(GIST OF YOJANA) Digital Infrastructure: Core of Governance [JULY-2019]
(GIST OF YOJANA) Digital Infrastructure: Core of Governance
Digital Infrastructure: Core of Governance
Government of India has been at the forefront of using technology in different aspects of governance, be it satellite based communication in 1980s or use of electronic messaging much before the advent of internet in the country or even the use of video conference for monitoring the implementation of Government programmes and schemes across the country.
National Informatics Centre, an attached office of Ministry of Electronics and IT, has been closely working with Government in provisioning state-of-the-art infrastructure in the form of nationwide network (NICNET), Data Centres, and Video Conferencing facilities to name a few. Digital Infrastructure for Government was further strengthened through a number of initiatives taken under the National e- Governance Plan.
Digital India, one of the flagship programmes of the Government, has given significant push to adoption of technology and has brought a paradigm shift in the delivery of services to citizens and also the way Government engages with citizens. Evolution of key components of digital infrastructure for Government is highlighted below.
Pan India Network
- NICNET, the Pan India communication network for exclusive use of Government has continuously evolved since 1980s in terms of its geographical expansion, state of the art technology, reliability as well as security architecture. Today it connects Government offices across the length and breadth of India using a combination of technologies viz. fiber optic, copper cable, VSAT, Radio Frequency based on availability and suitability of technology to terrain of the land. Today, NICNET is at the base of all Government communications right from Government to Government, Government to citizen as well as Government to business communication.
National Knowledge Network
- National Knowledge Network (NKN) is another important initiative which provides Multi gigabit nationwide network connected through 10G backbone. It also extends high speed connectivity to leading Research and Academic Institutions of the country.
- NKN is steadily evolving as the National Education Research Network (NREN) of India and has made significant progress by connecting over 1699 institutes, 5 crore students, researchers and faculty in the network.
- A Host to e-Governance Applications Data Centres are the ideal solutions for offering a robust, highly available infrastructure with adequate redundancy to enable the Government to effectively render a variety of services to the citizens. Realizing the importance of Data Centres, National Informatics Centre (NIC) has established large Data Centres at Delhi, Hyderabad, Bhubaneswar and Pune, which are offering robust, resilient and secure set-up for e- Governance applications, web portals and websites with high availability and accessibility. Mini-Data Centres arc also operational in all NIC State centers to cater to the e-Governance requirements at the state level.
Command and Control Centre
- Over a period of time, with the read of Digital India Initiatives applications have scaled manifold and there was a need to setup a specialized centre to provide nationwide view for ICT infrastructure for effective monitoring and management and so to ensure availability of all critical services.
- Command and control Centre have been set up NIC Headquarters which has creased the agility of NIC’s ICT infrastructure.
National Cloud (MeghRaj)
- In order to utilize and harness the benefits of Cloud Computing. Government of India initiated a Government Cloud initiative titled.
- “MeghRaj" in 2014. Earlier provisioning of a digital infrastructure was an extremely time consuming process for every individual project.
- However setting-up of a secured cloud infrastructure has reduced considerable amount of time in provisioning of digital infrastructure. On-demand services and scale-up of infrastructure during peak loads has also been made possible by cloud infrastructure. The Government’s cloud-based service delivery platform has also helped in meeting a number of other objectives, including optimum utilization of existing infrastructure, rapid deployment and reusability, manageability and maintainability, scalability, efficient service delivery and agility, security, cost reduction, ease of first time IT deployment and standardization.
- Various Government initiatives and schemes, such as Swachh Bharat Mission, My-Gov, e-Hospital, National Scholarship, e-Transport etc. have been successfully launched due to a robust and agile cloud infrastructure.
- Geographical Information Systems (GIS) have improved the accessibility of various e-Govemance services by offering location based access, visual gap analysis and actual on-site representation of various activities. Initiative such as Digital India Programme has made extensive use of geo-spatial technology for effective service delivery.
- Bharat Maps is a multi-layered GIS platform / web service comprising of seamless country wide base maps, satellite images and hybrid maps aligned as per the global geo spatial standards. It is an essential component of Digital India Programme to support central/state government departments for delivering location driven citizen services. One such successful implementation of geographic information system has been in the rural development scheme MGNREGA. GIS is helping MGNREGA workers to get information about availability of work in the near locations, work site location information, real time transparent attendance and payment information. At the same time, it is benefitting the citizens by enabling geo portal for MGNREGA assets, which will enhance the concurrent social audit by citizens and facilitate feedback information on current status of work, quality validation, etc.
- Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) Public Finance Management System (PFMS) electronically interfaces with all banks and gives a holistic view of the overall flow of funds in the Government, thereby eliminating delay and increasing transparency.
- Earlier, there was an inherent delay in the transfer of funds due to multiple layers of governance. With the advent of technology and Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) coming up a paradigm shift has been experienced m the way benefits are transferred to the citizens. DBT has enabled aadhaar and non-aadhaar based payments. Introduction of advancements in online been of extreme payments importance technology intends has but also managing transparency at all possible levels of transactions.
- Under the Swachh Bharat Mission, beneficiaries had to declare the progress of the amenity construction. All it took for the beneficiary' was to upload the pictures of the construction in phases and post validation and approval of the picture updation and geographical location, money was directly credited to beneficiary’s account.
- X400 email services were launched for Government of India officials in late 1980s for providing an open source based secure and unified messaging platform to Government officials at all levels. The email services have evolved over a period of time in terms of scalability, security, responsiveness and feature sets. As part of the mandate under the Digital India Programme, the Government provided a secure email service to all for official communication. The email services today offer security features such as Geo- fencing, device mapping and adaptive authentication. As on date, more than 25 lakhs User IDs and 2000 applications use the email services. Further, to improve citizen engagement, SMS Service was launched ensuring real time updates to users. Approximately 15 lakhs SMS are sent to the users per day and around 2200 applications are integrated with SMS services.
- NIC has been offering Video Conferencing services since 1995 for connecting and bringing administration close to each other. As on today, over +1852 Video Conferencing sites have been established, thus becoming an integral component of Government functioning and processes. Video Conferencing is now extensively used at all levels of governance i.e. Centre to State, State to District and Sub-districts, and government to public providing state- of-the-art, high definition, multi-party, anytime, anywhere video conferencing services. This has resulted in substantial saving of time and cost.
- Cyber Security is one of the key concerns of any digital infrastructure today and it becomes all the more pertinent when it comes to Government infrastructure. Therefore a dedicated team has been instituted to enhance security posture of the government. Cyber Security has evolved from just being about to network security to application security also, Centres of Excellence for application security have been established across India to protect the Government applications from cyber threats.
- To address ever increasing threat of cyber-attacks in terms of their magnitude as well as their sophistication.Computer Emergency Response Team (NIC-CERT) group has been constituted with an objective of analyzing, monitoring and responding to cyber threats on critical government cyber infrastructure, like websites, emails and various services. NIC- CERT coordinates with other stakeholders to mitigate the cyber threats by monitoring network for security incidents and issuing advisory for vulnerabilities. NIC-CERT works in close guidance of CERT-ln, which is the national nodal agency for responding to computer security incidents as and when they occur.
- Availability of cloud infrastructure in Government has given rise to launch of number of digital platforms at National level (One Nation One Platform). These platforms have addressed the issues of inter-operability. seamless integration and consolidation by creation of National Registers for vehicles, houses, toilets, ration cards, etc.
- With a stable, reliable and best in-class digital infrastructure, the government of India along with NIC and other key stakeholders have successfully set-up various services such as e-Office, e-Transport.
- e-Hospital to name a few. A well established IT infrastructure has ensured end-to-end provisioning of various services right from planning to a seamless execution. One such success story is of e-Transport, where NIC was associated for the design, development, roll out and maintenance of the project across all the states and UTs.
- The initiative saw an extensive array of G2G, G2B and G2C services benefitting citizens, transporters, vehicle dealers. manufacturers, police and security agencies, banks, insurance companies, Intelligence. IOT, 5G. Edge computing, etc. have been identified. various Government Departments at the
- NIC is in a unique position to cater to the State and Central level. Today, for some ICT needs at all levels of governance, i.e. services such as tax payment, getting central, state, districts and sub-districts as specific certificates, etc. no RTO visit is required.
- New' citizen focused initiatives like mobile- well as at executive, judiciary and legislative layer of the Government. All these citizen services provided by various based traffic enforcement solution through e-challan. Mobile extension for services in government organizations are leveraging a common underlined digital infrastructure. the form of Parivahan app. with 4 million downloads and Comprehensive Analytics Portal are innovations emerging from such platforms.
- e-Way Bill system has been a key lever in the success of Goods and Services Tax (GST) implementation. Within a year, the number of e-Way bills generated were more than 5577 lakhs and almost around 172 lakhs are verified. This brings the consigner, consignee and the tax payer on a single platform.
- For rural development, the government has harnessed technology for implementing various ICT applications in over 10 programs including Pradhan Maotri Aawaas Yojana - Gramin (PMAY-G). Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment GuaranteeAct(MGNREGA), National Social Assistance Program (NSAP), Deen Dayal Upadhyay Grameen Kaushalya Yojana (DDUGKY), Deendayal Antyodaya YojanaNational Rural Livelihood Mission (DAY-NRLM). a project to profile all GPS and villages on various social, economic and infra parameters (Mission Antyodaya), etc.
- NIC continuously strives to explore and evaluate new technologies to enhance government digital infrastructure. In-line with the approach of embracing new technologies, areas such as Artificial
- Initiatives have been undertaken to establish Centers of Excellence for Data Analytics, Block Chain, Artificial Intelligence, etc. to ensure that the Government infrastructure is future ready in terms of technology adoption and its applicability in various initiatives.