Ensuring operational efficiency & smart service delivery with technology: Maharashtra Minister Aslam Shaikh

Aslam Shaikh

Elets Technomedia, in association with Microsoft India, today organised Digital Governance Summit, Maharashtra Edition.

The virtual summit highlighted best practices, challenges and the future of digital transformation in key sectors i.e. health, policing, mobility, municipal governance, smart cities, etc.

The summit was witnessed participation of senior policy-makers from government sector and technology leaders from Microsoft.

Aslam Shaikh, Cabinet Minister, Textile, Fisheries Department, Ports Development, Government of Maharashtra graced the summit as Chief Guest.

“The State Government has consistently focused on embracing cutting-edge technology initiatives to take the government to the citizens’ doorsteps,” the minister said.

Emphasizing on the necessity embrace technology for a better future, He said, “New technologies have changed lives and given a boost to e-governance. My departments (Textile, Fisheries & Ports) are working towards making operational process & service delivery much easier for all stakeholders with the help of technologies.”

The keynote address was delivered by Sanjay Bhatiya, UPA-Lokayukta, Government of Maharashtra and Ashish Kumar Singh, Additional Chief Secretary to CM (Transport & Ports) Government of Maharashtra.

Sanjay Bhatiya, UPA-Lokayukta, Government of Maharashtra, said, “We introduced an e-office system for Lokayukta. We have become a completely paperless office. There is much better MIS monitoring and transparency. We can ensure a quick grievance redressal system for citizens.”

Highlighting the significance of new technologies, he said, “Chatbots can especially help citizens to register their complaints without much hassle. AI can also be very helpful.”

Technology can play a key role in tackling corruption.To reduce corruption, the administration has to introduce transparency. With digital transformation, all departments of the Government of Maharashtra can achieve it. With digitisation, better monitoring and fast delivery of services can be ensured. All government departments must start using digital tools,” he said.

The summit also witnessed deliberations on a climate-resilient, digitised and smart transportation infrastructure.

In his keynote address, Ashish Kumar Singh, Additional Chief Secretary to CM (Transport & Ports) Government of Maharashtra, said, “For creation of climate resilient sustainable transport infrastructure, first we need to address the question of what new modes of travel will emerge in the coming years. We also need to think about what kind of service and operating models will appear as we move towards autonomous, shared and connected mobility.”

The need for solar energy has gained momentum globally to ensure sustainable development. “The State Government is setting up solar panels on two of our expressways on a pilot basis with the expectation that we will be able to generate 300 MW of solar energy,” he said. “We have also started working on formulation of a policy on Hydrogen for the green economy.”

Maharashtra is moving towards e-mobility to encourage use of cleaner fuels. “Maharashtra’s Electric Vehicle policy is already out. We are electrifying few important routes in Maharashtra. The future of mobility is very promising. The need of the hour is to ensure efficient and comfortable transportation to the public available on demand,” said Singh.

With digitisation moibility has improved as service.  “In the transport department, 98% of services are now digitised, hence are easily available at fingertips,” he said.

Key Highlights of Panel Discussions

Modernising Government-Owned Utilities to Enable Workforce

Deepak Taware, Chairman & Managing Director, Maharashtra State, Warehousing Corporation, Maharashtra

“The concept of e-market has gained momentum, especially during the Covid pandemic. “Farmers are also using modern marketing channels. There is huge scope to improve with the help of new technologies and collaboration with the IT sector.”

Brijesh Singh, Additional Director General of Police, Government of Maharashtra

“From DNA to drones, Maharashtra police is using technology to ensure safety and law and order across the state, especially for the safety of women and children. The state police are very advanced as we are implementing various cutting-edge technologies.”

“There is a huge need for collaboration with corporate sector to deliver quality public services with transparency and low cost. The collaboration is needed with focus on problem solving. This is the good time to come together to solve real life problems.”

Sameer Unhale, State Joint Commissioner Municipal Administration, Government of Maharashtra

“Current technology has tremendous potential. We have to move away from a clerical approach of governance. Citizen centric Service approach will get primacy with digital transformation.”

“Sharing of various data among citizens, availability of data to citizens, possibility of reaching to them with the help of data more easily, etc. can be achieved with the help of technology and collaboration with corporate sector”

Leveraging Technology to Meet the Challenges of Last Mile Connectivity in Government Sector

“Pune Smart City plan is to the tune of around Rs. 2000 crore, which comprises 66 projects on livability, transport, health & education, waste management, water management, e-governance & connectivity. All these projects are technology oriented.”

“Pune has evolved with the use of technology. To encourage digital transformation, regular training is required for adapting to the new technologies to implement smart projects.”

Dr Vijay Bhawiskar, Deputy Director, Department of Health services Mumbai

“Maharashtra has been at the forefront as far as the health sector is concerned. The state has been leveraging Telemedicine since 2006. With the help of ISRO, we started telemedicine in 5 major hospitals and today the service is offered in over 74 hospitals. We have used telemedicine for diagnostic purposes as well. Technology has helped us a lot in battling the Covid pandemic.”

We have started teleconsultation services in 2019-20 which is a part of Ayushman Bharat and is being implemented in a hub & spoke model. Hubs are the centres where we have MBBS doctors, dieticians, gynaecologists, etc. to cater to the health-related questions. Then we have spokes that are located at rural or sub-centre levels.”

Manisha Khatri, Collector & DM, Nandurbar District, Maharashtra

Today the access to digital infrastructure is a basic necessity. Digitisation has touched the lives of every individual in the country but despite that we’ve not been able to provide them with proper infrastructure.”

“Firstly, the government should provide digital infrastructure like mobile network, internet connectivity either through government or private firms. Secondly, lack of digital literacy is another big challenge that we need to deal with. So, the government needs to build capacities of its employees in this regard..”

Dr. Sheel Ghule, Chief Data Officer – NMC (General Manager) (E-Governance) and Nodal Officer at Nagpur Smart City, Government of Maharashtra

In Nagpur we have Integrated Traffic Management System (ITMS) in place. We also have the Automatic Traffic Control System (ATCS) which automatically controls the traffic signals based on the traffic density. This system has reduced the average time for a citizen to stand and wait at the signal.”

“Being a part of the Nagpur Police’s Bharosa Cell for Women, we are developing a virtual panic app that will soon be launched to ensure timely police help.”

Vikas Garad, Deputy Director, State Council of Educational Research and Training, Pune, Maharashtra

“During the Covid pandemic, we came up with various alternatives to ensure continuity of education including virtual sessions, home visits, digital assessments, chatbots like Swadhyay, Storytelling, psychological help sessions, etc.”

“We will be coming up with 12 educational channels which will be broadcasted 24×7. We will also be joining hands with several organisations to start delivering on-TV lectures for JEE or NEET preparations.”

Amitesh Kumar, Commissioner of Police, Nagpur City, Maharashtra Police

“On day-to-day basis we are embracing technology. The need of the hour is the capacity building of the larger section of the police force. Use of technology ion forensic science has to be encouraged with capacity building.”

Sandeep Malvi, Additional Municipal Commissioner, Thane Municipal Corporation, Government of Maharashtra

Only developing e-governance app is not important. Rather, to make it accessible to every citizen is the most essential task.”

Technology Presentations

Amit Bansal, Sr. Product Marketing Manager – Dynamics 365 & Power Platform, Microsoft India, highlighted how digital technology is enabling connected citizen service.

“The government needs to build citizen trust with superior customer service like facility to connect with administration online using any device, deliver fast and informed issue resolution with efficient collaborative tools, etc.”

Nitin Patil, Director Azure, India Enterprise Business, Microsoft India gives insights into adaptive, resilient, and secure infrastructure solutions for digital governance.

“Innovation is shaping the future of government. Latest technologies like AI is transforming the governance today. Analytics is also playing a key role in facilitating smart governance.”