Additional Chief Secretary, Department of Science & Technology, Government of Gujarat
While delivering the valedictory address at the event, Ravi Saxena, additional chief secretary, department of science and technology, government of Gujarat, said the state has taken a lead in cloud computing in its own way. He said Gujarat is a step ahead of others not only in bringing all government departments on the state data centre but also leading to the virtualisation of its servers for hosting applications of more than one department on the same server.
While emphasising the importance of delivery channels in the scheme of things, Saxena said, “The question is, how do you deliver services to the people? Delivery mostly happens at the state level, except for railways and the income tax department. When it comes to roti, kapada and makan, where is the government for the common man? For him, tehsildar is the government, not the finance ministry. That is where the delivery has to take place.”
“In the apex committee meeting, I made the suggestion that infrastructure (for cloud) is already there. DIT (the central government’s department of information technology) has created 37 data centres (in states) and an equal number of state-wide area networks. The issue is how to bring about the collaboration (among the states and the centre) and make it apolitical – apolitical not in the sense of beyond political parties but in terms of hierarchy,” he said.
Saxena said Gujarat has been able to have ‘collaborative government’ right from the beginning, and that has something to do with the culture of governance there. “Every department has an IT committee chaired by its secretary. I am part of the committee, I see that platforms are uniform. Also, the procurement agency for all is the same – Gujarat Informatics Ltd (GIL). (Beyond these two counts) every department secretary is the driver of technology in his/her department. Gujarat thus is a good model of ‘collaborative government’,” he said.
Saxena urged the gathering that it was high time for the governance to switch to cloud. “What is needed is uniform, robust mechanism for delivery of services. What is needed is the political will and inculcation of psychology that there has to be a collaborative government.”
“Technology requires consolidation. There cannot be issues of federalism there; it does not amount to ‘unitary’ government. It requires sensitisation. The centre too has to listen to the states. I have come across flashes of brilliance in terms of technology even from smaller states. Delhi should encourage states to become champions and treat them as partners instead of treating them as takers or givers,” he concluded.
Video of G-Cloud 2012: Cloud Computing for Government