In sync with the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government’s Digital India initiative, the ministry of electronics and information technology (IT) plans to bring in private operators to provide cloud-based services for government departments, according to government officials.
As part of the exercise aimed at facilitating various e-governance initiatives, the ministry has shortlisted 11 firms including Microsoft India Pvt. Ltd, IBM India Pvt. Ltd, Tata Communications Ltd and Sify Technologies Ltd, among others, for empanelment to offer cloud services for an initial period of two years. This period can be extended by another year.
Currently, the government departments are dependent on data centres of the National Informatics Centre (NIC), under the IT ministry. NIC has set up national data centres at the NIC headquarters, New Delhi, Pune and Hyderabad, and 30 small data centres at various state capitals to provide services to the government. As many as 250 government departments and entities avail the national cloud services from NIC data centres.
Under a two-way bid evaluation process—a prequalification round and a technical round—four companies could not qualify.
Cloud service providers offer a system wherein data can be stored on a remote server and accessed from there for computing. This does away with the requirement to have on-premise servers and maintenance issues.
The cloud-based services initiative is expected to enable government departments and ministries to move towards consumption-based billing—a pay-per-use model. It will also speed up the development of information and communications technology-enabled applications through shared virtualised cloud services and enable a self-service portal for provisioning of IT infrastructure resources, besides reducing implementation time.
The bidders have been selected keeping in mind security and privacy issues, adding a meeting to finalize the private service providers was held last week and selected bidders will be informed soon.
The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government had earlier announced the MeghRaj policy to provide strategic direction for adoption of cloud services. It had proposed to set up a GI Cloud, for the government of India’s cloud computing environment.
GI Cloud will be a set of discrete cloud computing environments spread across multiple locations.
By Baishakhi Dutta