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Maharashtra becomes first state to introduce Public Cloud Policy

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Maharashtra has introduced a public cloud policy virtually mandating its departments to shift their data storage onto the cloud, creating a US$ 2 billion opportunity for the industry. “Today, we have unveiled our public cloud policy and this policy will allow all government departments to have access to public cloud,” said Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said at the Maharashtra Technology Summit. He said the policy, which is a first by any state,will result in additional private sector investments as government is one of the biggest creators and consumers of data.

“It will create a US$ 2 billion opportunity for the industry. Every single government department uses data storage. Now, they will not have to buy boxes. We have made it sort of mandatory,” a senior government official said. Government departments currently have their own data storage facilities, which can be done better and cheaper by private sector vendors, the official said.

“Our money is very limited, why should we spend on that when the private sector can do a better job? We should create an enabling environment,” said S V R Srinivas, Principal Secretary, State Information Technology Department.

Maharashtra government had formed a four-member committee to draft a policy framework on cloud usage two months ago, which submitted a policy document that’s being now adopted as the public cloud policy, the first official said. The policy is likely to be formally set in motion through a detailed government resolution. In the next 20 days, five to six top cloud service providers like Amazon or Microsoft will be empanelled, the official added.

Under the framework, government will make it mandatory for the data to be stored within the country and the broad idea is to use public cloud in cases wherever the Right to Information Act is applicable, and then go in for enhanced security features for private and sensitive data, which will also be stored on the cloud, Srinivas said.

He said he expects additional investments to come into the Mumbai Metropolitan Region because of the new policy. The region already supports a good number of data centres and advantages like availability of uninterrupted power, presence of academia and talented human resources make it an exciting pocket to be in for the industry, he added.


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