By Meghna Mittal
San Francisco– Announcing its first move on the Indian government’s Smart City project, the $37-billion tech giant Oracle Corp has chosen Maharashtra to accelerate the states digital transformation and set up a Centre for Excellence there.
Towards this, Oracle Global CEO Safra Catz has signed a pact with Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on the sidelines of the onging Oracle OpenWorld conference here, it was announced on Wednesday.
According to the pact, Oracle will create a cloud-based Centre of Excellence (CoE) to help accelerate Maharashtra’s ‘Smart City’ programme and modernise technology solutions. Catz said the project is the most expansive and biggest of its kind.
It will be likely replicated across the country, if successful, she said. However, refusing to give its financial details, she also said the investment will be completely scalable because the focus will be to use the cloud technology for immediate uptake.
“We are thrilled to further our commitment in India by working with the Government of Maharashtra and Prime Minister Narendra Modi to help position India as a world-class design and manufacturing epicenter,” Catz said.
“The Cloud Center of Excellence powered by Oracle will play a key role in improving the lives of the people of this state,” she said. The company recently set up nine incubation centers in the country, a massive campus in Bengalaru and launched an annual training initiative for 500,000 students.
“By moving to the Cloud, the government has the opportunity to create a digitally empowered society and a growing knowledge economy. We look forward to making this partnership a success,” she added.
According to Fadnavis, the aim is to connect Maharashtra’s 29,000 villages by December 2018 to digitally empower gram panchayats, schools, primary health centres and other institutions.
“The entire infrastructure creation for this will require investments to the tune of $1 billion,” Fadnavis said.
“We would also like to create virtual agricultural markets or e-markets along with the supply chain. To transform the agriculture market, accessibility is the biggest challenge. Using the technology, every single village will be a connected market and health, education and agriculture will come under this,” the chief minister added.
“The cities in the state will be covered by optic fibres in less than two years’ time which will enable smart transportation, parking and other citizen-related services,” Fadnavis announced, adding that the state government will enable 1,200 hotspots in cities, out of which 500 will be ready by November this year.
“Cloud computing has changed the landscape of governance. It has the power to enable inclusive growth and to transform the state into a digitally-empowered society,” Fadnavis said.
The proposed projects, to be finalized before the end of the calendar year, include:
– Smart city in a box
– Mobile platform for service questions
– Unified app development for services like drivers license renewals or property tax payments
– Digital platform to deliver smart city services across the state
– Connected infrastructure across all devices, kiosks and citizens
– Infrastructure services for equipment and IT
– Resources to manage transportation logistics, including analytics, asset tracking, fleet management
– Resources to manage utilities, including water and power.