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Enabling good governance in India

21 December 2009

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The State Data Centre will provide a common secured infrastructure that will be helpful in effective governance, says S.P. Singh, Senior Director, Department of Information Technology. Timely implementation of the SDCs requires coordination between stakeholders and a well planned strategy, he adds.

Excerpts from the interview:

Egov: Please give your views on the importance of State Data Centres. How do you correlate this technological intervention with good governance?

S.P. Singh: The State Data Centre (SDC) would act as the e-Governance application warehouse for the State’s e-Governance applications and Mission Mode Projects (MMPs).

The Data Centre in the state would provide common secure infrastructure enabling seamless delivery of Government to Government (G2G), Government to Citizen (G2C) and Government to Business (G2B) services.

The State and the concerned line departments would get benefited a lot from this secured infrastructure, providing ease of management and improved uptime for services. The SDC initiative would provide the best of the physical, IT and security infrastructure, well managed centrally and complying to international standards, enabling improved uptime, citizen service delivery thus contributing to improved and better governance.

Egov: What is the status of the State Data Centre implementation, under National e-Governance Plan? When do you expect it to complete?

SPS: SDC proposals from 31 States/ UTs have been approved so far with a total outlay of Rs 1,378.50 Crore. Bid process has been completed in 6 States while it is under process in 9 States. Further, National Informatics Centre (NIC) has initiated an action to provide the technical resources for the Composite Team at the State and this shall be in place in several States by mid December 2009.

Considering the progress so far, it is expected that around 8-10 Data Centres shall be set up and be operational by June-July 2010.

Egov: Public data is invaluable. What is your roadmap to ensure maximum data security?

SPS: The e-Governance applications would be dealing with the citizen related services transactions and hence the confidentiality and security of the data is of paramount importance. All necessary measures with tiered security architecture for Physical as well as IT infrastructure have been considered for the Data Centre design.

The policy guideline for SDC entails the physical as well as data security guidelines which would need to be followed by the State during implementation as well as operations and management of the SDC.

Egov: How do you perceive virtualisation in Data Centres? Also, how you are planning to tackle with interoperability issues with the IT systems?

SPS: Virtualisation is most talked about technology in the IT industry these days. Though it provides benefits such as reduction in costs, IT infrastructure optimisation, better utilisation of resources, consolidation etc, it also poses challenges in its management, disaster recovery, security etc.

As the performance and service delivery needs would be different for different applications, the associated requirements and resource allocation would need to be adequately addressed by the Data Centre Operator while implementing virtualisation.

Interoperability of the systems and applications becomes very important when heterogeneous hardware, software and storage environments exist in the Data Centre.

This could be tackled by having the systems, hardwares, software which is interoperable and easy to integrate with other systems. SSDGs would be hosted in the State Data Centre to provide assured message delivery, interoperability among heterogeneous systems, complete audit, time stamping and logging processes for government applications.

Egov: Can you discuss about challenges in setting up and running DC?

SPS: Timely implementation of the SDCs is a big challenge which required a lot of dedicated effort and coordination of all involved stakeholders including the State, State Implementing Agency, State consultant, the System Integrator, NIC and the DIT. Local challenges such as availability of the site, raw power availability etc are some of the prime concerns.

Well planned strategy, appropriate security policies and adoption of Data Centre management best practices would be able to address many of such challenges which will again require a dedicated effort from the concerned stakeholders.

Source : Egov

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