It was moderated by Srikanth RP, Editor, Express Computer and CRN, The Indian Express Group. 

Rama Devi Lanka, Director, Emerging Technologies & Officer on Special Duty (ITE & C Department, Telangana), Yogesh Khakre, Company Secretary & COO, B – NeST Incubation Centre, Bhopal Smart City Development Corporation, Government of Madhya Pradesh, Dr. Abhishek Roy, Head- SeMT, Department of Personnel & Administrative Reforms & e-Gov, Government of West Bengal and Arup Banerjee, State Head & AVP, CSC Scheme, Ministry of Electronics & IT at CSC SPV, Ministry of Electronics & IT were the participants. 

All the panellists spoke about various challenges and scope in ensuring smooth citizen services. “We’re implementing smart tech like an AI-based collision detector that raises alerts to drivers when a collision is about to happen,” said Lanka. She stressed upon the need to leverage the technology to take citizen services to the next level. Khakre also highlighted that all the digital products and platforms have one thing in common – to improvise user experience with the help of technology. According to Khakre, key characteristics of a digital platform are transparency, efficiency, coupled with personalised tailor-made solutions as per the need and expectations of the citizens. 

Further Roy explained why technology inventions are currently so much talked about. Roy said, “Today, we are leveraging technology to safeguard our roads using smart cameras with e-pos. So today, if someone crosses a signal, by the time he reaches the next signal he’ll get an SMS with a challan.” “Today, what we need is interoperability of services to accelerate e-Governance in the country,” responded Bannerjee. 

In the evening, a special message by Jayesh Ranjan, IAS, Principal Secretary, Department of Information Technology, Government of Telangana, was also delivered virtually.  Ranjan delivered a significant address on how the state is leveraging data centres to streamline eGovernance within the state. He highlighted the fact that one of the important responsibilities is to provide the required IT infrastructure across the state to ensure proper implementation of e-services. “In Telangana we have a programme to provide internet access across the state. This is similar to the Central Government’s BharatNet… ‌ When we’re going more digital the need for data storage, management and cybersecurity becomes most important,” Ranjan said. “ ‌Telangana was the first state to set up a dedicated policy for data centres,” he added. 

Express Computer also acknowledged the remarkable achievements of various organisations and government officers and gave Technology Sabha Awards in the evening. 

Here is the list of the Award Winners:

  1. Excise Department Government of Sikkim under the Enterprise Applications Category,
  2. Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms & eGov, West Bengal  under the  Enterprise Applications Category,
  3. Government of West Bengal  Sammanay Portal  under the Enterprise Applications Category,
  4. West Bengal Mineral Development and Trading Corporation under the  Enterprise Mobility Category, 
  5. Finance Department, Government of West Bengal  under the  Artificial intelligence Category, 
  6. NIC, West Bengal State Centre under the Blockchain Category, 
  7. ITE&C Department, Government of Telangana under the Blockchain Category,
  8. Central Board of Secondary Education under the Blockchain Category, and 
  9. Government of West Bengal under the Big Data and Analytics  Category

Here are the glimpses from the Award Ceremony at Technology Sabha – 2022.

Excise Department Government of Sikkim under the Enterprise Applications Category,
Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms & eGov, West Bengal  under the  Enterprise Applications Category
Government of West Bengal for  Sammanay Portal  under the Enterprise Applications Category
West Bengal Mineral Development and Trading Corporation under the  Enterprise Mobility Category,
Finance Department, Government of West Bengal  under the  Artificial intelligence Category,
NIC, West Bengal State Centre under the Blockchain Category,
ITE&C Department, Government of Telangana under the Blockchain Category
Central Board of Secondary Education under the Blockchain Category,
Government of West Bengal under the Big Data and Analytics  Category

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