Cloud computing has emerged as a powerful tool to empower Government to improve citizen-centric services by adopting ultra-modern technology. It’s easy to access, it’s cost-effective, it’s flexible to one’s requirements. Besides, Cloud technology is also generating lakhs of jobs for the skilled youth. Vishwas Dass of Elets News Network (ENN) writes about the status of Cloud Computing in India as also elsewhere
With technological advancements happening day in and day out, governments across the globe have been trying to harness latest technologies to improve and strengthen citizen-centric services and their delivery. In this context, Cloud Computing has emerged as one of the landmark innovations in the digital landscape that has changed the way corporate firms and governments deliver services.
Cloud Computing, which facilitates IT services to Cloud users with greater reliability, flexibility and scalability, has a huge potential for usage in the field of eGovernance and rural development in developing countries like India.
The importance of this technology can be understood by the fact that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s many technology-driven projects like ‘Digital India’ and ‘100 Smart Cities’ heavily rely on Cloud Computing, which has also helped education, health, banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI) sectors immensely in improving their services. According to reports, India Inc has pledged `4.5 lakh crore for Digital India, which can create over 18 lakh jobs in the country.
Revolution in sky
The Cloud has literally brought revolution by offering solutions to store and share data. It is Cloud Computing which has empowered governments to roll out e-services like payment of property tax, drinking water, electricity, registration of land records and building plan approval, among others, to help people deposit taxes at the click of a mouse. eGovernance services to customers, businesses and even to the agencies themselves have made a huge impact on India’s 1.2 billion citizens.
A recent Gartner report shows the Cloud Computing will constitute the bulk of IT spending by 2016. It is expected that the Cloud market in India alone would reach over USD3 billion by 2017 — a five-fold increase from 2012, which is good enough to prove how rapidly the sector is growing.
The Cloud is all set to transform the way we do business and grow on the digital platform. Cloud Computing in all likelihood is going to be a boon for the small to medium size businesses (SMBs), which employ 40 per cent of the overall workforce and are growing at a rate of eight per cent per year. According to another report, if all SMBs in India were to adopt Cloud Computing, the market could reach USD56 billion, creating additional 1.1 million jobs in the near future.
Adoption of IT technology is often considered an expensive affair and the myth is that it requires purchase of hardware, software, modern networks and manpower to operate. On the contrary, it is simple and cost-effective for SMBs to run IT solutions by having an account with a Cloud Computing service provider. Cloud solutions help SMEs implement technology quicker to gain competitive advantage.
Cloud is also giving a thrust to India’s economy by creating more jobs in India. Many believe that if the Cloud market continues to expand in India, job prospects would also go up conspicuously. It is believed that this year alone, Cloud Computing will create over two million jobs. Consulting firm Zinnov has come out with a study that projects that Cloud Computing market in India will reach USD4.5 billion by the year-end.
The situation can be gauged by the fact that many multinational companies in India have shelved their plans of developing their own Cloud-based solutions and instead of this bidding for Cloud Computing service providers because of requirement of the whopping funds.
When asked, Prashant Choudhary, Senior Director, Sales – State Government and PSU, CA Technologies, said that the Government departments can immensely benefit by Cloud Computing. “This technology can change the way IT services are delivered and realise benefits ranging from reduced costs, improved organisational agility and transformation in overall service delivery. It can be used to facilitate eGovernance in real-time.
Choudhary asserted that Cloud technology should be used extensively by the Governments to transform key citizen-centric services. “A number of large scale enterprises have committed to set up Cloud-based data centers in India in the near future. If reports are to be believed, the surge in Internet penetration backed by the Digital India initiative is likely to attract USD17 billion investment in the next three to four years in India. Ninety per cent of the SMBs are expected to be tech-influenced by 2020,” he added.
Juniper Networks, which provides enterprise grade Cloud-based networking solutions to numerous telecom service providers, enterprises and educational institutions, believes that providing citizen-centric services at affordable cost is extremely important.
“Cloud effects everyone today, ranging from an average user to large-scale enterprises. Cloud-based technologies remain at the heart of most discussions pertaining the technological transformation enterprises are undergoing,” Sajan Paul, Director Systems Engineering – India and SAARC, Juniper Networks, told ENN.
|Connecting Citizens and Services
Cloud Computing refers to the remote data centres, thousands of computers and servers to connect into a Cloud computer. This model has exceptional computing power. Using the computer, laptop or mobile phone, a user can access remote terminals to enjoy a variety of services. For data storage requirements, such as large enterprise users, Cloud Computing technology is particularly attractive because it can help significantly reduce costs. There has also been a rapid development of the technology in the recent years. It would be really helpful in connecting the citizens with services under various initiatives undertaken by the Government of India, such as Digital India, Make in India, etc.
SoftAge has developed a Cloud-based Document Management System (CloudDocu) to help small and medium-sized companies manage and organise all types of documents through a web browser. CloudDocu is a Cloud-based software, crucial for the organisations where the importance of documents, data security and reliability is a concern.
Cloud Computing can also be used for improving healthcare, education and eGovernance. A web-based education system can share knowledge by communicating between schools following the same curriculum
However, rural sector is one area which needs immediate attention when it comes to implementing Cloud technology for the betterment of people living in rural and remote parts of the country. A plethora of very smallscale industries are mushrooming in the rural parts of India, but all of them are struggling to match global standards of business and these industries do not have a chance of withstanding the incoming globalisation in India, until they start making efforts to meet international standards.
Problems faced by rural education in India are known to all. It is plagued by dearth of qualified teachers, IT institutions and poor infrastructure. But the web-based education system can share knowledge by communicating between schools following the same curriculum. If the application is run on the Cloud, rural schools can use PCs at lower costs, with smaller hard disks and lesser memory.
Besides, Cloud Computing can also be used for improving healthcare and eGovernance. Citizens’ health record on the Cloud can be of immense help in this regard.
It doesn’t look too far away from human imagination to see India becoming a global hub for Cloud Computing, provided the Government takes adequate steps to cut red-tapism, often hampering smooth establishment and running of IT firms, and promote use of Cloud technology pro-actively.