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The National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) recently launched the FutureSkills PRIME Beta Platform, as part of its efforts to foster an ecosystem that enhances digital talent in the country.  

The programme will be offered as an online platform to encourage remote and self-paced learning. Many awareness-building modules will be free to access, allowing maximum participation. Under the programme, 412,000 learners have subsidised access to certified courses in any of the ten identified emerging technologies. These include artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of things (IoT), Big Data analytics, robotic process automation, additive manufacturing/3D printing, cloud computing, social and mobile, cybersecurity, augmented/virtual reality, and blockchain.

Debjani Ghosh, the President of NASSCOM, said, “FurutreSkillsPRIME is yet another milestone for building digital talent as a competitive advantage for the industry. Reskilling and automation emerging as the future drivers of the industry, we aim to craft a new wave of growth and innovation through a digitally skilled pool of professionals.”

FutureSkills PRIME is a part of the government’s commitment to make India the global hub of talent in emerging technologies. The initiative has funded the creation of a digital learning platform, where participants can be ‘digitally fluent’ and get certified in industry-validated and government-approved courses.

The programme also aims to benefit aspirants from tier-II and tier-III cities, including those from small and medium enterprises and women and youth who want to participate in the gig economy from their homes/remote locations.

According to a media report, some of the key features of the project are:

‘Aggregator of Aggregators’ Framework: An online aggregator platform with expanded catalogues and multiple skilling options, facilitating self-paced, and continuous learning.

Diagnostics: Registered candidates will get a diagnostic of their aptitude and capabilities to guide their choices of learning content on the portal.

Industry-Driven: Content will be created/curated directly by the industry, ensuring its relevance to the job market.

Micro-credentials: The programme framework is focused on creating a new skilling paradigm that creates value at every step.

Multiple Choice of Courses: Learners can go through courses that are online or blended, self-paced or instructor-led, paid or free, and formal or non-formal.

Government Officers Training (GOT) and Training of Trainers (ToT): The network of CDAC & NIELIT centres across India will be leveraged to train government officers and master trainers.

NSQF Alignment: Course content eligible for incentives are provided by expert training providers and will be aligned to the NSQF approved National Occupational Standards & Job Roles (level 5 and above), thus ensuring a level of standardisation and quality.

Skills Passport: A unique concept of ‘skills passport’ is an integral feature of the programme and any learning that an aspirant acquires during their re-skilling/up-skilling journey will be recorded and recognised.

Skill wallet and incentives: The skills wallet is an online digital wallet that keeps track of candidate registration and redemption of incentives. This will be introduced early next year.

Soft/professional skills: The platform will also provide learning content on professional skills. People must learn how to work with each other and with machines.

A phase-wise roll-out of additional modules on the platform will include a host of industry-aligned paid certification courses, SSC NASSCOM-validated assessments, virtual instructor-led modes of learning, government incentive scheme registration, diagnostic tools, virtual labs, among others.

Until late-2019, the world witnessed and suffered numerous emergencies and disasters like wildfires, tornados, floods, etc. as individual nations and larger geographical regions. But it was only at the end of the year that the world was hit by a global pandemic that caught everyone totally off guard.

The scale and magnitude of the pandemic have heightened the need to be more resilient and prepared to manage multiple critical threats. In order to inform and educate organisations on this crucial area, OpenGov Asia organised an OpenGovLive! Virtual Insight on 25 November 2020 to discuss Organisational Resilience 2.0.

The virtual event witnessed a full house with delegates attending from a wide range of organisations from Singapore, India, Australia and Hong Kong.

Have well-orchestrated business continuity plans backed by technology

Mohit: Partner with champions who will support you on your resilience 2.0 journey

The session was opened by Mohit Sagar, Group Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief at OpenGov Asia. Mohit started by acknowledging the fact that the pandemic has made the world realise how unprepared we were to deal with something of that magnitude.

Business continuity plans and risk mitigation strategies were never designed for a situation like this. He emphasised that it is important for organisations to learn from all this and become more resilient for the next big critical event.

Not only do organisations need to keep their people and assets safe, but must also learn to keep their businesses running. Managing critical events should become a part of the business’s DNA and should not disrupt the daily functions frequently. 

The need of the hour is to have a well-orchestrated business continuity plan that involves and takes into consideration every small aspect of an organisation’s structure and one that is backed by the latest technology.

In conclusion, Mohit advised the delegates to partner with experts who are seasoned critical management experts rather than trying to do everything on their own from scratch.

 

Everbridge’s critical event management suite will structure response and mitigate risk

Graeme: Assess, Locate, Act and Analyse to effectively manage critical events

Once Mohit set the stage for the topic at hand, Graeme Orsborn, Vice President – International CEM Business Unit, shared his views with the delegates.

Graeme started by providing a comprehensive overview of how Everbridge can assist in managing critical events. He shared ways in which critical events can impact an organisations’ people, assets and operations.

Interestingly, even today most organisations have manual, disjointed and siloed approaches to managing critical events. This makes it challenging to have them work in a synchronised manner.

The main goal of an integrated platform like the Everbridge CEM suite is to remove these silos and disjointed workflows and drive a more collaborated and effective effort.  This coordinated and cohesive environment is conducive to implementing a common platform-based strategy.

He then proposed what organisations should ideally do to effectively manage a critical event. The four necessary steps include:

  • Assess the context and severity of the event
  • Locate stakeholders and assets
  • Act by informing, notifying, rallying, mitigating and fixing the impact
  • Analyse the organisation’s performance by reporting, complying and learning

These are four components form the ethos of the Everbridge critical event management suite and everything is built on these pillars.

Graeme concluded his address by explaining how automation of the management process can help enhance organisational resilience in the new normal.

The Scottish Local Government’s phased approach of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic

Martyn: On the three-phase approach deal with the pandemic

After Graeme, Martyn Wallace, Chief Digital Officer, Scottish Local Government Digital Office gave a summary of how they managed the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Scottish government followed a phased approach comprising of 3 major phases in dealing with the global pandemic:

– Response

– Recovery and

– Renewal

In the Response Phase, they focused on establishing incident response mechanisms, cross-sectional workforces and supporting the staff to work from home.

In the Recovery Phase, they focused on digital transformation, remote learning and strengthening cybersecurity.

In the final phase of Renewal, they focused on digital maturity, review of services and accessing key data and driving insights from it.

Martyn concluded his address by sharing certain principles that governed this process. They are: 

  • instantaneous decision making 
  • empowering the workforce and organisation as a whole to work together effectively 
  • deploying tools that enable active communication 
  • working as a team without silos or egos 
  • working to achieve a common set of goals 
Mark: Opt for tech-enabled platforms that eliminate a siloed CEM approach

Organisations need to be agnostic and agile in managing critical events 

After Martyn’s insightful sharing, Mark Shortman, Principal and Head of Crisis and Resilience Consulting, Asia Pacific, Control Risks offered his take with the audience.

After briefly introducing his company, Mark explained the following three ways in which they assist organisations to solve complex issues and crisis:

  • Building secure, reliant, and resilient organisations
  • Resolving complex issues
  • Delivering growth and opportunity

He emphasised the need to be agnostic and agile in managing crisis so that business as usual is maintained with no fatigue in dealing with crises.

Mark concluded his presentation by advising the delegates to opt for the technology-enabled Control Risks and Everbridge platform with numerous response and continuity that can help organisations improve resilience.

He encouraged the delegates to share their challenges and be involved in conversations with experts so that they can choose the most suitable solution for them. 

After the informative presentations, it was now time for the interactive polling session.

On the first question about organisations’ preparedness to respond quickly and decisively to critical events, a majority of the delegates voted that they are well prepared but there is room for improvement (80%).

A delegate from a major bank in Australia shared that preparedness depends on geographical location and experience of dealing with crisis and pandemic. He also believes that increasing dependence on technology and the workforce’s inability to quickly adapt is a major challenge.

On the next question about having a companywide alert mechanism through various tech channels, the delegates seemed divided between yes, they have it all sorted out (41%) and they have some communication but not sure of its effectiveness (58%).

A participant from Singapore reflected that they have a mix of the traditional and modern ways of communicating like calling, email, SMS etc. They are also promoting using internal social media for this purpose.

On the final question about the instant access to critical information needed to evaluate risks and take proper action during emergency events, the delegates were yet again divided between they have established systems (53%) and they are looking for comprehensive, interactive visualisation platform (46%).

A delegate from an Indian agency shared that because their primary job is to keep track of this information and alert masses and engage local agencies about the impending crisis, they have well set up systems to access information quickly. But he also agreed that there is always room for improvement.

After the polling session, Graeme addressed the audience to close the session. He expressed his deep gratitude to the participants for taking the time to join the session and for their insightful contributions to the topic at hand.

He left the delegates with a simple but powerful message highlighting the importance of Prepare, Pursue, Protect and Prevent; ad these 4 Ps need to be executed with Speed, Scale and Simplicity (3Ss). These are the key components of the Everbridge Critical Event Management Suite.

Graeme urged the delegates to not let the experience from the pandemic go to waste but to learn to be better prepared and more resilient.

The virtual court for traffic and the e-Challan (official receipt) projects, which were launched earlier this month, will replace current manual challans with electronically-generated digital ones.

The e-Challan initiative was created by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH), and the software was developed by the National Informatics Centre (NIC). The virtual court is a project under the e-Committee of the Supreme Court and the Department of Justice. It is an online court managed by a virtual Judge, which is not a person but an algorithm, whose jurisdiction can be extended to the entire state and will work round-the-clock.

According to a press release, in a virtual court trial, neither a litigant nor a Judge will have to be physically present in the court for a case. Communication will only be electronic, and the sentencing and payment of the fine or compensation will also be online. Only a single process is allowed. It may be proactive admission of guilt by the accused or proactive compliance of the cause by the defendant on receipt of the summons in electronic form.

Citizens will not have to wait in lines in courts to pay fines or interact face-to-face with the traffic police. The government hopes it will increase the productivity of citizens as well as judicial officers and promote greater accountability and less corruption in the Traffic Police Department.

Currently, the country has nine functioning virtual courts- two courts in Delhi, Haryana (Faridabad), Maharashtra (Pune), Madras, Karnataka (Bengaluru), Maharashtra (Nagpur), Kerala (Kochi), and Assam (Gauhati). Over 3 million cases have been handled by seven virtual courts.

OpenGov Asia reported earlier on a similar project – India’s e-invoice initiative. It is expected to revolutionise the way businesses interact with each other. The e-invoice system, a game-changer for the GST system, was launched in October for businesses with an aggregated turnover of more than IN 5 billion (approximately US$ 67 million) in a financial year.

The government claims it is another milestone in India’s efforts to enhance ease-of-doing-business in the country. The data captured by the invoice registration portal (IRN) will flow seamlessly to the GSTR1 return of the tax-payer on the GST Common Portal, reducing the compliance burden.

Over 49.5 million e-invoices have been generated on the NIC portal by 27,400 tax-payers within the first month of the introduction of the e-Invoice system. Further, an additional 64 million e-way bills were generated during October. Starting with 8.4 million e-invoices after it was launched, the usage gradually picked up. The last day of October saw a generation of as many as 3.5 million e-invoices in a single day. It recorded the generation of 64.1 million e-way bills during October.

Considering the needs of smaller tax-payers, who need to prepare 5-10 B2B invoices in a day, NIC is in the process of developing an offline Excel-based IRN preparation and IRN printing tool. This will allow the group to enter invoice details, prepare files to upload on the NIC IRN portal, download the IRN with QR code, and print the e-invoice with a QR code.

The Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT-M) has announced it will offer two free online courses on artificial intelligence (AI) next year. These courses will be available on the National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL) platform.

According to a media report, the courses will begin in January 2021 under Professor Deepak Khemani, from IIT-M’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering. While students will be able to take the course for free, for an e-certification, they will need to pay a fee and clear an examination, which will be conducted by the institute. The certificate will be awarded by IIT-M in collaboration with the NPTEL platform.

AI: Constraint Satisfaction and Artificial Intelligence

This course is 8 weeks long and aims to teach learners AI-centric diverse problem-solving methods. The curriculum will include constraint networks, equivalent and projection networks, search methods for solving CSPs, lookahead methods, dynamic variable and value order, model-based systems, model-based diagnosis, and truth maintenance systems, among others.

AI: Knowledge Representation and Reasoning

This course is 12 weeks long and is designed for slightly advanced learners, who already understand formal languages, programming, and logic. The course is designed to train learners to become problem-solvers. The course curriculum includes proof systems, natural deduction, tableau method, resolution method, description logic (DL), structure matching, classification, default logic, autoepistemic logic, epistemic logic, and multi-agent scenarios, among others.

IIT-M recently began an online BSc programme in data science. It has seen a rise in demand for similar courses and the AI courses are mainly aimed at people who are working professionals or are pursuing another degree elsewhere. They can attend these courses part-time online and increase their qualification level. This programme is aimed at helping people acquire new skills and become job-ready.

The instructor, Prof Khemani, is an alumnus of IIT Bombay whose research focus is knowledge and memory-based reasoning. He said that a common opinion of computers is that they can do everything. The user states the problem, and the computer solves it – that is the broad goal of AI. It is a long-term goal and has not been realised yet. However, the availability of data, increases in computing power, use of AI solutions in fields like medical diagnosis, have brought it into the limelight. “[I] feel that it is important for students and specifically computer science students to opt for AI courses”, he said.

The course has garnered interest from various age groups, the majority of them are professionals. Prof Khemani noted that among the people who have registered, the oldest learners are over 80 years old and the majority are around 30 years of age. These courses are not designed to be a primary degree but a secondary one.

India is expected to become a global leader in the development of AI, which could add up to US $957 billion to India’s economy by 2035. The country hopes to stand out in the international community as a model of responsible AI use for social empowerment. The nation has robust plans to leverage AI for inclusive development, representing the country’s ‘AI for All’ strategy.

Param Siddhi, the high-performance computing-artificial intelligence (HPC-AI) supercomputer has ranked 63rd in the top 500 most powerful non-distributed computer systems in the world, according to a report released on 16 November.

The supercomputer was established under the National Supercomputing Mission (NSM) at the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC).

The AI system will strengthen the application development of packages in areas such as advanced materials, computational chemistry, and astrophysics. Several packages are being developed under the mission on the platform for drug design and preventive health care systems and flood forecasting for flood-prone metro cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Patna, and Guwahati. This will accelerate research and development in the war against COVID-19 through faster simulations, medical imaging, genome sequencing, and forecasting. A press release claimed it was a boon for Indian masses and start-ups and micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), in particular.

It will aid application developers and the testing of weather forecasting packages by the National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF) and the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM). Geo-exploration packages will aid oil and gas recovery. There are packages for aero-design studies, computational physics, mathematical applications, and even online education courses.

The supercomputer with a Rpeak of 5.267 Petaflops and 4.6 Petaflops Rmax (sustained) was conceived by C-DAC and developed jointly with support from the Department of Science and Technology (DST), under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY).

“It is a historical first. India, today, has one of the largest supercomputer infrastructures in the world. This is evidenced by the ranking that Param Siddhi-AI has received today,” Secretary, DST Professor Ashutosh Sharma noted. “I truly believe that Param Siddhi-AI will go a long way in empowering our national academic and research and development institutions as well as industries and start-ups spread over the country networked on the national supercomputer grid over the National Knowledge Network (NKN).”

He pointed out that with the infusion of Param Siddhi-AI, the scientific and technology community in the country will further be enabled and empowered to solve the multidisciplinary grand challenges of healthcare, agriculture, education, energy, cybersecurity, space, AI applications, weather and climate modelling, and urban planning.

The Param Siddhi supercomputer is built on the NVIDIA DGX SuperPOD reference architecture networking, along with C-DAC’s indigenously developed HPC-AI engine, software frameworks, and cloud platform. It will aid deep learning, visual computing, virtual reality, accelerated computing, as well as graphics virtualisation.

India is home to the world’s third-largest startup ecosystem, elite science, technology institutions like the IITs, robust and ubiquitous digital infrastructure, and millions of newly-minted STEM graduates every year. Therefore, the country is expected to become a global leader in the development of AI. Industry analysts predict that AI could add up to US$ 957 billion to India’s economy by 2035.

The government hopes to stand out in the international community not just as a leader in AI, but also as a model to show the world how to responsibly direct AI for social empowerment. The nation has robust plans to leverage AI for inclusive development, representing the country’s ‘AI for All’ strategy.

The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) constituent’s laboratory, the Structural Engineering Research Centre (SERC) has developed the emergency retrieval system (ERS). It allows for the quick retrieval of power transmission in the event of the failure of transmission line towers.

According to a press release, CSIR-SERC, which is based in Chennai, has signed an agreement for licensing of the ERS technology with Advait Infratech, Ahmedabad.

At present, the ERS systems are imported. There are very few manufacturers across the world and the cost is relatively high. This technological development will enable manufacturing in India for the first time, which will be an import substitute and will cost about 40% of imported systems. ERS has a huge market requirement in India as well as in SAARC and African countries. Hence, this technological development is a big leap forward towards Atma Nirbhar Bharat and Make in India, two of the government’s flagship programmes.

ERS is a lightweight modular system that is used as a temporary support structure to restore power immediately after the collapse of transmission line towers during natural calamities such as cyclones or earthquakes, or manmade disruptions. ERS can be assembled quickly at the disaster site for restoration of power in 2-3 days, whereas the permanent restoration may take several weeks. This development is very significant as the failure of transmission lines severely impact lives and causes huge monetary loss to the power companies. As the total losses/damages are directly proportional to the outage duration, time is a crucial factor in reinstating or remediating the damaged/fallen structures, the release noted.

Made of structurally highly stable box sections, ERS is lightweight, modular, and reusable. It provides a complete solution from member connections up to the foundation for different types of soil conditions. The system is verified through rigorous structural tests. Basic knowledge and tools are enough to assemble and install ERS at the disaster site. Suitable configurations for different voltage-class of transmission line systems are possible. The system is compact and yet provides full functionality on erection. It is designed as a scalable system for 33 to 800 kV class of power lines and can help build a disaster-resilient society.

Last month, The Union Cabinet gave its approval for signing a memorandum of cooperation (MoC) between India and Japan on bilateral cooperation in the field of information and communication technologies (ICTs), including public protection and disaster relief.

Further, the MoC will help in cooperation between two countries in various fields like 5G network, telecom security, submarine cable, certification of communication equipment, utilisation of latest wireless technologies, ICT capacity building, artificial intelligence, blockchain, spectrum chain, spectrum management, and cooperation on multilateral platforms.

The pact will contribute to strengthening bilateral cooperation and mutual understanding in the field of communications and will serve as a strategic initiative for India as Japan is an important partner with “special strategic and global partnership” status.

Governments rely on several, specific systems that often work in isolation from each other for critical event management. According to world experts in Critical Event Management, Everbridge, this approach can create duplication in information and processes, data contradictions, and could lead to loss of life and damages.

Unlike fragmented or homegrown tools, Everbridge offers the most proven modern public warning platform which delivers best of breed capabilities to help governments and public authorities keep people safe before, during, and after critical events, anytime and anywhere in the world. The Everbridge Public Warning platform delivers the most comprehensive, flexible, and modular solutions for population alerting to suit the needs of each city, state, or country.

Most organisations have business continuity plans in place, ready for a crisis. But the scale and magnitude of the COVID-19 pandemic forced them to completely rethink these plans. Managing a crisis along with all the other aspects of business is a big challenge that can make even the biggest corporations and organisations lose their bearings quickly.

To provide better visibility and direction to keep operations going, OpenGov Asia hosted an OpenGovLive! Virtual Breakfast Insight: Strengthening Operational Reliability and Agility – Always On, Always Ready Organisation. The event witnessed a 100% attendance from delegates based in India and Hong Kong and Singapore.

Mohit: Partner with people who are experts to avoid any errors and damages

The session was opened with a welcome address and a quick round of introductions by Mohit Sagar, Group Managing Director & Editor-in-Chief, OpenGov Asia.

In order to be truly resilient, organisations must leverage technology

Mohit spoke about the pains organisations are going through as they have had to physically and economically safeguard themselves along with balancing the various aspects of their business – like cybersecurity, staff well-being, customers service, regulations etc.

Despite having incident management plans in place, the pandemic caught many off-guard. In the ensuing chaos and confusion, leaders deviated from plans looking for more relevant solutions for the problems at hand.

He cautioned the audience to not have unrealistic expectations from their incident management teams as they are not capable of working miracles. Mohit strongly felt, for organisations to be truly resilient, they must adopt suitable technology. In fact, the right technology needs to be at the centre of any strategy, with people working determinedly to incorporate tech into an organisation’s incident management plan.

Mohit concluded by advising the delegates to not try and do everything on their own; rather he encouraged them to partner with those who are experts and leave space for errors.

Graeme: Keep technology at the centre and wrap people around it

After Mohit’s opening, Graeme Orsborn, Vice President, CEM Business Unit came shared insights from an Everbridge point of view.

How Everbridge can support organisations to become resilient

Graeme agreed with Mohit’s opinion on keeping technology at the centre and wrapping people around it.  Currently, organisations are going digital and there is a lot of pressure to keep systems on and always running.

He shared that Everbridge’s goal as an organisation is to shrink the response time in case an incident occurs. From their experience, when observing the average incident response, a lot of time is spent in getting the relevant information to the right people so that they can act.

To make this process more efficient, organisations need is to move away from spending unnecessary time rallying and responding to IT disruptions and eventually start automating and orchestrating the entire timeline. This puts the onus on the IT teams as the drivers of processes and business instead of supporting it.

Graeme shared that Everbridge has an effective way of troubleshooting IT disruptions by monitoring and analysing the huge volume of data for abnormal activity and using it as a trigger point for the response process to kick-in automatically without requiring human intervention. Several organisations are seeing a lot of value in these solutions. To support this position, he shared a few examples like Finastra and wordplay who have seen visible positive results from the solutions.

He concluded by encouraging the delegates to use the power of technology to remain effective and resilient.

Strengthen security to deliver world-class financial services to customers

Himanshu: Automating incident management response should be the ultimate goal

After Graeme, Himanshu Shrivastava, Managing Director and Head of Digital Technology – APAC and EMEA Global Consumer Technology addressed the audience with some insights.

Himanshu explained that his organisation’s goal in the service management space is to provide world-class service quality to customers. To meet this goal, it is imperative that all their processes be strengthened and secured with no IT disruptions or downtime. Agreeing with Graeme, he shared that there is a lot of pressure on organisations today to keep their services up and running at all times.

He went on to reveal where they are currently on their journey towards achieving their goal. They have digital command centres that have automated healing and control systems that troubleshoot whenever there is an IT incident. While robust, he acknowledged that they are still striving to improve these systems and become world-class in a true sense.

The major driver behind developing these processes is to serve our customers with the best quality services. They do this by getting constant feedback and updates via a proprietary listening mechanism powered by AI/ML that collects and analyses input. This process then is able to efficiently resolve pain points highlighted from it.

In conclusion, Himanshu detailed the initial results of their solutions and the path for the future. He was proud to share that they were able to predict and resolve several IT issues almost an hour before it could start impacting the operations. Going forward, they aim to scale this for all their customers.

After the information-rich presentations from the speakers, it was now time to engage the audience in discussions through the polling session.

On the first question about incident management automation and streamlining during an IT Incident, a major part of the audience voted that it is good but there is room for improvement (80%).

To this a Head of Governance Risk Compliance – IT from an organisation in India shared that currently they have a good automating and streamlining during an IT incident but there is a lot of unnecessary noise around it. So, they want to improve their current system that directs them to the relevant solution filtering out the unnecessary noise.

On the next question about the preferred way of communication with the team during major incident management, most delegates voted that they use multi-modal methods like voice, SMS, E-mail, etc to communicate (36%).

To this, a senior delegate from a tech organization in Singapore shared that they do use the multiple channels for communication generally but if they have to convey a message very urgently, they use SMS and voice call as the response expectation is higher in these modes.

On the final question about having a system in place that evaluates the business value your organisation receives from the SLA’s as well as the time and cost of monitoring and administering those agreements, most delegates voted that they do not have a system in place to do a proper evaluation (50%).

A senior delegate from India reflected that they have a system in place to validate SLA’S IN terms of the time etc. But except for penalty cases, they do not relegate any money matters to that system. Their system is still maturing and they hope to incorporate this in it.

After the polling session, Graeme addressed the delegates to bring the session to a close. He thanked the audience for contributing to the discussion and congratulated on the tough jobs they have been doing for the past few months.

Graeme encouraged them to leverage technology to overcome the IT challenges they are currently facing and assured that the Everbridge team is always available to assist and support them.

The National e-Governance Division (NeGD), in partnership with National Law Institute University, Bhopal, launched an Online PG Diploma programme on ‘Cyber Law, Crime Investigation & Digital Forensics’ on 9 November 2020.

Hosted on NeGD’s Digital Learning Management System (LMS), the programme is a nine-month online post-graduate diploma course in Cyber Law, Crime Investigation and Digital Forensics.

NeGD’s Learning Management System (LMS), built as part of its Capacity Building Scheme, caters to the needs and requirements of learning and development of government departments envisaged in the National Programme for Civil Services Capacity Building (‘NPCSCB’) – “Mission Karmayogi.”

Falling within the ambit of the Digital India Programme, the course is being offered to 1000 officials in collaboration with NLIU Bhopal. So far, a total of 542 participants has been selected. The programme aims to enable police officers, state cyber cells, law enforcement agencies, prosecutors and judicial officers to acquire the requisite skills to deal with cyber forensics cases efficiently and effectively as per the Indian Cyber Law. The course will also help the participants adopt global best practices, standards and guidelines.

A Cyber Forensics Lab is being established at the National Law University (NLU) Delhi to facilitate this course. Other law schools/ universities like National Law School of India University (Bangalore), Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law (Patiala) etc., will also be involved in the future.

The programme features over 100 hours of content developed by key stakeholders. Commenting on the evolution of the programme, Shri Abhishek Singh, IAS, P&CEO, NeGD, and CEO, MyGov India said it was heterogeneous with participation from judges, officers from police and the customs, judicial and prosecution officers.

Chief Secretary and State Vigilance Commissioner – Government of Meghalaya said that the course will be extremely useful to the Law Enforcement Agencies. He shared there had been an increase of nearly 60% in cyber cases during the pandemic as compared to the period between 2018 and 2019.

One of the positive fallouts of COVID-19, he opined,  was an increase in the use of Digital Technology. The flip side to this was that it has led to a rise in the number of cybercrime cases and highlighted the following challenges including fraudulent business transactions, obscene content and defamation and fake news.

Rapid location and identification of cybercriminals was an issue along with a delayed response from service providers. Other problems are a lack of timely information that hampers investigation as well as the location of data in servers outside the country. Knowledge, technology and tools were much needed to cope with increased sophistication in cybercrime. In addition to technologies and capacity building, creating general awareness among citizens were critical drivers for this initiative.

Business dynamics and technology challenges also played a major role in handling cybercrime cases which have been the major drivers in designing the course in collaboration with experts and academia along with NeGD.

Investigational expertise along with well-trained prosecutors and requirement of higher technical education and continuous capacity building of judges was much needed to handle cybercrimes. The course has been designed to maintain the balance of technology and the importance of practical scenarios.

Secretary, Ministry of Law, Anoop Kumar Mendritta emphasised the increased participation of prosecution and judicial officers and the need to move towards Data Investigation from Data Governance to increase in disposal rate. He said that 22% of cases are disposed of due to lack of evidence with high pendency and low conviction rate which requires increased participation. He pointed out that there was a complete mismatch between Investigation and Judicial officers which will be addressed by creating a pool of digital forensic experts and increased academic collaboration.

Secretary-MeitY-Shri Ajay Sawhney, who inaugurated the programme, said that this curriculum is a first-of-its-kind designed after consultation with many experts in collaboration with academia and a state-of-the-art forensic lab playing a role in imparting skillsets to all officers and this was just the beginning of Skill and Capacity Building in Cybercrime in future.

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