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Why government departments need to work on accelerating the digital journey

To become digitally-enabled, government departments need to adopt an integrated, inclusive and collaborative approach while harnessing the power of ICT.

Golok Kumar Simli

Whether a private company, a public sector organisation, a government department, an autonomous body or even an individual, we all use digital technology in some form or the other. However, many enterprise community and government departments are stuck within silos on account of leveraging information and communication technology (ICT) in the conventional way. To become truly digital, one has to move beyond the obvious, come out of silos, and adopt an integrated, inclusive and collaborative approach. This would naturally push us to adopt revolutionary technologies, like mobility, cloud, Internet of Things (IoT), etc.

When it comes to deriving collective intelligence plus predictive analysis across business functions, we need to adopt another form of digital explosion—Big Data and analytics. Further, we must gather data from social media to get insights into consumer sentiments, especially GenerationY. In addition, we need to tackle the latest buzz on IoT and artificial intelligence (AI).

However, digital overhauling requires careful security planning, analysis, deployment and adherence. We have IT Act 2000 to deal with cyber related crime but the Act was enabled almost 17 years back (even the amendment brought in 2008 has crossed more than eight years now). In essence, a ‘digital way’ of going ahead would result into inclusiveness and empowerment. Following are the key areas where digital disruption and its explosion could play a major and visible role:

Citizen services: Cost-effective and anywhere, anytime access to public services to be availed by the citizens with real time 24 x 7 availability of information.

National security: Digital journey could help build an integrated law enforcement system, which will hugely benefit the security and other intelligence agencies.

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Taxation and revenue forecasting: Integration of revenue, taxation, GST, and financial management on a single digital platform would ensure effective tax administration and fiscal discipline which would strengthen digital economy.

Healthcare administration: Increased reach and accessibility to affordable healthcare by offering various diagnostic and clinical services, proactive monitoring of quality health services and its deficiencies.

Common public infrastructure: Digital can help in effective utilisation of the core ICT platform created by the government such as National/ State Data Centers, National Fiber Optic Network, National Knowledge Network, and State Wide Area Network. The possibility of government hybrid/private cloud could also be explored on priority. I am not visualising miles away, when I say that digital will not only help us in inclusive growth and boost the digital economy but would also facilitate in eradicating silos in the areas of health, education, homeland security, finance, etc.

The writer is chief of technology, Passport Seva Programme, Ministry of External Affairs.