Microsoft, in association with Elets, organises Digital Governance Tech Summit to impart technical skills

Microsoft Digital Governance Tech Summit

Keeping in tune with the Indian’s government’s Digital India vision, Microsoft India, in association with Elets Technomedia, organised the Digital Governance Tech Summit that delivered critical AI and intelligent cloud computing skills to the Government officials in charge of IT across the country, in New Delhi on Tuesday.

The event aimed to explore the role of advanced technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Cloud, Internet of Things etc., in the governance mechanism, and also to analyse the need for technical upskilling. The Summit saw an array of keynote addresses, panel discussions and technical sessions delivered and presented by luminaries from the Government sector as well from Microsoft India and Asia.

The Summit commenced with a Fireside Chat by Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog and Anant Maheshwari, President, Microsoft India. Kant shared how the Government’s vision of Digital India is implemented across multiple sectors. He also talked about how the Government of India is enabling skill development at the basic education through Atal Tinkering Labs. “India is among the few countries where the government has driven digitalisation in a very big way.”

Kant also added, “Artificial Intelligence might be the single largest technological revolution of our lives with potential to disrupt all aspects. It’s once in a generation phenomenon. For India, an incremental USD 957 billion could be added to GDP by 2035, boosting India’s annual growth by 1.3 percent points by 2035.”

Kant further said, “For our country, the power of AI, cloud services, and data analytics needs to be brought to bear in core sectors for inclusive economic growth. As we move beyond pilots and understand how to scale AI implementation and cloud adoption across states and sectors, it is vital to equip the ecosystem with the right knowhow and skills. Collaboration with academia and the industry, and initiatives such as this will help build the foundation towards an AI enabled future.”

During his keynote address, Maheshwari said, “We will launch the digital tech tool in which we are going to 10 states and really help the officials of the states. AI and the cloud can enable path-breaking innovation and drive the next phase of India’s growth. Continuous focus on learning and improving skillsets for all are a must to make this a reality. Microsoft’s first-of-its-kind Digital Governance Tech Tour for government officials reiterates our commitment to be a trusted partner to the government by enabling and empowering officials to do more with technology in service of the citizens.”

Ajay Swahney, Secretary, Ministry of Eletctronics and Information Technology (MeitY) delivered the inaugural address. He said, “We have been consumers of software products. It is time for India to move towards being a software product nation.”

The first panel discussion of the Summit was on ‘Technical Upskilling for a New Era of Possibilities in Government’, moderated by Candice Ling, Government Industry Leader, Microsoft Asia. The panelists included Shakuntala D Gamlin, Secretary, Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, Government of India; Dr Neeta Verma, Director General, National Informatics Centre (NIC); Abhishek Singh, Secretary, Agriculture Scientists Recruitment Board (ASRB) and NSN Murthy, Partner, PWC.

Dr Verma highlighted the technological advancements over the past three decades, and how the Cloud is enabling the vision of ‘one nation, one platform’.

Discussing about the role of technology in upskilling differently abled youth, Gamlin said, “The challenge lies in how to make technology accessible to them and ensuring skilling of technology, which will enhance their family income.”

Abhishek Singh, Secretary, Agriculture Scientists Recruitment Board (ASRB), said, “In order to go to the next level in the field of agriculture, technology is important. Collaboration between scientists on one hand and collaboration between the farmers on another is needed.”

Speaking during the session, NSN Murthy, Partner, PWC, said, “We run a program under which we allow everyone to submit their ideas. Either technology ideas or domain based but it has to be digitally enabled. We fund it internally to make sure they as a team deliver.”

Following the first session, the panel discussion on Digital Transformation of Government Services with Cyber Security, Trust & Innovation, moderated by Keshav Singh Dhakad, Assistant General Counsel, Microsoft India, commenced.

S N Pradhan, Director General, National Disaster Response Force, while speaking at the discussion shared his views and said, “The skill gap can be bridged as there is enough skill around and as per the collaborations are concerned, private players like Microsoft are acting upon it.”

M S Bhatia, Inspector General, Central Reserve Police Force, said, “Technology is being leveraged by us to launch incisive operations to achieve our operations in a very organised and scientific way.”

Sharing his initiatives in the state, Dhruva Kant Thakur, Additional director General of Police (ITECCS, UP 100), Uttar Pradesh, said, “UP100 would be 100 times powerful platform for e-governance because it has adopted latest IT tools in establishing effective e-governance.”

Commodore Karanjeet Sharma, Director, Naval Communications Networks, said, “In the cybersecurity space, the moment your operationalised network is in compromise, the concept of security starts with taking an action.”

Dahnesh Dilkhush, CTO, Microsoft Azure, Microsoft India, also delivered a technical session on Cloud Computing at the summit.

Sanyukta Sinha, Director-Product Marketing, Microsoft India, also presented on Modern Project Management – Gain Insights, Improve Governance.

Alok Rattan, Global Black Belt, Project Cloud, Microsoft India, also addressed the Technical Session on Modern Project Management.

Meanwhile, Mohit Juneja, Business Lead, Application Innovation, Microsoft India, during an insightful technical session on ‘Ship it with DevOps’, at the summit.

This was followed by another technical session on Data, Analytics & Insights, by Himanshu Gupta, Development Lead, Microsoft India.

S Srinivas Sivakumar, Chief Digital Advisor, Microsoft India then shared his views on the ‘Art of Possible with Responsible AI’.

Deepak Talwar, Chief Security Officer, Microsoft India, delivered a power packed technical session on ‘Top Security Considerations for Moving to Cloud’, at the event. It was followed by another energetic technical session on ‘Collaborate using Microsoft Teams, the Hub for Teamwork within Office 365’ by Aneesh Dhawan, Director, Solution Sales, Microsoft India.

Then started the next panel discussion on Digital Inclusion for People with Disabilities. Karishma Chhabra, Senior Manager, Biz operations and accessibility, Microsoft India, shared her views, said, “Making technology accessible to all is our aim. Today, we are staying in a world where we are connected to each other and the society through Cloud, Cloud Computing etc.”

“Millennials will represent 75% of the global workforce by 2025. Accessible technologies, enabled via AI, empower people with disabilities to unlock potential at work, school, and modern life,” she added.

Sharing his views on the same topic, Balendu Sharma, Localization Need, Microsoft India, said, “A report says that organisations that are working on enhancing diversity and inclusion are comparatively more successful than the rest. Different features have been introduced to make life simpler for the persons with disability.”

“Flagging the issue of disabilities in textbook is important. Although NCERT and CBSE have included a bit but we need a bigger representation,” said Nikunja K Sundaray, joint Secretary and CEO, The National Trust, Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India.

“To ensure inclusivity for the physically challenged people across various sectors of the society, the Government of India is deploying technologies and ICT to create accessible functionalities,” he added.

“EU has set guidelines to ensure that public procurement system is accessible for differently-abled people. It used to be a European standard, but now it is a global standard,” said Dinesh Chand Sharma, Director-Standards & Public Policy, EU Project SESEI.

“Smart Cities had missed out on the accessibility part. 55 percent of Smart City projects include ICT component, however, it misses the accessibility component,” he added.

Speaking in the same context, Alok Lall, Director, Partner Technology, Microsoft India, said, “It is important for us to design the technologies to include accessibility for the physically weaker section of the society. Here, we mean not just physically disabled, but the senior citizens as well.”

Eminent speakers then shared their views on the last session on Innovations in Efficient Delivery of Government Services.

“The more people engage with the government the better is it for us to deliver the services. Many of the citizen services are available online,” said Rashmi Singh, Secretary, NDMC.

“The Govt is taking initiatives to harness e-marketplace and also utilised private players like Flipkart and Amazon to act as a government public procurement,” Suresh Kumar, Joint Secretary & CEO, GeM, Minister of Commerce and Industry, Govt of India.

“We are introducing technology to minimise human intervention. Technology is changing everyday, we need to develop skills in our officials, youngsters, in order to provide right kind of man power in govt projects,” said George Kuruvilla, Chairman and Managing Director, BECIL India.

“We introduced ICT system to create convenience of the people. The e-governance system has been developed that a citizen need not visit govt offices physically to prove their identity,” Soumya Goondla, Consultant to Commisioner, Electronic Service Delivery Office, Department of Information Technology, Government of Telangana, said.

“Cloud, AI & DevOps have been contributing significantly to governance system. With rising demand from citizens, govt system is also deploying growing technologies and Microsoft is being one of key enablers,” Rajesh Kumar, Head of Technology Strategy (Public Sector), Microsoft India, shard.

Dr. Ravi Gupta shared his views as he also moderated the session.