March 2009

National News: March 2009

Views: 219

High-Security Number Plates to be Adopted by UP

Uttar Pradesh (UP) government has invited global tenders for implementing the high-security number plate scheme for motor vehicles in the state. This step has come about in the wake of Cabinet's approval for implementing this high-security number
plate scheme for motor vehicles in the state through public-private partnership. It had also arranged a pre-bid conference of manufacturers and vendors on February, 2009 in Lucknow. With the total volume of work estimated to be close to INR 600 crore, the scheme is likely to see most of the 18-odd players, who have been approved by the Centre.

4937 Village Kiosks for West Bengal

Dax Networks has executed an e-Governance project in West Bengal (WB) for Srei Infrastructure Finance Ltd. In this project, Dax has networked 4937 village kiosks in West Bengal through its partner. This project comes under the purview of Srei Sahaj e-Village Ltd, a subsidiary of Srei Infrastructure Finance Ltd. In line with the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP), Srei Sahaj e-Village is setting up over 20,000 Common Service Centres (CSCs) across the country, to bridge the digital divide between rural and urban India. Besides West Bengal, Srei Sahaj e-Village is also planning to set up CSCs in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Assam.

Bartronics to Help Establish 2000 Kiosks in Delhi

Bartronics India Limited, has bagged “Aapke Dwar”, a prestigious project of Delhi Municipal Corporation to set up 2000 Government to Citizen (G2C) kiosks in the municipal limits of the national capital. The project, to be operated on built-operate-transfer model is for a period of nine years. The company estimates that the revenues from the project would be in excess of INR 5000 crores over the nine-year period considering the existing revenue models. This infrastructure is particularly important from the point of view that the city of Delhi will be hosting the Commonwealth Games in 2010.  It is estimated that the project will generate a minimum of 6000 jobs to the local populace.

Jharkhand Plans the Biggest Renewable Power Project

The Jharkhand Renewable Energy Development Agency (JREDA) is launching the biggest biomass-generated power project in the country in 2009-10, which will provide electricity to around five lakh poor households in the state at an affordable price. To start with, around 100 power units dependent on biomass will come up in five to six districts of Jharkhand. Each unit will generate 100 kw, sufficient to lit around 5,000 households in a cluster of villages. Four districts-Pakur, Chatra, Latehar and Gumla- are planned to be covered under the project by JREDA. Each of the units will cost between INR 90 lakh and INR 1 crore.

UAE to Promote ID Cards For Better e-Governance Adoption

United Arab Emirates (UAE) is banking on the successful introduction of its national identity card (ID) programme for its wider social, economic and infrastructure development.

Thus early implementation of the programme is being attempted at to help achieve full e-governance, with all government transactions being carried out electronically. This announcement was made at the two-day Citizen ID Forum organised by the ID World International Congress in Abu Dhabi.

ICT For Rural Folks Introduced in Malaysia

A pilot project known as InfoSTI@MOSTI by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation within hi-fi wireless service, computer training and cyber-net browsing are available for free, is aiming towards changing the mindset of rural people in Malaysia.

The project is to support the national aspiration to build an informed society by encouraging the use of science, technology and innovation (STI) to improve the life of the people especially in rural areas. InfoSTI@MOSTI is different from other services in the fact that apart from providing the above services, it also provides teleconferencing where important policy statements, international conferences, seminars or meetings are also available
for them.

All ICT trainings, including Agribazaar, a website for agriculture, Network and PC, Cyber Safety, e-Government, Microsoft Office, Internet knowledge, Teleworking Centre, Community Projects and Cyber Development Corps are given free and anyone with any age group can register at the centre.

U.S. Government Travel Reservation Site Hacked

A United States (U.S.) Government travel reservations website (GovTrip.com) used by several federal agencies was hacked recently such that it shunted unsuspecting users to a malicious domain. GovTrip.com is still offline after the attack.

GovTrip is used by several U S government agencies, including the Enviromental Protection Agency (EPA) and the departments of Energy, Health and Human Services, the Interior, Transportation, and the Treasury, to make travel reservations, as well as to reimburse workers for travel expenses.

The site is operated by defense contractor Northrop Grumman Corp. from an office in Northern Virginia. In the recent past, for instance, the Federal Aviation Administration acknowledged that hackers had broken into its network and may have stolen medical records of some 45,000 current and former employees.

Rajiv Chaddha
Vice President-Sales
VeriSign, India

“Over the last several years, phishing, and subsequent identity theft, is proving to be one of the biggest threats plaguing the Indian internet space”


What do you feel about the current security scenario in India?

Indian enterprises today are in the process of either establishing or reinforcing their security architecture. The increasing usage of IT, especially for online transactions by banks and other financial institutions has given a boost to the demand for security solutions.

A sizeable population of the corporate world has presence on several of the emergent networking sites and forums; which has created possibilities of critical enterprise data being compromised. Over the last several years, phishing, and subsequent identity theft, is proving to be one of the biggest threats plaguing the Indian Internet space. Enterprises are now seeing the real potential of security solutions and infrastructure and they are moving towards leveraging them to accelerate business productivity.

With the Government of India taking major initiatives to make the country e-Ready by initiating various e-Governance implementations there is an increasing need to create trust by educating the transacting parties about the confidentiality and integrity of their messages. This requires identification and authentication of transacting parties.
 
Digital signature has still to gain popularity in government vertical in India. What are the reasons for it?

The main challenge to digital signatures gaining popularity in the government vertical is the relative lack of education and awareness about digital signatures and its advantages. However, the awareness is increasing rapidly among business users and government officials as the Controller of Certifying Authorities (CCA) is working hard to educate people about the applications and benefits of digital signatures.
Though deployments in the government sector have been less in the last two to three years; many government departments have now begun taking interest in digital signatures as part of their e-Governance initiative.

After NIC has become a nodal agency, the government departments have started trying digital signatures in areas like tenders, data, e-Procurement and many other applications. Digital signatures provide a secure environment by assuring the parties involved in the transaction that their information is confidential and ensuring the identification and authentication of the transacting parties, so  that they cannot repudiate the transaction at a later date.

Currently what is happening in Physical Security devices segment in India?

The proliferation of the Internet and new e-Business practices are posing challenges in managing security, access and delivery across Indian enterprises. Organisations are therefore compelled to protect themselves from both internal and external threats and security attacks. Across the banking & finance (BFSI), telecommunications, pharmaceutical, manufacturing and hi-tech IT manufacturing industries, information needs to be secured and access limited to the authorised parties.  This calls for a combination of online security solutions and physical security devices/ tokens. VeriSign understands the security needs of an Indian enterprise and its key offerings in the physical security market include Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) and One-Time Password (OTP) solutions.

Currently in Government vertical where all are you offering services and what is the USP of those products

VeriSign's digital signatures + authentication solutions provide for easy and secure access of documents. In the Indian Government and public sector domain, some of the areas where VeriSign sees immense potential for Digital signature solutions are data management , still to be  introduced citizen identity cards and  income tax departments initiative  for filing of returns online.

Nilakshi Barooah
nilakshi@egovonline.net

Benhur Mesfin
Director
Wirlese Brodband Asia Pacific Enterprise Mobility Government and Public Safety, Motorola Electronics, India

“The increased threat highlighted by the attacks in New York City, Barcelona, London, Mumbai and Delhi, to name a few, is considered by many as one of the drivers for significant growth in the wide spread deployment of digital video surveillance system around the world”


What do you feel about the current security scenario in India?

Motorola has the expertise to design best-in-class solutions for public safety agencies and has been active in this space for decades.  It is this experience and the expertise which we are offering to this critical India market.

What are the international security trends in video surveillance?

The increased threat highlighted by the attacks in New York City, Barcelona, London, Mumbai and Delhi, to name a few, is considered by many as one of the drivers for significant growth in the wide spread deployment of digital video surveillance system around the world to cover large parts of cities and open spaces as well as the traditional domain of CCTV for indoor (closed space surveillance) and what is emerging as trends in these deployments are:

  • Use of digital cameras using IP (internet protocol) for communication is being networked together like an IT network.  The video surveillance network resembles an IT network, with servers and computing devices; In this case it will be with servers and cameras as the devices for image capture-instead of computing devices.  
  • The growing sophistication of digital cameras that not only capture image but also can provide a limited amount of analytics capability.
  • The wide spread use of video analytics software offer basic video analysis and advanced features, such as intrusion detection, people counting, vehicle recognition, queue management and facial recognition.  These systems can then be integrated to an overall security apparatus, with data bases of people names, vehicle license plate numbers, photo IDs and can be used to trigger various actions (alarms, notifications, warnings, access control, etc.) based on predefined policies and operational procedures.

The other trends we see are the increased use of fixed broadband wireless networks to deploy large scale outdoor video surveillance systems.   

What are the unique products that are offered by your company in the security arena?
Motorola's Government and Public Safety business unit has been providing mission critical communication solutions for public safety and security agencies around the world for over 60 years.  We are the leading supplier of these wireless voice and data communications systems to all major public safety agencies in India, across Asia and the World. These digital wireless communication systems set the standard for reliability, robustness, and features.  These systems have become the bench mark against which all other systems are measured against. In addition to these solutions we also offer a wide range of broadband wireless systems for fixed and mobile applications that provide robust, reliable and secure communication links covering a small area to nation wide deployment.

Currently in Government vertical where all are you offering services and what is the USP of those products. 

In the Government vertical Motorola is offering mission and business critical communication systems to all the major police forces in India, Airports -Delhi,   Bangalore and Hyderabad International Airports; Delhi Metro and in Asia almost every major public security agency;  across the world over 50 Metro lines, and over 35 long haul rail systems, major sea ports, airports and utilities.

Sandeep Budki
sandeep@egovonline.net


Amit Dudeja
DGM Tolling Operations
Delhi Gurgaon Expressway

“We are using RFID and DSRC range of readers for the free movement of the traffic at the Toll Plaza”


How has ICT  in your view, helped in securing the toll tax both in terms of data security as well physical security?

Information and Communication Technology is the key driver in the whole setup. Each and every transaction or event happening in the Toll Plaza is being monitored and recorded electronically which is supported with Incident based Cameras and a very robust architecture along with the state of the art equipment with a three level fall back system in case of any kind of disaster.

What are the technologies you are using for different aspects of security?

We are using Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and Dedicated Short-Range Communications (DSRC – subset of RFID) range of readers for the free movement of the traffic at the Toll Plaza. This is again the first ever technology used in the field of Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) installed in India.

How many people are using the  smart cards? What is your view about the efficiency and usability of these smart cards?

Close to 80,000 users are using the DSRC and RFID based solutions for a quick and a smooth passage at the Toll Plaza. In our view, this is the best suited technology available to cater to the Indian driving patterns and we are getting almost 99.8% accuracy in vehicle detection and safe clearance from the Toll Plaza.

What are the systems you have in place to ensure data security?

Our system is designed by Kapsch which is again a market leader in Toll Technologies and has catered for in built data redundancy at three levels, which means that in 'no case' we can ever loose any kind of customer information from our database. Over and above this our Backup Policies are streamlined and time tested with various mock drills.

How are you addressing the capacity-building issue of training the required staff?

We have an in-house team of experienced professionals in the similar field who have been trained by trained professionals from Kapsch, which now serves as a core team for further trainings of the new staff.

What systems do you have in place to handle emergency situations?

In case of any breakdown in the service by means of any lane closure or database failure, we can still process the transactions through the lanes which keep piling up in the lane computer and as soon as the communications are restored the situation gets back to normal without even customer knowing about it.

For addressing the issue of scalability, are your security systems up-gradable?

Our security systems are policy driven at the corporate level so scalability is never an issue.

Tannu Singh
tannu@egovonline.net

PC sales in the first-half of 2008-09  cross 3.69 million units

MAIT, the apex body representing India's IT hardware, training and R&D services sectors, recently announced the findings of its Industry Performance Review for the first-half of financial year 2008-09. The total PC sales between April and September 2008, with desktop computers and notebooks taken together, were 3.69 million (36.9 lakh) units, registering a growth of 12 per cent over the same period last fiscal. The sales of desktops stood at 2.91 million (29.1 lakh) units registering a growth of 12%. Notebooks recorded a consumption of 0.77 million (7.7 lakh) units growing 13% over the same period last year. Given the current macro-economic conditions and conservative buying sentiment in the market, PC sales are expected to remain at the same levels as in the last fiscal at 7.3 million (73 lakh) units.

Commenting on the findings of the study, MAIT Executive Director, Vinnie Mehta said,”Consumption in the large and medium enterprises has helped sustain the PC market in India, especially for the desktops, in the first half of 2008-09. The desktop sales which had flattened out in the fiscal 2007-08 recorded positive growth.”

MAIT President, Mr S  S Raman said:,”It should be made mandatory for nationalised and PSU banks to earmark funds for easy and subsidised loans for purchase of IT products and solutions for the SMEs and the home consumers, especially for education. Similarly, Governments – Central and State should extend interest free loans to all their employees for purchase of IT products. Further, as several e-governance projects are being rolled out, these need to be replicated across all the states in the country and completed at an accelerated pace. Providing for local-language interface will be critical for the success of such projects, especially those aimed at Government-citizen interface.”

Commenting on the current and the future market and technology trends in India, MAIT Vice-President, Mr Ravi Swaminathan said: “Government and the Public sector spending is expected to be the mainstay of domestic market IT consumption. Cost concerns are leading to significant consolidation of IT infrastructure in the corporates with virtualisation gaining acceptance. The SMEs have started showing keen interest towards outsourcing and SaaS. Lastly, with 3G and Wi-Max networks expected to be rolled out soon, significant opportunity will arise for diverse applications and services.” 

The bi-annual MAIT Industry Performance Review – ITOPs, conducted by India's market research firm IMRB International is a survey of the IT hardware sector's efforts to manage the business environment, gauge the market potential and consumer trends.

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