With an aim to promote the use of technology in government and accelerate state's overall growth, the American networking technology giant Juniper Networks in partnership with India's fastest-growing technology news portal TECHOBSERVER.in organized “Digital Senate Series” in Lucknow.
The conference which began with the keynote address of Uttar Pradesh Revenue Board Chairman Pravir Kumar witnessed the participation of more than 80 delegates including senior bureaucrats, IT leaders and technology heads of various government departments and corporations.
During the two-hour power-packed presentations and panel discussion, the speakers and delegates explored on how emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), internet of things (IoT) and cloud computing could be used for making public service delivery and government functioning more agile and user's friendly in Uttar Pradesh.
Automate if you can
During his inaugural address, Pravir Kumar emphasised the importance of technology intervention in Uttar Pradesh and how emerging technologies could be critical for the state GDP and the nation's growth. Kumar was of the view that since agriculture dominates the people's lives in the state, there must be a robust technology system to manage land records and revenue courts cases.
Sharing the Uttar Pradesh experience, Kumar said that in the past, the land records were maintained manually leading to manipulations, corruption and land scams as large number of cases of data manipulation at the level of junior tehsildar were reported.
He informed that to overcome the challenge of mismanagement in the land records, the state government came up with an integrated platform called ‘Bhulekh'. Under this project, land records have been digitised and a web portal has been created where all the land ownership related information such as ‘Khatauni' or ‘RoRs' (Records of Rights) are being provided online.
“Now, anybody can obtain a digitally signed copy of RoR from tehsil. These services are also being made available through Common Service Centre (CSC) on payment of a nominal fee. This has not only eliminated manipulation, cheating and improved transparency, also the number of cases in revenue courts are going down,” said Kumar.
On future roadmap of revenue board, he said that state government is aiming to make the entire process of land record management, a real-time affair including the mapping and data updation.
Invest wisely in technology
The inaugural address was followed by an expert presentation from Juniper Networks on the topic of ‘Technology for growth'. In his address, Sriram TV, Director- Consulting & Business Development, Juniper Networks said that technology has become pervasive and it has started impacting life – bet it personal or professional – and the government is no exception.
With the help of a chart, he emphasised that IoT has the economic potential of about $3.9 to $11.1 trillion per year by 2025 and in this field, India is second to none as many technologies that will lead this growth is already available in the country.
Giving an example of UP Bhulekh project which received more than 5 crore hits per day. He said that handling such massive traffic is no joke. “It requires a robust and agile IT infrastructure to run such an application in real-time,” said Sriram.
“Be it the potential in IoT space or running massive projects like Bhulekh – it requires a solid networking infrastructure under the hood and it is a place where Juniper Networks is second to none. The three key roles of the network including connectivity, edge computing and security have become critical like never before,” he said.
Sriram said that the connectivity is the foundation of any IT project and edge computing can pep-up the user's experience. On security, he was of the view that it cannot be an afterthought, it must be embedded at the inception level itself as government deals with critical private data of citizens.
He also stressed that the full potential of any IT project could be achieved with proper volume, variety and velocity of the data and services. “For this to happen, the organisation must design smart networks that can automate networking, automate security and scale automatically,” he said.
Giving advice to government officials, he said that while making IT investment they must ask and look for solutions that allow automation, unify different centres, should be based on open source, and must have adaptive security capability.
Tech for accelerating Uttar Pradesh growth
The conference also witnessed a powerful panel discussion on the topic of “Technology for accelerating Uttar Pradesh's growth” in which senior government officials and experts including Pravir Kumar, Chairman, Board of Revenue, Government of Uttar Pradesh; Mukesh Meshram, Secretary, Medical Education, Government of Uttar Pradesh; Ashutosh Pandey, ADG, Technical Services, UP Police; Dr. Rajesh Harshvardhan, Director – Hospital Administration & Medical Superintendent, Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences (SGPGI); and Sriram TV, Director- Consulting & Business Development, Juniper Networks participated.
During an hour-long discussion, the panellist shared the technology projects they are running in their respective departments, the challenges they are facing and their future IT plans.
Participating in the discussion, Pravir Kumar said that in Bhulekh project, they have digitised land data and record and it is being provided to citizen online, leading to a substantial reduction in land dispute cases. He informed that going forward, the Board of Revenue aims to make the data and map updation in real-time. “In the next phase of this project, all the ‘khasra' will be digitized. This will allow the government to offer precise projection about agriculture produce,” said Kumar.
Sharing his views during the panel discussion, Mukesh Meshram said that the whole population is facing the challenge of non-communicable disease. He suggested that now both government and private organisations need to shift their focus to tertiary and quaternary healthcare.
On technology adoption in Uttar Pradesh medical institutes, he said most of the big projects are first implemented at the state's premier Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences (SGPGI) and then it gets replicated to other hospitals and medical colleges. He informed that Uttar Pradesh has already started e-Hospital services at the 6 old medical colleges in the state. According to him, this project will allow medical colleges to generate data related to the patients which could be appropriately mined for research purposes and for improving the healthcare services in the state.
He also informed that state government is now shifting its focus to unserved areas where there are no medical colleges. To do so, he said that state government is planning to construct medical colleges in every district across the state.
Meshram said that 5 new medical colleges have already started the enrolment process and 8 more are in pipeline. “The yet to be launched medical colleges are at a different stage of their establishment but within two years, work will be completed,” he said. The medical education secretary stressed that in future, 10 more medical colleges will be established in different districts.
“While we are creating new medical colleges but the biggest challenge we are facing is the shortage of quality faculty. So, I am looking for technology solutions that can enable me to offer a quality and credible e-learning at our medical colleges,” said Meshram.
Participating in the panel discussion, UP Police ADG Technical Services Ashutosh Pandey said that ‘UP 100' project has turned out to be a game-changer project for UP Police as it has substantially reduced the time taken to reach the citizen who needs police support. “This has not only improved police service delivery but also people trust in police has gone up,” he said.
ADG Technical Services, also informed that UP Police has launched a feature-packed UP COP mobile application to offer various police-related services to people online. Currently, this app provides 27 different services and in the last six months, as many as 3.4 lakh people have availed different services through this application. “Now, you do not need to go to the police station. With the help of technology police will come to you,” said Pandey.
Sharing his experience as a medical administrator, Dr Rajesh Harshvardhan said that many a time-poor person travels from far-flung to visit premier medical institutes like AIIMS and SGPGI but once they reached there, they found that there is no bed available. He enquires, can't the government create a platform where anybody can see the status of availability of bed or medicine at the level of the state capital to district hospitals. He said that such a platform will help people in a long way.
He also emphasised that there is need to create uniform and integratable health record management system so that the challenge of health record reconciliation for poor people who are not managing their records could be addressed.
He informed that at SGPGI, from registration to discharge to follow up, the help of technology is being taken. “Even in clinical, we are using technology to customized patient medicine. It has helped us in individual physiology to make medicine customized,” he said.
Replying to views and queries raised by senior government officials, Sriram TV said that like the shortage of quality medical faculty, there is a shortage of skilled resources even in technology space. “But this could be addressed with the help of emerging technologies like AI, AR and VR. These three technologies have done a revolution in the medical field. It can be used in medicine, clinical and even in medical teaching,” said Sriram, adding that if there is a great professor, he can sit in his room and deliver his lecture to all medical colleges.
On the question of creating an integrated platform for providing visibility around the availability of a bed in hospitals, he said this is easily doable as IRCTC has done it for railway ticket booking. “What we need is to learn from other industry and bridge the gap between IT silos that we have created. The government will also have to put in place an ecosystem where silos are digitized and integrated. There is no dearth of technology and use cases,” said Sriram.
Summing up the discussion, Pravir Kumar said, “If the country has to move forward and if we have to visualize the vision of our Hon'ble Prime Minister of Digital India, then all departments and organisations have to make best possible use of the technology that is available.