“Focus has to shift from why to how”
Founder, Society for Promotion of
When you talk about the private sector, everyone knows what the benefits are and the ways cloud helps. But from a public sector point of view, one issue is the ownership of the cloud.
My second point: if you are allowing multiple parties to put their solutions there, then who actually owns the cloud infrastructure? Even if government doesn’t own it directly, the arm-length organisation, which is still a government organisation, has some kind of control over it.
When you talk about cloud for public services, the key issue is pricing. You cannot go for a pricing which you do for the private sector. In the mobile governance policy, we are talking about mobile services in rural areas. So we are talking to the telecom players saying there has to be a limit on the price of the services. Then the telecos point out that this is a TRAI mandate and not that of the department of information technology.
It is unlike an outsourced project or a simple public-private partnership. When you are working on cloud, the cultural and collaborative production of a solution is not in the government.
If you are working on a cloud, you want line ministries to work together right from the conceptualisation. That is totally missing in each line ministry. They are very clear: this is my budget, I will decide how I will spend this budget until you have this thing in the framework.
But since the data has to be brought from all the departments, no one needs to be convinced whether the government needs cloud. That era is over. The focus now should be on ‘how’ to achieve a public cloud.
Deployment of cloud can be much faster if you have a designated officer who’d look after the PPP model and see if things are happening in a right manner or not.
Also, having one cloud for all agencies in the government is impractical. There have to be multiple working clouds in the ministry. The e-district project is probably a very good candidate of cloud service because it is localised but this is a national MMP (mission mode project).