Government & Industry Come Together to Unveil White Paper on Benefits of IoT in Disaster Management

The Digital India Action Group (DIAG), a think tank established for ideating and monitoring policy initiatives to support the Indian Government’s mission of Digital India, set up by Manufacturers’ Association of Information Technology (MAIT) announced the unveiling of a white paper on “IoT for Effective Disaster Management”. The white paper aims to create awareness and appreciation about the potential use and application of IoT for different aspects of disaster management.

Launching the white paper, Shri Kiren Rijiju, Hon’ble Minister of State for Home Affairs, Govt. of India said, “Information technology has played a key role in changing the face of our country and noteworthy initiatives like Digital India are encouraging us to push the boundaries of innovation. I am happy that industry bodies such as MAIT have taken the lead in helping the government devise proactive policies and plans, and suggest ways to most effectively deploy Information and Communication Technologies to mitigate the effects of disasters.”

The white paper recommends a ‘Seven-Point Action Plan’ to shift from a ‘relief and recovery’ model to ‘risk and vulnerability assessment’ and address key issues and challenges related to management of natural and man-made disasters in India. In this hyper-connected era, Internet of Things (IoT) plays an important role by interconnecting intelligent devices for the purpose of sharing information. It also provides early warnings through sensor based technologies, thereby creating innovative and effective systems for disaster management.

The white paper also highlights the importance of real-time information management for effective preparation, planning, response and mitigation of disasters. It places emphasis on the IoT as a technology domain, which can pave the way for a radical and pioneering approach to minimize losses caused due to disasters. Leading technology giant SAP India collaborated with MAIT along with other players from the DIAG in order to create the white paper.

According to Ms. Debjani Ghosh, MAIT President, “There is a realization that as a country we need to build a culture of disaster preparedness at all levels. The white paper sheds light on the need to build capacity at the central, state and district levels, empower and train volunteers while ensuring focus on vulnerable groups. It also reveals that learning from past disasters and knowledge sharing is an important goal that can be fulfilled by effective deployment of ICT solutions.”

Mr. Deb Deep Sengupta, President and Managing Director, SAP Indian Subcontinent said, “The opportunities for application of technologies in disaster management are significant. One such revolution is IoT, which will help to not only respond but also predict and help react on a real-time basis. These predictions and correlations will be transformational. We are happy to have contributed to this initiative which is the first step towards managing future calamities and making lives better.”

The white paper was unveiled by Hon’ble Minister of State for Home Affairs, Govt. of India, Shri Kiren Rijiju; Ms. Debjani Ghosh, President, MAIT and Mr. Deb Deep Sengupta, President & MD, SAP Indian Subcontinent. Also present on the occasion were senior Government of India officers Dr. V K Saraswat, Member, NITI Aayog; Mr. R K Jain, Member Secretary, NDMA and leadership team members from Accenture.

IoT in Effective Disaster Management
The National Disaster Management Act was passed in December 2005 and envisaged the setting-up of a national, state and district level multi-agency structure headed by the Prime Minister of India, with the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) as the nodal ministry. The IoT white paper recommends a ‘Seven-Point Action Plan’ to shift from a ‘relief and recovery’ model to ‘risk and vulnerability assessment’ and address key issues and challenges related to management of natural and man-made disasters in India. In this hyper-connected era, Internet of Things (IoT) plays an important role by interconnecting intelligent devices for the purpose of sharing information. It also provides early warnings through sensor based technologies, thereby creating innovative and effective systems for disaster management.
The white paper also highlights the importance of real-time information management for effective preparation, planning, response and mitigation of disasters. It places emphasis on the IoT as a technology domain, which can pave the way for a radical and pioneering approach to minimize losses caused due to disasters.
Highlights of the IoT White Paper
Impact of Disasters: Some Salient Highlights about India
  1. 57% land area of India is vulnerable to earthquakes. Of these, 12% is vulnerable to severe earthquakes.
  2. 68% land is vulnerable to drought.
  3. 12% land is vulnerable to floods.
  4. 8% land is vulnerable to cyclones.
  5. Many cities in India are also vulnerable to chemical, industrial and other man-made disasters. 
Benefits of IoT in Disaster Management
  1. Agencies gain a clear picture of operations with real-time visibility of data.
  2. Agencies can model data from multiple sources, transform it into accessible, actionable intelligence for faster, better-informed decisions.
  3. Create a single, federated information hub.
  4. Build and information back-bone which all parties – government agencies, NGOs, infrastructure operators and community – can contribute to and work from.
  5. Increase collaboration and interoperability.
  6. Gain by accessing cutting-edge technology – Big Data, Cloud Computing, mobile technologies and intuitive analytics to streamline and optimize all emergency management processes.
Issues and Challenges
  1. Technology and Infrastructure related issues: Ensuring last-mile connectivity, improvement in bandwidth to ensure feasibility of IoT deployments, enhancing IT-Electronics device manufacturing base in India, effective network planning for deployment of large numbers of M2M devices while ensuring low energy consumption, addressing privacy and security concerns at the Telecom Operator/Service Provider level as well as sensor/device level.
  2. Organizational and Institutional issues: Limited capacity of deploying ICTs in general and IoT in particular within disaster management organizations, framework for industry participation in all IoT initiatives, knowledge sharing amongst states and union territories, lack of adequate information at the state/district levels.
  3. Policy and Regulatory issues: Need to evolve and notify an IoT policy and roadmap for India, especially with regard to cloud offerings. 

Recommendations: The MAIT DIAG Seven-Point Action Plan

DAIG recommend that the various issues and challenges highlighted above can be addressed through the following ‘Seven-Point Action Plan’:
  1. Release of cloud security and related guidelines as part of the ‘Digital India’ policy framework.
  2. Inclusion of ICT in Disaster Management in the National Skills Development Framework and Plan.
  3. Release of IoT Policy for India.
  4. Development of framework for continuous industry participation in planning for disaster management.
  5. Back-end applications for asset management with disaster management authorities.
  6. Knowledge portal for sharing experiences and best practices.
  7. A comprehensive plan for prevention of cyber disasters. 
Source: MAIT DIAG White Paper “IoT for Effective Disaster Management”, June 2016
 
Aadhaar-Enablement: Foundation for Citizen-Centric Governance
Deploying Aadhaar-enabled systems can transform the relationship between citizens and the government. There is an opportunity for government to engage much more deeply with citizens and significantly enhance the quality of service delivery by using a reliable authentication system.
According to the MAIT DIAG White Paper, Aadhaar generation in the country has crossed 99 crore, which covers 83% of the entire population of the country and more than 95% of the adult population.
Highlights of the Aadhaar Enablement White Paper
Viewed in the context of Aadhaar, the improved connectivity for citizens in all four corners of the country arising out of programs such as Digital India, alternative authentication mechanisms such as the use of Smart Cards have been clearly disrupted. Indeed government departments would be well advised to focus on enabling connectivity for Aadhaar rather than seeking alternative authentication mechanisms such as Smart Cards. Similarly, Aadhaar based e-Sign would replace all token based digital signatures.
Characteristics of Aadhaar-Enabled Citizen Services
Aadhaar-enablement allows for:
1.    Tracking the service delivery process end-to-end,
2.     Demand driven, portable service delivery,
3.     Access to relevant MIS and empowerment of the beneficiary, and
4.     Improved Accountability and Vigilance.
Aadhaar Role in Management of G2C Service Delivery Lifecycle
Aadhaar can play a role in supporting service delivery implementation, improving efficiency and effectiveness with interventions at each stage of the lifecycle:
a)     Planning,
b)     Application Submission,
c)     Eligibility Check,
d)     Service Delivery and
e)     Legacy Data/System Re-engineering.
Aadhaar Benefits to User Organizations – Government/Public/Private/Social Sector
Aadhaar allows multi-faceted benefits to user organisations:
a)     Aadhaar serves as a Proof of Identity/Proof of Address (PoI/PoA) thereby enhancing inclusion;
b)     Aadhaar as a financial address enables Direct Benefits Transfer (DBT);
c)     Aadhaar as eKYC serves as a paperless KYC enabler, and
d)     Aadhaar reduces leakages in subsidies and payments due to elimination of duplicates, fakes and ghosts.
The last  benefit listed above would be a direct factor of Aadhaar penetration among the base of beneficiaries for a given scheme, that is, highest possible effectiveness would only occur when all target beneficiaries for a given scheme have Aadhaar.
 
Government Savings: Rs. 27,000 crore Saved in Two Years with Aadhaar Enablement
As per recent reports, Government of India estimates a total saving of Rs. 27,000 crore has been realised in the last two years by seeding Aadhaar in various welfare schemes and enabling Direct Benefits Transfer (DBT); this includes government schemes like PAHAL  (for LPG cooking gas) and payment of wages under MGNREGS. In 2015-16, fund transfers worth Rs. 61,000 crore were made through DBT to over 30 crore beneficiaries – of which Rs. 25,000 crore was in the form of MGNREGS wages and Rs. 21,000 crore in PAHAL.
 
Source: MAIT DIAG White Paper “Aadhaar Enablement: A Framework for Citizen-Centric Services”, June 2016
@Technuter.com News Service

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