May 2009

News and VIews

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National

Solar Venture of 250-MW Planned by BEL, BHEL

Public sector majors Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) and Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) have signed an Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for setting up of a 250-MW joint manufacturing facility for solar photo voltaic cells, modules and silicon wafers. BEL and BHEL have an existing capacity of around 6 MW and 8 MW respectively. The two PSUs are on the look out for a suitable vendors or partners for technology and supply of raw materials. The joint venture would cater to domestic solar product requirements and exports.

10% Growth in Wireless User Base

India has become the world's fastest growing wireless market, during this quarter, the subscriber base for wireless services has increased to 346.89 million from 315.31 million in the previous quarter, a growth of 10% over the previous quarter. The total subscriber base of the wireline and wireless services reached 384.79 million in the said period, a growth of 8.80% over the previous quarter. Whereas the rural subscriber base rose by 2.38% to 93.15 million. The number of PCOs has also decreased by 4.32% to 5.98 million.

Only 3 in 3 lakh SMSed Civic Tax Payments

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's (BMC) much-talked about 'payment of tax through SMS' seems to have fallen flat. Despite 80 per cent of Mumbai citizens,  being mobile phones users, of the three lakh tax payers in the city, the service was availed by only three, making a total payment of Rs 7,700. Followed by the failure of the programme of payments through Internet, which also did not find much favour with citizens, this is the second such failure for the BMC.

12,000 Rural kiosks by 3i Infotech

3i Infotech is planning to expand its network of IT kiosks in rural areas from the current level of 4,000 to over 12,000 by the end of this year. Known as i-serve, these centres will be set up at an approximate cost of  INR 0.01 crore spread across nine states while being networked and automated. 3i Infotech is looking at providing e-governance and business to consumer services in rural market through IT kiosks.

Nokia's Plans For Rural Market

Nokia is now reaching out to its rural customers through its 'showrooms on wheels' and 'Rural care on the go, marketing and servicing vehicles, respectively. With the urban market for handsets fast getting saturated, Nokia plans to tap the growing rural market in collaboration with various micro finance institutions. India has about 249 million subscribers and 93 million rural subscribers.

Register Complaints to NDMC through SMS

The New Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) is planning to very soon to launch a special software called “Interactive Voice Response Software-cum-Grievance Handling and Monitoring system,” which will enable local residents to send out their complaints through SMS. The services of the system would be available only after the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

BEST Buses to have GPS Facility Soon

Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport undertaking (BEST) buses will soon be equipped with Global Positioning System (GPS). This will enable the commuters to know about the timing of the bus, and the next destinations. The fares of the buses will stay the same. Such services are available on trains, and now it will available on buses as well. Moreover, it is said that the announcements will be made in the local languages, so that the common man can understand it.

Hyderabad Police Launches Website for Traffic Jam Alerts

The city police of Hyderabad has launched a new dedicated website on which traffic jam alerts will be updated regularly. The website called www.htp.gov.in through which people can lodge complaints pertaining to traffic using the `Traffic Help Desk' link and also check the status of the complaint. The website also offers services like checking the e-challan status and data pertaining to accidents.

Short-Term Course on ICT in DU Colleges

Under the Delhi University – National Thermal Power Corporation (DU-NTPC) resource centre several colleges under Delhi University (DU) will now teach short-term course in ICT. The DU-NTPC centre offers short-term certificate courses in sign language interpretation, communicative English, ICT and disability and human rights. The decision was taken at a meeting of the University's Equal Opportunity Cell. Several colleges of the University will choose two non-teaching staff to undergo a 15-day course module to learn the ICT software.

Biometric PAN Cards are Here

Biometric permanent account number (PAN) cards that capture their fingerprints and facial features are going to become a regular feature for taxpayers soon. The development has elicited huge response from the country's top information technology companies have shown great interest in the development. Along with the card, there are plans to spruce up the PAN issuance infrastructure. Bidders have been asked to ensure that they set up points of service for 10 hours a day, six days a week.

Rishi Jaitly
Senior Policy Analyst, Google Inc. 

“The website, available at www.google.co.in/loksabha2009 in both English and Hindi, should be the primary destination for all those interested in learning about India's democracy in the context of this year's elections”


What was the thought process behind the loksabha 2009   initiative?

Google's global mission is to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful.  One of the most important lessons we at Google have learned in our short history is that information can be fundamentally empowering; there is perhaps no moment when information is more important than when a society comes together to undertake democratic elections.  With this in mind, we at Google India sought to understand what role we can play in India's 15th general elections, which, in our view, would be India's first “Internet Election.”  Given that Google is a neutral platform for information, we surveyed the landscape of NGOs and government organizations and decided that our role should be to shine a light on the most critical elections-related information available in India today.  Of course, we knew that our technologies would also give us the unique ability to highlight this information in a visible and compelling way.  Ultimately, though, this initiative has primarily been motivated by our view that the Internet can play a profoundly important role in elections, governance, and democracy in India.  In a country where elections are a central part of national culture, there is perhaps no other medium that ensures voters can directly interact with leaders and information.  Our goal was to usher in a new era of citizen empowerment in India as well as inaugurate the arrival of India's “Digital Democracy” in India's first “Internet Election.”In the end, together with a range of NGO and government partners, we launched a website that dynamically showcases the most important information available today pertaining to this year's Lok Sabha Elections.  The website, available at www.google.co.in/loksabha2009 in both English and Hindi, should be the primary destination for all those interested in learning about Indian democracy in the context of this year's elections. 

How many hits per day are you getting on the website?

This initiative is unprecedented and groundbreaking not only in India but also in the global context.  As such, we have not set any numerical goals.  We have built this elections centre such that it appeals to Indian citizens of all ages and from all walks of life.  We are delighted at the response we have observed to date from users in India and around the world.

What are the new features that are going to be added to the website?

Over time, we hope for this site to be an even more dynamic centre for transparency, democracy, and governance in India.  We welcome feedback and ideas from individual users and organizations from across the country.

Dinesh Nandwana
Chairman, Vakrangee Softwares Ltd.

“Our company has scalability and we have 14 years of experience in executing mission-mode and time bound project involving multi locations”

India is reporting the fastest global growth in the e-Governance, catalyzed by the implementation of the Right to Information (RTI) Act and a holistic e-Governance action plan by Government of India. How does your company plan to leverage this business opportunity?

The Government of India has targeted 30 mission mode e-Governance project.Almost all the state governments are also taking up egovernance in various areas such as land records. We have already worked under the dynamic leadership of TCS-CMC combine on MCA-21 project of Ministry of Company Affairs. We have performed our part of managing documents (hard copies),scanning and digitizing them .

Looking to our capacity to execute time bound project TCS is in advance stage for associating us in Passport Seva Kendra project another ambitious e-Governance project of Ministry of External Affairs.

We have also done the e-Governance project of Land Record of Ghaziabad Development Authority.

We are also digitizing Board of Revenue Records of districts of Uttar Pradesh .This project is awarded to us by UPDESCO (a UP state Government undertaking )

We are also targeting the opportunities available outside India in e-Governanace field  and recently the Company has signed an agreement with one  of the Document Corporation, Philippines and IL&FS Technology Limited, Philippines  for Land Titling Computerization Project (LTCP) of Land Registration Authority, an agency of government of Philippines.

What are the services that you are providing to the BFSI segment?

We are providing document management solution and print solution to two major Telecom Operator and also providing document and print solution to leading insurance companies.

On the technological front how are you participating in the current general elections.?

We are providing data management & print solutions to Chief Election Commission, India  by our latest state of the Art technology machine i.e. Kodak Versamark 2000 to meet their short deadline

Your company is providing Services on document & printing management area by providing end to end solution. what is the USP of your company?

Ours Company has scalability and we have 14 years of experience in executing mission-mode and time bound project involving multi locations. Apart form this capabilities we also supplement the financial resources of our principal by deploying capital equipments and managerial resources.

Tell us something about rural health insurance project under the RSBY scheme .

We have been working with Financial Information's and Network  organization for last 1 & half year as a preferred associate .We worked with them in Rajasthan, Haryana Punjab and we have recently completed 8 districts of Uttar Pradesh. WE provided  them end to end solution from invitation to the beneficiary till the preparation and delivery of card to the beneficiary.

International

Vietnam to Improve IT sector

Prime Minister of Vietnam has approved a two-year plan (2009-10) to enhance information technology application at all government agencies. The plan also aims to create an online working environment among state agencies nationwide and get officials accustomed to working on the networking environment and computer-assisted systems instead of paper documents. It envisages preparing the ground for e-governance by completing a special date transmission network for Party and State agencies, building and upgrading the local area network (LAN) and wide area network (WAN) for government agencies.

Thailand Ministry Plans to Launch Five-year e-Government Roadmap

The Information and Communications Technology Ministry of Thailand plans to launch an e-Governance Road Map that will be used as a framework for e-Government developments over the five years from 2010 to 2014. The draft version of the roadmap would be submitted to the Cabinet Ministry for approval before sending to all government agencies. The roadmap consists of four stages .

Wireless going Green in China

Australia based Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization's (CSIRO), ICT Centre Wireless Technologies Laboratory is trying to make next generation of wireless communications in China that would be more environmentally friendly. The centre will facilitate joint research projects between the two countries, the exchange of scientists and students, and the uptake of Australian wireless communications technologies by the world market.

Urban EcoMap offers Climate Change Info

Cisco, and the County of San Francisco, have collaborated to start a pilot project called Urban EcoMap, that will educate people about climate change and to spur a shift to climate-friendly social behavior in cities.  Urban EcoMap is an innovation and a key element of the Connected Urban Development framework for Connected and Sustainable Cities.

The Dubai Police wins Tejari eLEADER Award

The Dubai Police has been awarded with eLEADER status in the 'Power Buyer' category for having achieved an exceptionally high online purchases rate using Tejari online marketplace. The Dubai Police achieved estimated value of auctions of more then $26m within three months from November 2008 till February 2009 and continued online purchases in March and April 2009 with additional 33 new tenders conducted via Tejari online marketplace.

12 Ministries in Bangladesh start e-Services

12 Ministries from the Bangladesh Government have started to provide E-service including paying utility and land bills through the Internet to the people. People from rural areas have started to get information related to livelihood through Union Information Centre (UIC) and Agriculture and Communication Centre (AICC). Besides, the people can pay their land phone bills through SMS and know information about railway, polling centres and market prices through Internet and necessary government forms are also available on Internet.

China up 11 places in index of information technology

According to recently published World Economic Forum report, China has improved its information technology infrastructure by receiving 46th position globally this year on the Networked Readiness Index (NRI). It also replaced India to take the leading position among the BRICs (China, Brazil, Russia and India), according to the Global Information Technology Report 2008-2009 released by the World Economic Forum and business school Insead.

Malaysian WiMax operator pushes for 2010 rollout

Local Wimax service provider has partnered with Samsung to provide to implement its WiMax network across the country over the next five years. However, it will take at least 14 months before the high-speed mobile broadband service from YTL's subsidiary, YTL e-Solutions, is expected to be rolled out nationwide in July 2010. The company will invest over US$279 million over the next 12 months ahead of its July 2010 launch. Under the agreement, Samsung will implement a WiMax network that includes base stations, multimedia service offerings and a range of mobile Internet devices. YTL e-Solutions has identified 2,000 sites nationwide for the base stations. The network is designed to support 14 million customers and will cover about 70 percent of the population.

PayMate, UAE's Mashreq Bank Launch Mobile Services

PayMate, India's mobile commerce company has tied up with the UAE-based private bank Mashreq to launch mobile payment services in UAE. The joint venture would include services such as paying for over-the-counter shopping, utility bills, online purchases via mobile as well as mobile applications enabling purchase of movie and flight tickets. The service would be available for the 3.5 million credit card users in the UAE as well as half a million Mashreq Bank account holders. The customers can punch their card details on the mobile application or simply enter the PayMate PIN for making any mobile transaction.

N S N Murthy
Director, Sales
MphasiS

In India, we are going to align ourselves with the projects under National eGovernance Plan and in parallel will work with state governments on specific solution areas.

How do you see MphasiS addressing Government requirements end-to-end?

Governments across the globe are consolidating the number of vendor's taking care of its requirement.  The single reason is moving from just project-based application automation to a complete “Transformation” of the Department.  This is a much mature and holistic approach to achieve the end-objective(s) of the Government. Our “Transformation Services” covers Application Services, IT Services and Business Process Services.  This enables us to partner with our clients in not only addressing their current needs but also making them agile to respond to future requirements.

What are the areas of e-Governance you are looking to tap in the years to come?

MphasiS, has been working on several government area's along with its parent organization EDS an HP Company worldwide.  As a group we have been providing solutions & services for Defence, Finance & Tax, Agriculture, Municipalities, Customs, Homeland Department, Tourism, Social Welfare, Healthcare, Education and several others. In India, we are going to align ourselves with the projects under National eGovernance Plan and in parallel will work with state governments on specific solution areas.

You are known for your Portal expertise in several industry segments, would that be a focus offering in Government too?

Yes definitely, we have strong credentials globally in the area of Portals. We have already started working with several Government Clients and PSUs on this service offering and we have received a very good response too.  We have also developed our own Portal Framework called MFrame. It is our solution offering to help clients readily build cross-channel Portals using a vendor neutral framework that facilitates the integration of best of breed products to quickly deploy eGovernment capabilities.

What is your opinion about the developments in e-Governance arena in India as compared to Global Scenario?

India is extremely well placed today to leap frog several other nations in the eGovernance Implementation.  Recession, increasing citizen expectations, availability of cutting edge technology and most importantly a positive mindset from both bureaucrats and political parties is going to speed up the transformation of government services.  It is exciting as well as challenging time for every IT Solutions & Service Provider in India; exciting because there are plenty of opportunities to work on and challenging because government clients are extremely intelligent now.  They no longer are looking for plain computerization of department but results-oriented transformation, which will enable them to increase their own internal efficiencies and service their end-customers better. 

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