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‘IoT will bring efficiency to the delivery of government services’

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“Government will endeavour to enable the development of appropriate standards or protocols for IoT in consultation with the industry and experts. Wide consultations with all the relevant stakeholders will be held for finalising the standards and protocols in this domain, says R S Sharma, Secretary, Department of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India. In conversation with Anoop Verma.  

Please provide an overview of the work that has been done under the Digital India initiative?
Digital India is an umbrella programme that covers multiple ministries and departments. It weaves together a large number of ideas and thoughts into a single, comprehensive vision so that each of them can be implemented as part of a larger goal. All the initiatives under this programme have a definitive completion time target and will be tracked accordingly. Majority of the initiatives are planned to be realised within next three years. Many components of Digital India are already live and have started providing services.

On Internet of Things, Deity has released a paper which takes cognisance of how billions of interconnected things will have an impact on governance and business. What are the ways by which IoT can have an impact on governance?
We are of the view that IoT will be helpful in bringing efficiency to the delivery of government services. IoT can help automate solutions to problems faced by various sectors like agriculture, health services, energy, security, disaster management, etc. through remotely connected devices. It will be critical in several areas which include telemedicine, women safety, water management, waste management, supply chain and logistics, etc. With IoT there are lot of avenues for industries, viz. telecom operators, software providers, system integrators, OEMs, etc. This will also lead to job creation and overall boost to the economy.

Obviously some kind of standards will be required for enabling the things connected to Internet to communicate with each other, with government departments and with people. Should government come up with regulations for enabling the development of appropriate standards or protocols? Or should the development of the standards be best left to the market?
Government will endeavour to enable the development of appropriate standards or protocols for IoT in consultation with the industry and experts. Wide consultations with all the relevant stakeholders will be held for finalising the standards and protocols in this domain.

What kind of role will Aadhaar play in identification of individuals in the IoT ecosystem?
Aadhaar is a concrete example of a large-scale, real-world deployment of a system that provides authentication of human users. The Aadhaar identity platform is the largest biometric database in the world and serves users ranging from LPG consumers, MNREGA workers, PDS, remittance and scholarship beneficiaries, etc.,  all of which use their Aadhaar number to avail various benefits. With the advent of smart sensors, identification or verification of a person through Aadhaar authentication would be easier and faster.

What is your view on the kind of standards that should be there for effective management of IoT ecosystem?
In order to promote standards around IoT technologies, processes, interoperability and services developed across the country, various standards will be considered. These include – IoT standardisation; spectrum energy communication protocols standards; standards for communication within and outside the cloud; international quality/integrity standards for data creation, data, traceability; standards for energy consumption; safety standards (for example, if devices/sensors are used on humans); privacy and security standards.

What cues are you getting from the observation of the market?
Based on the observations, various technology areas will be considered while developing standards. These include factors like: Identification Technology?evelopment of open framework for IoT; Architecture Technology- IoT architecture, platform interoperability; Communication Technology?ltra low power chipsets, on chip antennas, ultra low power single chip radios, ultra low power system on chip, etc; Network Technology self-aware and self-organising networks, storage and power networks, hybrid networking technologies; Software and Algorithms?ext generation IoT based social software, enterprise applications; Hardware?ulti protocol/standard readers, sensors, actuators etc.; Data & Signal processing technology; Power and Energy storage technologies – Energy harvesting and conversion, long range wireless power; Security and Privacy technologies; Material Technology Silicon, semiconductor manufacturing, etc.

With so many things connected to the Internet, there could be privacy related concerns. What can be done to ensure that the IoT ecosystem functions with efficiency and the privacy is also safeguarded?
Privacy must be ensured to prevent unauthorised access. Internet of Things needs to be built to ensure safe and easy user control. Consumer needs confidence to embrace IoT to enjoy potential benefits. In order to prevent unauthorised use of private information, security, trust and privacy management is needed in a dynamic environment.

The following areas need special emphasis:
Authentication and data integrity in intelligent network devices
Privacy in heterogeneous sets of devices
Technology for decentralised authentication and trust
Technologies for encryption and data protection
Security and trust for cloud computing
Legal and liability issues
Privacy policy management across different smart devices
Wireless security at physical layer

Where will you store the massive amount of data that will be generated as a result of IoT? How can we differentiate on what ?ata will service the citizens and what will remain confidential?
Open Government Data (OGD) Platform ( is a platform for supporting Open Data initiative of Government of India. The portal is intended to be used by the Ministries/ Departments to publish datasets, documents, services, tools and applications collected by them for public use. It intends to increase transparency in the functioning of Government and also open avenues for many more innovative uses of Government Data to give different perspective. Confidential data would not be published.

What is your plan for capacity development (human and technology) for IoT specific skill sets?
To promote capacity building, Government of India will support creation of Resource Centers & Test-beds as a common experimental facility to help the community to experiment IoT devices and applications by combining various IoT technologies. Also, A Centre of Excellence for Internet of Things (CoE-IoT) will be set-up to support start-ups, SMEs, students and other innovators in productising their ideas. The CoE-IoT will be set up in major cities for Internet of Things innovation housing hardware design tools, wireless development kits, application sensors, software tools, training on specific technologies, industry interface etc. The industry liaising will be the responsibility of our industry partner NASSCOM, while ERNET will provide academic interfacing.

What steps are being taken to encourage electronics manufacturingin the country?
‘Electronic Manufacturing Target Net Zero Importsis one of the pillars of Digital India programme. The focus is on promoting electronics manufacturing in the country with the target of NET ZERO Imports by 2020 as a striking demonstration of intent. The Government of India has taken several steps to promote manufacturing and investment in this sector, which puts India high on the list of potential places to invest. One of our key initiatives is the National Policy on Electronics (NPE). Significant progress has been made by Government of India to establish a strong foundation for the NPE (2012) framework. This will help in value added manufacturing involving medium and high technologies.

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