Government is one of the biggest adopters of IT. The state IT secretaries play a pivotal role in inking, strategizing, and driving a range of technology initiatives. To know more about IT initiatives in India’s youngest and newest state, Dataquest caught up with Harpreet Singh, IAS, Secretary–IT, Government of Telangana, who recently inaugurated the Hyderabad edition of the ‘CMR-Dell Government Connect Deliberation Forum 2015 . Singh has served the State of Andhra Pradesh in different capacities; he was Sub Collector, Badrachalam (1993-95), Joint Collector, Khammam (1996-98), and Collector, Vizianagaram (2000-2002). His current responsibility involves promoting IT industry, fostering skill development amongst graduates, implementing IT roadmap in the State of Telangana, among other things. Excerpts
How do you see the opportunities for Telangana in the IT space?
First of all, I am greatly excited to drive the IT initiatives of India’s youngest and newest state. With that also comes a great responsibility and commitment to translate our vision into reality. The state is adopting a progressive IT roadmap driven by a dynamic IT minister. Our objective is to drive IT in this part of the world and transform it into a world-class hub not just for IT services, but foster more R&D initiatives in the form of specialized labs on emerging technologies like Internet of Things (IoT) and whole lot of other areas like skills development, a robust start-up ecosystem, eGovernance, and fostering investments into the state. All these are our top priorities.
In your earlier assignments you have been closely related to many automation initiatives, can you talk more on that?
I have always been fascinated by technology. As Secretary, Andhra Pradesh Public Service Commission, I was responsible for converting manual application system into an online system. As Commissioner of Civil Supplies, I drove e-POSS for delivery of ration through online authentication of beneficiary. It gives me great pleasure to say that I received the Aadhaar Governance Award by the Prime Minister. I will definitely apply all those key learnings in Telengana. Moreover, being the youngest and the newest state, Telangana is uniquely positioned and can even leapfrog in many areas of technology as we have ample room to learn from others and adopt great success stories and replicate it here.
What about tier-2 and -3 cities in the state?
We are giving great emphasis on the equitable distribution of IT—whether it is investments or governance. We will be creating a seamless ecosystem in which all the states, and for that matter, the whole country will benefit. It’s not just about Telangana.
What are your priorities for 2015?
The IT Minister has defined many key things to be pursued in an aggressive manner. First, skill development is what we are focusing on—this is critical for creating more jobs and bankable talent from this part of the world. Secondly, we are focusing on fostering eGovernance and digitally empowering people’s lives. With the current emphasis on domestic manufacturing, we are exploring ways and means on how Telangana can be a hub for electronics manufacturing. I agree there are many challenges but we are confident in overcoming them and transforming Telangana into a leading IT hub in India. With Social Media, Mobility, Analytics, Cloud Services (SMAC) and IoT seeing greater experimentation and adoption across the country, there is a need to evangelize the role of IT in delivering government services more effectively and at an affordable cost. As we move forward on our vision to create a Digital India, I feel partnerships between the IT solution provider community and government organizations are only going to deepen and strengthen in the years ahead.