Govt launches centres to monitor and support Digital India initiative

Govt launches centres to monitor and support Digital India initiative
11 Jan, 2019

The Indian government has opened a Command and Control Centre (CCC) and Centre of Excellence for artificial intelligence at the National Informatics Centre (NIC). NIC provides data centre and cloud services to the government.

The CCC will help the government monitor, troubleshoot and provide technical support for its various technology initiatives, the Press Information Bureau (PIB) said in a media statement. Minister for Electronics, IT and Law and Justice Ravi Shankar Prasad opened the centre yesterday.

The government, under the NIC's ambit, currently operates four national data centres and 30 mini data centres across the country, hosting over 10,000 e-governance applications. Majority of the government’s critical applications are hosted at these locations and the volume and nature of these critical online services have evolved and grown considerably, PIB said in the statement.

Prasad said that new technologies have the potential to transform societies and usher in an era of transparency and efficient governance. "Women who are more attracted towards new technologies can further catalyse social change which these technologies are bound to bring. Institutions like NIC should not only serve the government but also guide the private sector in applying artificial intelligence to improve consumer-centric services," he said speaking at the event.

The government said that a need was felt to set up a specialised facility with a nationwide view of information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure for effective monitoring and the management of the performance and availability of all these critical services. The CCC will help the government increase the agility of the NIC’s ICT infrastructure across the country, the statement added.

In addition to infrastructure monitoring, the NIC was also in the process of setting up a centralised system to monitor critical websites hosted on the institution's cloud, the government said. For large critical projects, the NIC proposed to provide users with a customised dashboard where they can monitor resources and availability of their applications, the PIB note added. Applications like eOffice, eHospital, Beneficiary Identification System under Ayushman Bharat scheme were already included on this dashboard, it said.

Meanwhile, the Centre of Excellence in Artificial Intelligence (CoE in AI) by NIC has been established with the motto of ‘Inclusive AI' for responsive governance, to work towards improving government service delivery to citizens.

The CoE will act as a platform for innovative new solutions in the AI space, a gateway to test and develop solutions for projects undertaken by the NIC at the central and state levels, PIB said, adding that this will promote innovation in the application of AI to take e-governance services to the next level. It will also provide capacity building and institutionalise AI across all ministries, departments and other organisations of the government, it added.

According to PIB, the CoE will also provide state-of-the-art technology support for the supercomputing facilities of prototyping in the fields of image and video analytics, speech synthesis and recognition chatbots, voicebots and natural language processing. The NIC has done a few proofs of concepts (PoCs).

The government had launched the Centre of Excellence for Data Analytics (CEDA) in September last year. CEDA has adopted a multi-pronged strategy to develop a culture of data-driven governance and capacity building within the government. In collaboration with the GSTN Council, CEDA is working on a detailed data analytics solution for an e-way bill system to improve compliance and ensure better utilisation of the system.