The last few years have seen a massive explosion in information technology the world over. The confluence of electronics and telecommunications has opened new vistas of transmission, storage, and retrieval of information as never before. These are being increasingly used for decision-making, not only in the corporate world, but even in public administration. The increasing population and its massive burden on civic amenities and the socio-economic infrastructure is unimaginable. With this transformation, e-Governance becomes not only a necessity but an integral part of every nation. e-Governance initiatives in India have traditionally being confronted by the dual challenges of automating government departments and taking online services to the common man.
e-Governance has moved beyond government departments. It is about transforming the way governments work to reinvent people's participation in the democratic process. e-Governance provides a platform to integrate solutions and services between Government-to-Citizens (G2C), Government-to-Business (G2B) and Government-to-Government (G2G), empowering both the government and the citizen like never before.
According to a recent report by McKinsey, an average Indian mobile data user currently consumes more than 8 GB of data per month, which exceeds the average in more digitally advanced countries such as China and South Korea. It is expected that India will witness an increase in the number of internet users to 800 million by 2023, driven by the increasing availability and decreasing cost of high-speed connectivity and smartphones. The Government's Digital India initiative is bringing broadband internet access to 250,000-gram panchayats or self-governing village councils to make it easier for millions to connect online. With a strong foundation of digital infrastructure and expanded digital access through Digital India Programme of the Government, India is now poised for the next phase of growth creation of tremendous economic value and empowerment for citizens as new digital applications permeate sector after sector. India can create up to $1 trillion of economic value from the digital economy in 2025, up from around $200 billion currently. Improving the trust between governments and citizens is fundamental to good governance and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is progressively becoming an essential tool for promoting accountability, convenience and transparent governance. State governments around the country are pushing hard to deploy information and technology in their operations. From utilising ICT for elections, census, computerising all the government offices, to digital lockers e-Transportation, e-Health, e-Education and e-Taxation, new India has paved its way in the realm of e-Governance.
The government is working with stakeholders to build India on this digital dynamism to deepen, widen, and scale up its digital economy in the coming years, creating huge economic value and empowering millions of people across all walks of life. Numerous schemes introduced by the government like Jan Dhan Yojana to provide financial inclusion to unbanked people has enabled banking, pension (PMSBY and PMJJBY) and insurance (Atal Pension Yojana) services to common citizens, thereby digitally empowering the citizens. An impressive number of more than 1.21 billion Indians have already enrolled for the government's biometric digital identity programme (according to Unique Identification Authority of India). Aadhaar is one of the examples of digital amplification that brings massive number of users onto a common digital platform. Data generated through Aadhaar-based identification is also helping the government maintain health records under its ambitious healthcare programme, Ayushman Bharat-National Health Protection Scheme, to make it accessible to all citizens.
Driven by technology, e-Governance is transforming citizen services by providing access to information, integrating various systems and services between government and citizens, thereby empowering and enhancing citizen's social, environmental and economic values.
The government has been spearheading radical digitalisation to induce economic inclusiveness and social transformation through initiatives like 'Digital India', 'Make in India' and 'Skill India'. India as a result, is gearing up for an era of increased digitalisation, heralding the advent of Industry 4.0, powered by new age technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotics. Policymakers have been formulating innovative ways to usher in progress on paper. With private players collaborating with the government in fostering a digitally empowered India, the country shall likely see efficient and safer modes of functioning at different levels. Apart from these already digitised sectors and activities, India stands to create more value if it succeeds in nurturing new and emerging digital ecosystems in sectors such as agriculture, education, energy, financial services and healthcare.
Globally and in India, Hitachi, through its Social Innovation Business, has been engaged in transforming governance, businesses and societies with its strength in Operational Technology (OT) and Information Technology (IT). It has its ethos embedded in its businesses that are aimed at touching the lives of millions. Hitachi has partnered with the Government of India in its initiatives like 'Digital India' and 'Make in India', leveraging its superior technology innovations and global expertise to address India's unique challenges. Large scale government initiatives, both at the central and state level, in sectors like electrification, agriculture, and healthcare are the areas where Hitachi's multiple businesses have brought in specialised expertise.
Over the years, numerous initiatives have been undertaken by various State Governments and Central Ministries to promote e-Governance in a holistic manner and improve the dissemination of public services to the citizens. This encapsulates an evolving countrywide infrastructure reaching down to the remotest of villages, and large-scale digitisation of records to enable easy, reliable access over the internet.
Supporting the government in this direction, a colossal testimony to this burgeoning collaboration is adduced through Hitachi Consulting Software Services Pvt. Ltd., a Hitachi Group Company, partnering with the Andhra Pradesh Government to set up the Real Time Governance Center at Amravati, which is a stellar example of an enhanced Public Service Delivery utilizing OT (Operational Technology) X IT.
The system centralises management of items such as real time security and traffic camera footage, ambulances' GPS information, temperature, humidity, water levels, smart infrastructure and agriculture sensors, and air pollution data in each locality around the state, and then visualises the data for use in risk analysis. For example, when a cyclone hits, the water levels of river can be assessed and immediate instructions to evacuate can be issued to those at risk using the predictive function. In addition, as history builds up, it offers feedback for the next time when the analysis is conducted. Disaster response accuracy, which conventionally relied solely upon human experience, has improved dramatically.
The system can also be used to increase agricultural productivity by installing and centrally managing water level sensors in irrigation canals to grasp drought or flood damage and to prevent damage to crops. In addition, soil, weather, and irrigation conditions can be applied to the algorithm, making it possible to determine the optimum crop for each plot of land and increase the harvest.
With the help of Real Time Governance, the Andhra Pradesh Government can now swiftly resolve citizen grievances and monitor infrastructure projects, incidents, weather and climatic events across the state in real time, leveraging technology services. Big data sets, gathered from various sources with the assistance of Hitachi, are leading to insightful decisions that vibrantly transform citizen services.
Hitachi is enabling a seamless digital transformation for its customers through e-Governance initiatives and collaborating with multiple stakeholders including the government. To strengthen the foundations of e-Governance, Hitachi has undertaken projects including digitalisation of land records; the single-window handling of grievances and maintenance of essential services; easing tax payments and government dues; along with internet-based citizen delivery of services.
The impressive outcomes of e-Governance are not -limited to public service delivery systems. Identifying education as an element for a country's sustainable growth, the government has sought to bring vital changes in the sector through e-Governance. Hitachi, through Hitachi MGRM Net, is helping children with its Information Communication and Technology solutions (ICT), ensuring that every child enters the most crucial part of their exploration with tenacity. Hitachi MGRM Net, widely recognised for its advanced OT (Operational Technology) X IT solutions, envisioned with the entire Human Life Cycle at its core, is co-creating e-Governance solutions to digitally transform institutions to optimise student's learning curve and help the nation achieve its Sustainable Development Goal for education, thereby helping the institution, teachers and parents to cohesively work towards a child's growth.
With both private and public-sector action promoting digital usage, financial technology innovation has grown rapidly. India's universal banks have also driven significant digital innovation across the spectrum of financial services, and their regulator, the Reserve Bank of India, outlining possible steps for the adoption of blockchain technologies in the financial sector. Hitachi Systems Micro Clinic Pvt. Ltd. is helping financial institutions with deep rural presence to safeguard banks and their customers against growing cyber threats and breaches. To monitor threats and security incidents vigorously, the company has integrated Identity Access Management (IDAM) and SIEM (Security Incident and Event Management Solution) into the system. As a result, it is contributing towards protecting critical banking information in the growing digital network scenario, assuring access to safe and reliable digital banking facilities to millions of citizens in remote locations across India, and providing a robust channel for real-time banking transactions.
What's noteworthy is that Hitachi's multi-disciplinary and collaborative approach has been in perfect sync with the government's own initiatives to stay open to multiple possibilities and a macro-perspective. The outcome is a new level of e-Governance, focused towards increasing economic growth and improving the lives of the citizens.