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eGovernance and ICT: A crucial tool for PSEs digital transformation

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eGovernance and ICT will become an important aspects through which PSEs can have an access to even the remotest localities, in order to speed up their operations and achieve digital transformation, “ says Dr U.D. Choubey, DG, SCOPE. In conversation with Ankush Kumar, he shares his four and a half decade experience in the public sector. He also gave key insights on digitization, cyber security and also on the restructuring plan for PSEs by the Government.

By Ankush Kumar

Dr Chaubey has over 45 years of experience in serving Public Sector and has been associated with the SCOPE from over seven years, which he terms as the best period of his four and a half decade career. “The period in SCOPE has added more value because SCOPE is an apex body of all Public Sector Enterprises and I was required to deal with more than 250 PSEs which are contributing significantly towards GDP of the nation with best practices in Corporate Governance. Their contribution in CSR is next to none.”

SCOPE has broadly played the role of policy advocacy for the growth of PSEs enhancing professionalism, developing a culture, interaction with OECD, ILO & other International Organizations which are related to various aspects of State Owned Enterprises (PSU).”

Expansion plans and new initiatives

In order to create a competitive and credible workforce in the Public Sector, SCOPE has envisioned the establishment of integrated capacity building for all PSEs under one roof and has accordingly set up a Public Sector Academy.

Initially, the Academy has been started for Induction Level Employees. Gradually, senior and middle level employees will also be imparted training and in due course management certificates would also be awarded. “We are also planning to set up our own infrastructure for the Academy in due course of time for which the availability of land will be explored in and around Delhi.”

To build a brand image of sector, we have devised an exclusive programme for media spokesperson in the public sector. The significance of digital communication cannot be negated and SCOPE has planned to conduct Image Building Programmes at PAN India Level to help PSEs to build a strategy and improve their digital structure. We are also exploring the possibility of handling brand communication via social media for public sector enterprises,” elucidates Dr Chaubey.

Recommendations for PSEs

Sharing his views on the key recommendations on the PSUs restructuring of the Government, he says, “ the post recession period witnessed a major change in world-wide trend in corporate governance. The trend has been to relinquish ownership rights and control by administrative ministry and creation of the supreme sovereign department and creation of sovereign wealth fund for PSEs for investing in equity in domestic as well as international market. In line with the global trend, there is also need to bring reforms in the public sector viz, ownership policy, succession planning; capacity building and community relations.”

He further informs that, “the government is keen to run PSEs as competitive business entities by way of improving the productivity, efficiency and professionalism. It is strongly recommended that Public Sector should be given more autonomy for mergers and acquisitions as trend in the outside world has started for acquiring private entities by PSEs. Therefore, PSEs should also be encouraged to acquire domestic and foreign assets in the private sector for adding value to all stakeholders.”

Roadmap for Digitization and eGovernance

Sharing his views on the adoption of digital technologies and emerging role of information technology Dr Chaubey says that PSEs have adopted strategic and innovative approaches towards digitization. Adoption of IT technology, e-auction, e-recruitment portal, complaint resolution mechanism are some of the nodal features of PSEs towards digitization. These efforts are helping in bringing more transparency and effective governance in PSEs. “They are also looking in the direction to provide an effective user interface through mobile applications and many are already doing it. Only innovative marketing could get extra miles for PSEs.”

He further informs that, “with the advent of digital media in the near future we are going to see a completely digitized nation. eGovernance and ICT therefore, will become an important aspects through which PSUs can have access even to the remote localities, in order to speed up their operations. In fact, many PSUs have already adopted and some are in the process of adopting it. Transparency is another aspect which comes hand in hand with it. Whether it is procurement or tenders, we have seen that PSEs are actively doing it.”

Strengthening the cyber security framework

Protecting cyber security frontier is of paramount importance to PSUs, says Dr Chaubey. “In an organization hundreds of devices are in use with as many operating systems, database logs and the number of data logs goes in millions on daily basis. So, one could understand the importance of critically analysing the data in real time. Shock helps in detecting any unusual activities in the logs but identification is critical. Currently, PSUs have adopted a hybrid model of shock where respective PSU keeps the controls of how to respond to cyber attacks. Many PSUs also have a crisis management plan and cyber security audit takes place every year to keep the checks and balances. PSUs are also of the opinion that rooting for revised National Cyber Security Policy for efficiently combating cyber crimes should come up now for cyber security, risk control and risk adherence.”

Dr Chaubey has also penned down his life experiences in the form of a book co-authored by his daughter Smriti Rajvardhini. The first copy of the book titled “The Last Inning and Beyond” was presented to Hon’ble President of India. The book is available for sale.

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