February 29, 2024

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The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has embarked on a pioneering journey with the introduction of the ‘Sangam: Digital Twin‘ initiative, poised to revolutionise infrastructure planning and design in India. This visionary undertaking invites expressions of interest from a diverse array of stakeholders, ranging from industry leaders and startups to academia and innovators.

Image adapted from: sangam.sancharsaathi.gov.in

Anchored in Digital Twin technology, Sangam represents a paradigm shift in infrastructure development, harnessing the power of virtual replicas to optimise planning processes and drive transformative outcomes.

At its core, Sangam: Digital Twin represents a convergence of technology, collaboration, and innovation, aimed at reshaping the infrastructure landscape in India. The initiative is structured in two distinct stages, each designed to unlock creative potential and pave the way for practical implementation.

The exploratory phase sets the stage for visionary thinking and ideation, while the subsequent demonstration phase focuses on tangible use cases, laying the groundwork for scalable solutions.

Sangam draws upon a rich tapestry of technological advancements, spanning 5G, IoT, AI, AR/VR, AI native 6G, Digital Twin, and next-gen computational technologies. This comprehensive suite of tools empowers stakeholders to navigate complexities and uncertainties with precision, leveraging real-time data and simulations to inform decision-making and drive innovation. By integrating cutting-edge technologies, Sangam establishes a solid foundation for future-ready infrastructure planning and design.

At its essence, Sangam embodies a spirit of collaboration and inclusivity, transcending traditional boundaries to engage stakeholders across sectors. Public entities, infrastructure planners, tech titans, startups, and academic institutions converge on a unified platform, pooling their collective intelligence to tackle shared challenges and seize emerging opportunities. This holistic approach not only fosters innovation but also nurtures a culture of knowledge-sharing and cross-pollination, propelling the nation towards sustainable development.

Beyond theoretical frameworks, Sangam prioritises practical implementation and scalability, with a keen eye on delivering tangible outcomes. Through targeted use cases and pilot projects, stakeholders gain valuable insights into the application of Digital Twin technology across diverse domains, from transportation and urban planning to healthcare and education.

By developing scalable models and best practices, Sangam sets the stage for widespread adoption, catalysing a ripple effect of innovation across the infrastructure ecosystem.

As Sangam gains momentum, it presents a myriad of opportunities for stakeholders to actively participate in shaping the future of infrastructure in India. Pre-registration and engagement with Sangam’s outreach programs offer avenues for collaboration, networking, and knowledge exchange, fostering a vibrant ecosystem of innovation and entrepreneurship. However, realising the full potential of Sangam requires concerted efforts to address challenges such as data privacy, interoperability, and regulatory frameworks, ensuring that innovation is balanced with accountability and ethical considerations.

The unveiling of the ‘Sangam: Digital Twin’ initiative marks a transformative moment in India’s journey towards sustainable development and technological leadership. By harnessing the power of Digital Twin technology and fostering collaboration across sectors, Sangam paves the way for a future where infrastructure is not only efficient and resilient but also inclusive and equitable. As stakeholders unite behind the shared vision of Sangam, they embark on a collective endeavour to shape a brighter, more prosperous future for generations to come.

In a rapidly evolving technological landscape that fuels innovation and economic prosperity, Dr. Neeraj Mittal, Secretary of Telecom and Chairman of the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), underscored the crucial role of standards in facilitating technology adoption and securing commercial viability. The commendable efforts of TEC in setting standards for Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) were acknowledged, highlighting the significant contribution of such initiatives in pushing forward the boundaries of quantum technology.

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These points resonated powerfully during the inauguration of the Second International Quantum Communication Conclave. The event served as a common platform for diverse stakeholders – ranging from researchers and academia to industries and government bodies – united in their mission to promote standardisation activities and forge fruitful collaborations.

Aligned with the nation’s vision to position India as a global hub for Quantum Technologies, the conclave convened a diverse ensemble of experts from premier academic and research institutions, industries, and startups.

As India emerges as a potential leader in quantum technology, fueled by its robust research ecosystem and the innovative spirit of its startup community, a firm commitment from DoT to support and nurture startups in this domain is essential to seize this opportune moment.

This commitment was further solidified through a memorandum of understanding with the Pan-IIT USA network, aimed at facilitating global collaboration and mentorship in high-technology projects.

Beyond its role as a forum for knowledge exchange, the event sought to catalyse collaborative endeavours in Quantum Technologies and promote the formulation of standardised protocols and frameworks.

Notably, participants were treated to an array of demonstrations showcasing cutting-edge solutions, including Quantum Key Distribution Systems, Quantum-safe secure IP phones, Hardware Security Modules, Quantum chipsets, and Quantum Random Number Generators.

Dr Mittal reflected on the success of the previous International Quantum Communication Conclave, stressing the need to demystify quantum technology for broader public awareness. He reaffirmed DoT’s dedication to fostering innovation and collaboration in emerging technologies, expressing optimism for future quantum advancements.

Apart from its technological implications, the forum served as a platform for envisioning the transformative potential of Quantum Technologies across diverse sectors, including healthcare, energy, finance, telecommunications, and defence. Through concerted efforts and synergistic partnerships between industry players, academia, and government agencies, India stands poised to not only chart new frontiers in the global quantum landscape but also drive ground-breaking innovations that address societal challenges and propel economic growth.

In essence, the Second International Quantum Communication Conclave stands as a testament to India’s unwavering commitment to technological excellence and collaborative innovation. As the nation embarks on its journey towards quantum supremacy, guided by the principles of standardisation, collaboration, and inclusive growth, the stage is set for a quantum leap in India’s technological prowess on the global stage.

OpenGov Asia reported on the inaugural meeting of the Mission Governing Board (MGB) of the National Quantum Mission (NQM) which marked a significant leap in India’s pursuit of quantum technology advancement.

With a budget allocation of Rs. 6003.65 Crore (US$ 722 million) over eight years, the NQM aims to foster scientific and industrial R&D, positioning India as a global leader in Quantum Technologies & Applications (QTA) and creating a dynamic ecosystem for quantum technology development.

The board extensively deliberated on implementation strategies, including the establishment of a pivotal Mission Coordination Cell (MCC) and four thematic hubs dedicated to Quantum Computing, Quantum Communication, Quantum Sensing & Metrology, and Quantum Materials & Devices.

The central focus of the discussion revolved around the promotion of manpower development and the empowerment of startups. It underscored the critical need for enhancing human capacity through the empowerment of hubs and stressed the importance of industry engagement in technology and funding collaborations, advocating for the development of indigenous systems.

In a major stride towards technological empowerment, the inaugural Digital India FutureSKILLS Summit unfolded in Guwahati, ushering in a new era of opportunity and innovation for Assam and the entire nation. The summit, attended by leaders from industry and academia, marked a pivotal moment in India’s quest to become a global leader in emerging technologies.

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Union Minister of State for Electronics and IT, Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, and Jal Shakti, Shri Rajeev Chandrasekhar, took centre stage to announce a monumental development for Assam – the establishment of the state’s first-ever semiconductor packaging plant, valued at nearly Rs 25,000 Crore.

This landmark announcement, made during the summit, underscored Assam’s evolving role as a hub for technological excellence, poised to drive economic growth and foster local talent development.

Minister Chandrasekhar lauded the visionary leadership of Hon’ble CM Hemanta Biswa Sarma, whose foresight and collaborative spirit paved the way for this transformative initiative. With the semiconductor plant set to be established in partnership with the Assam Government and a business conglomerate, aspiring young Indians in Assam can now pursue their dreams within the state, eliminating the need to seek opportunities elsewhere.

The significance of Assam’s foray into the semiconductor industry extends beyond economic considerations; it represents a paradigm shift in India’s technological landscape. By leveraging indigenous talent and fostering local innovation, Assam is poised to become a key player in shaping India’s digital future.

Reflecting on India’s remarkable journey, Minister Chandrasekhar stressed the importance of initiatives like FutureSKILLS in nurturing a future-ready workforce. As India emerges as a global economic powerhouse, the need for skilled professionals in emerging sectors like AI, cybersecurity, and semiconductors has never been greater. The summit serves as a rallying cry for India’s youth to embrace these opportunities and equip themselves with the necessary skills to thrive in the digital age.

FutureSKILLS embodies India’s commitment to technological advancement and inclusive growth. By empowering youth from diverse backgrounds and regions, including Guwahati, with cutting-edge skills, the initiative aims to democratise access to opportunities and foster a culture of innovation across the country.

The summit witnessed a convergence of industry leaders, policymakers, and technology enthusiasts, united in their vision to propel India towards digital leadership on the global stage. Through strategic collaborations with leading industry players and academia, NIELIT, the organising body, seeks to bridge the gap between theoretical knowledge and practical industry demands. By aligning educational programs with real-world requirements, NIELIT aims to ensure that India’s workforce remains agile, adaptable, and globally competitive.

Key speakers at the summit, representing top-tier organisations, articulated a shared vision of India as a powerhouse of innovation and talent. They emphasised the need for concerted efforts to nurture homegrown talent and capitalise on India’s vast potential in emerging technologies.

With AI, cybersecurity, and semiconductor industries poised for exponential growth, India stands at the cusp of a digital revolution, with Assam poised to play a central role in this transformative journey.

In addition to the strategic collaborations forged at the summit, thought-provoking panel discussions explored key themes such as Semicon India, IndiaAI, Cybersecurity & Emerging Technologies, and Digital India’s Talent for the Global Workforce. These discussions underscored the imperative of collective action in harnessing India’s demographic dividend and positioning the nation as a global leader in technology and innovation.

The summit not only showcased Assam’s potential as a digital powerhouse but also reaffirmed India’s status as a frontrunner in the global tech landscape, poised to shape the future of technology and drive inclusive growth across the nation.

Telecommunication Engineering Centre (TEC), the technical arm of the Department of Telecommunications (DOT), Ministry of Communications, has inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with AMRITA UNIVERSITY, aiming to spearhead innovation in the realm of Trustworthy and Responsible Artificial Intelligence Systems.

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TEC, as the recognised Standards Setting Organisation (SSO) in the telecommunications and related ICT sector in India, plays a pivotal role in formulating standards for telecom and related ICT equipment, networks, systems, and services deployed across the Indian Telecom Network.

Responsible AI underscores the importance of unbiased and equitable AI/Machine Learning (ML) systems. In response, TEC has introduced a Standard for Fairness Assessment and Rating of Artificial Intelligence Systems.

Drawing from comprehensive stakeholder consultations and domain expert inputs, TEC introduced the New Standard (No. TEC 57050:2023) for “Fairness Assessment and Rating of Artificial Intelligence Systems” on July 7, 2023. This Standard delineates meticulous procedures for evaluating and rating the fairness of artificial intelligence systems.

Through collaboration with Amrita University, efforts are underway to create tools for systematic bias risk assessment and to establish a robust framework for certifying the fairness and reliability of AI technologies.

Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, established under Section 3 of the UGC Act 1956, stands as a multi-campus, multi-disciplinary research university, rated among the top research universities in India.

The collaboration underscores a shared commitment to addressing biases in AI systems and advancing fairness assessments, aligning with the Government of India’s objectives and fostering public trust in these transformative technologies.

At the core of this collaboration lies the endeavour to develop tools for systematic bias risk assessment and establish a robust framework for certifying the fairness and reliability of AI technologies. This initiative gains further significance with the recent release of a Standard for Fairness Assessment and Rating of Artificial Intelligence Systems by TEC, following extensive stakeholder consultations.

Highlighting the transformative potential of this collaboration, Smt Tripti Saxena, Senior Deputy Director General at TEC, emphasised its capacity to drive groundbreaking solutions for fairness assessment and rating of AI systems. By bridging the gap between academia and government bodies, this MoU paves the way for rigorous research and reinforces India’s leadership in AI innovation.

Earlier, TEC forged a partnership with the Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology, Delhi (IIIT-Delhi), aimed at developing innovation in trustworthy and responsible artificial intelligence (AI) systems.

This collaboration, formalised through a memorandum of understanding (MoU), underscores the shared commitment of both entities to pioneer advancements in responsible AI. Highlighting the importance of addressing biases in AI systems and promoting fairness in assessments, the agreement seeks to enhance public trust and confidence in these transformative technologies, aligning with the strategic goals set forth by the government for the AI industry.

Given the increasing adoption of AI and machine learning (ML) across various sectors and their demonstrated efficacy in public service delivery and e-governance, ensuring equality and impartiality in AI systems has become imperative. Unintended biases in AI applications can lead to a myriad of ethical, social, and legal concerns, necessitating proactive measures to mitigate their impact.

Bias can infiltrate AI systems through various pathways and at different stages of the data and AI lifecycle, potentially influencing other components of AI. Algorithms trained on biased data are known to perpetuate disparities in outcomes, placing certain groups at a disadvantage.

Under this collaborative initiative, TEC and IIIT-Delhi will develop tools to systematically assess bias risks and establish a robust framework for evaluating and certifying the fairness and reliability of AI technologies.

In a significant move towards inclusive development, the Indian government has taken decisive steps to implement the National Geospatial Policy 2022 (NGP), significantly expanding access to spatial data and revolutionising citizen services across the nation. Spearheaded by the Ministry of Science and Technology, this policy marks a pivotal moment in India’s technological evolution, aiming to position the country as a global leader in the geospatial sector.

Geospatial information, encompassing the physical locations of geographic features and their interrelationships, holds immense potential for driving innovation and progress in various sectors. Recognising this, the NGP is designed as a citizen-centric initiative, with a primary focus on liberalising and democratising the geospatial sector. It sets forth a comprehensive vision, strategic goals, and action plans for fostering holistic development in this field.

Key objectives of the NGP include the enhancement of geospatial infrastructure, the fortification of data management frameworks, and the empowerment of stakeholders through unrestricted access to geospatial data and services. To achieve these goals, the Department of Science and Technology (DST) is leading efforts to facilitate the utilisation of geospatial data through open platforms at both national and sub-national levels.

One of the cornerstones of the NGP is its emphasis on fostering a robust geospatial ecosystem conducive to innovation, capacity building, and entrepreneurship. By promoting spatial thinking and knowledge enhancement, the policy aims to catalyse the effective utilisation of geospatial resources across various domains. Moreover, it seeks to empower local enterprises by encouraging the generation and utilisation of their own geospatial data, thereby enhancing their global competitiveness.

In line with the principles of Atmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India), the NGP emphasises the promotion of open standards, data, and platforms. By dismantling barriers such as prior approvals, security clearances, and licensing requirements, the policy streamlines access to geospatial data, fostering a more conducive environment for innovation and enterprise development.

Looking towards the future, the NGP envisions the establishment of high-resolution topographical surveys and mapping initiatives by 2030, along with the development of a highly accurate Digital Elevation Model (DEM) for the nation. These ambitious endeavours aim to support the growth of startups and reduce dependence on foreign entities in the geospatial domain.

Speaking on the transformative impact of the NGP, DST Secretary Professor Abhay Karandikar emphasised its role in driving inclusion and progress, as highlighted by the Prime Minister at the UN World Geospatial International Congress. Through the liberalisation of geospatial data access, the policy has revolutionised the utilisation of spatial data, ultimately benefiting the populace.

In addition to streamlining governance frameworks and improving data infrastructure, the NGP has introduced initiatives such as the pan-India Continuously Operating Reference Stations (CORS) Network and the SVAMITVA Scheme. These initiatives aim to enhance the availability and accessibility of location data, further fueling innovation and development across sectors.

Furthermore, the NGP is poised to catalyse the growth of a vibrant geospatial industry in India, with active participation from both public and private enterprises. By fostering an ecosystem conducive to innovation and technology adoption, the policy aims to establish the country as a global leader in the geospatial domain.

In conclusion, the National Geospatial Policy 2022 stands as a beacon of technological advancement and inclusive development in India. With its focus on fostering innovation and increasing access to spatial data, the policy serves as a vital tool in realising the Prime Minister’s vision of a prosperous and technologically advanced India.

India aims to develop indigenous technology to achieve self-reliance and foster innovation in various sectors. OpenGov Asia reported that CDAC Thiruvananthapuram, as part of the InTranSE Programme by MeitY, transferred three indigenous technologies to 12 industries during the launch of the “Digital India FutureLABS Summit 2024”.

The Centre for Climate Change Research (CCCR) at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), under the Ministry of Earth Sciences, has successfully developed the first-ever indigenous Earth System Model (ESM) known as the IITM-ESM.

This major achievement marks a significant milestone in India’s climate research efforts, with the IITM-ESM playing a pivotal role in climate change assessments. Notably, the model was utilised in the latest Sixth Assessment Report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), highlighting its importance on the global stage.

Image credits: IITM Earth System Model, pdf

The accurate prediction of Asian monsoon rainfall in the face of climate change is crucial, as over one-fifth of the global population relies heavily on the monsoon. However, existing climate models struggle to adequately represent monsoon precipitation and variability, particularly in regions like India.

To meet this critical need, the Centre for Climate Change Research (CCCR) has developed the IITM-ESM Earth System Model, aiming to provide reliable future projections of monsoon rainfall in India. Developed based on a collaboration between the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) in India and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the USA, the IITM-ESM builds upon the Climate Forecast System version 2 (CFSv2) to transform a seasonal prediction model into a long-term climate model.

The first version of the IITM ESM (ESMv1) demonstrated significant enhancements in simulating sea surface temperature and capturing major climate variabilities linked to the Indian summer monsoon. Subsequent improvements in the latest version (IITM-ESM2.0) aim to establish a radiatively-balanced global climate modelling framework, essential for predicting long-term climate change.

Notably, the model incorporates the radiative effects of natural and anthropogenic aerosols by specifying time-varying 3-dimensional fields of aerosol optical properties. Furthermore, it integrates land-use and land-cover changes using the land harmonisation dataset (LUH2), resulting in improved simulations of sea ice distribution, ocean biogeochemistry, and mean precipitation across the Asian monsoon region.

Of particular significance is the IITM-ESM’s enhanced representation of the mean state over the Indo-Pacific region and the improvement in large-scale circulation patterns, including the Walker and Hadley circulations and their associated teleconnections.

Importantly, the model realistically depicts ENSO-Monsoon teleconnections, addressing a longstanding weakness in many climate models. As part of its contribution to the forthcoming Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 6th phase of the Coupled Modeling Inter-comparison Project (CMIP6), IITM will provide DECK, historic, and GMMIP simulations, marking a significant milestone for climate modelling efforts originating from India.

In a significant step towards promoting climate resilience and informed decision-making, the National Climate Change Assessment report, which documents regional climate change projections based on the IITM-ESM, has been released. This comprehensive report serves as a valuable resource for students, researchers, and policymakers, providing insights into the anticipated impacts of climate change at a regional level.

Moreover, recognising the critical importance of advancing climate forecasting capabilities, substantial funding amounting to Rs. 192.28 crores has been allocated to IITM-CCCR for the Monsoon Convection, Clouds, and Climate Change (MC4) sub-scheme. This funding, spanning the period from 2017 to 2023, underscores the commitment towards enhancing India’s capacity for climate prediction and adaptation strategies. For access to the National Climate Change Assessment report and further information, interested parties can visit the link.

OpenGov Asia reported that India is actively pursuing the development of indigenous technological and digital solutions across all sectors and fields, aiming to enhance self-reliance and bolster its position as a global leader in innovation. The country is investing in R&D initiatives to create homegrown solutions. In alignment with India’s pursuit of self-reliance, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is championing initiatives to foster ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ by developing indigenous technologies.

In a significant stride towards digitalisation, Fair Price Shops (FPSs) in the Una and Hamirpur districts of Himachal Pradesh have become the first to onboard the Open Network Digital Commerce (ONDC), marking a pivotal moment in India’s digital commerce landscape.

Spearheaded by Shri Sanjeev Chopra, Secretary of the Department of Food and Public Distribution, Government of India, this pilot initiative aims to modernise FPS operations and provide additional income streams for dealers while enhancing beneficiary satisfaction.

The launch event, conducted virtually across 11 FPSs, signifies a crucial step towards leveraging digital platforms to transform traditional retail practices. Shri Chopra emphasised the potential of ONDC to empower FPS dealers by granting them visibility in the digital marketplace, access to a wider customer base, and the ability to compete on par with larger retailers and e-commerce platforms.

This initiative not only enhances the efficiency of FPS operations but also addresses challenges faced by beneficiaries in making online purchases, offering them the convenience of ordering through FPS dealers. With MicroSave Consulting (MSC) providing support, the success of this pilot project in Himachal Pradesh is poised to set a precedent for statewide and nationwide adoption, paving the way for a more inclusive and digitally empowered retail ecosystem.

As of the end of last year, the Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) has successfully onboarded over 2.3 Lakh sellers and service providers, spanning small, medium, and large enterprises, as well as mobility drivers, facilitated through various seller network participants. Distinctly, ONDC operates as a network rather than a platform, enabling the seamless transaction of both products and services without a centralised monitoring system.

To foster awareness and facilitate adaptation among small businesses, ONDC has implemented various initiatives, including collaboration with industry associations for nationwide awareness workshops. It also works closely with state and union territory departments, appointing Nodal Officers to drive state-level engagements and organising awareness campaigns and workshops across the country.

Additionally, ONDC’s Feet on Street programme supports Network Participants in educating sellers about ONDC’s benefits, facilitating onboarding, and offering hand-holding support, while the ONDC Academy serves as an educational hub, providing guidance and best practices for a successful e-commerce journey for all participants.

The Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) initiative seeks to advance open networks for the comprehensive exchange of goods and services across digital or electronic platforms. Embracing an open-source approach, ONDC will leverage open specifications and network protocols, free from any platform dependencies.

At its core, ONDC is built upon open protocols designed to cover every facet of the goods and services exchange process, akin to established protocols like the hypertext transfer protocol for internet information exchange, simple mail transfer protocol for email exchange, and a unified payment interface for transactions.

These open protocols will serve as the backbone for establishing public digital infrastructure through open registries and network gateways, facilitating seamless information exchange between providers and consumers. Users will have the flexibility to utilise any compatible application of their choosing for information exchange and transactions on the ONDC platform.

By transcending the current platform-centric digital commerce model, ONDC empowers buyers and sellers to engage digitally without being constrained to a single platform or application.

Standardising operations such as cataloguing, inventory management, order processing, and fulfilment, ONDC protocols will enable small businesses to leverage any ONDC-compatible applications, freeing them from platform-centric policies. This fosters greater discoverability and business conduct options for small enterprises, while also facilitating the adoption of digital commerce among those not currently integrated into digital networks.

Expected to enhance inclusivity and accessibility in e-commerce, ONDC enables consumers to discover sellers, products, and services through any compatible application or platform, expanding consumer choice. It also allows consumers to match demand with the nearest available supply and select preferred local businesses, thus promoting operational standardisation, local supplier inclusion, logistics efficiency, and overall value enhancement for consumers.

Countries have been actively improving their citizen infrastructure to enhance citizen satisfaction. Several countries in the Asia-Pacific are investing heavily in various sectors, such as technology and transportation, making citizens’ activities more seamless.

In New Zealand alone, the ORC Public and Active Transport Committee, led by Co-chair Andrew Noone, has announced a significant investment in environmentally friendly public transportation for Dunedin. With the introduction of 11 electric buses this month, the city is poised to make substantial strides towards its 2030 zero carbon goals.

According to Andrew, the transition to electric buses will yield numerous benefits for Dunedin. It will reduce fuel consumption by nearly 240,000 litres of diesel per year and play a pivotal role in improving air quality throughout the city. With approximately 648,000 kilometres of the 4.5 million kilometres travelled annually by Dunedin Dunedin’s buses now emissions-free, the impact on carbon emissions is expected to be substantial.

The decision to invest in electric buses follows a successful e-bus trial conducted in 2021. During the trial, the buses were tested on various routes, including hilly terrain, city centres, and motorways, demonstrating their admirable performance, particularly on the challenging hills of Dunedin. This success underscores New Zealand’s commitment to integrating technology into public transportation services to improve community well-being.

New Zealand has demonstrated its dedication to enhancing public transportation through technology integration, aiming to improve efficiency, comfort, and accessibility for residents. The introduction of e-buses in Dunedin is just one example of this commitment, reflecting a broader effort to revolutionise the public transportation system nationwide. By embracing innovation and continuous improvement, the Council strives to create an inclusive, efficient, and accessible environment for all residents.

Andrew expressed confidence that passengers would appreciate the new electric buses, citing their quieter operation and advanced safety features. Additionally, the buses are equipped with cutting-edge technology, including an onboard fire suppression system, ensuring passenger safety at all times. Moreover, the electric buses have proven reliable even in Dunedin’s harsh winter conditions, starting seamlessly in sub-zero temperatures. This investment in technology enhances the passenger experience and contributes to the city’s overall sustainability goals.

Six e-bus chargers have been installed at Ritchie’s bus depot to support the transition to electric buses. Furthermore, drivers have undergone extensive training to familiarise themselves with the new vehicles, and the buses are being configured to accept the Bee Card, streamlining the fare payment process for passengers.

Dunedin and Queenstown’s bus fleets will gradually shift towards electric buses over the next four years as more e-buses are added to the transportation networks. This strategic initiative aligns with broader efforts to promote sustainability and reduce carbon emissions in New Zealand’s public transportation sector.

Adopting electric buses represents a significant step forward in Dunedin’s journey towards becoming a greener, more environmentally sustainable city. By embracing digital technology and investing in eco-friendly transportation solutions, Dunedin sets a positive example for other urban centres nationwide. With continued investment and innovation, the transition to electric buses is expected to yield long-term benefits for the environment and the community.

In this context, digital technology is invaluable for optimising the operation and management of electric buses in Dunedin. Through the integration of digital systems, such as real-time monitoring and data analytics, the city can efficiently track the performance of its electric bus fleet, identify areas for improvement, and ensure optimal use of resources.

In India, OpenGov Asia reported, that the Department of Science and Technology (DST) organised a meeting to plan the development of electric vehicles (EVs) and create a roadmap for their growth. The aim is to have EVs make up 30% of cars by 2030. Key focuses include developing durable batteries, like solid-state ones, suitable for India’s hot climate. They also discussed organising research programmes to work closely with industries and academic institutions for effective implementation.

In a bid to revolutionise the landscape of EXIM logistics and infrastructure, the 9th Services Improvement Group (SIG) meeting, marked a significant milestone under the guidance of Ms Sumita Dawra, Special Secretary, Logistics Division, DPIIT. The meeting served as a platform to showcase a plethora of initiatives devised to address challenges faced by the industry, with a particular focus on the resounding success of the Electronic Logs (E-Logs) platform.

Central to the meeting’s discussions was the unveiling of the E-Logs platform’s key features, including real-time issue tracking, secure data sharing, and streamlined communication channels. This technological marvel has played a pivotal role in expediting issue resolution for stakeholders in the logistics sector, resulting in a commendable enhancement of operational efficiency and an overall improvement in logistics performance.

An outstanding achievement highlighted during the meeting was the resolution of a longstanding staff-related issue at the Air Freight Station in Kapashera. The Department of Revenue apprised the SIG members of the swift actions taken, showcasing the effective collaboration between the Department and the Logistics Division.

Industry associations lauded the Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) for inviting comments on the B-2-B draft policy, emphasising the collaborative spirit between the government and industry stakeholders. A key player in the e-commerce sector, shared insights into the tremendous benefits derived from the notification of the Joint Parcel Policy, specifically in enhancing parcel freight movement on railways.

The meeting also addressed concerns related to the transportation of rubber products from the North-Eastern region, with the Ministry of Ports, Shipping, and Waterways presenting ongoing initiatives. These include the awarding of dredging contracts for waterway routes connecting Tripura and Kolkata port, utilisation of alternative routes like the Sonamura Inland Waterway Terminal and Sabroom land port, and efforts to facilitate 24×7 operations through night navigation systems.

Bringing together a diverse group of over 40 participants, including officials from the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Port, Shipping and Waterways, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, and Ministry of Railways, alongside industry representatives from prominent organisations such as FFFAI, FICCI, CSLA, ASSOCHAM, and WAI, the 9th SIG meeting showcased the collaborative approach between the government and industry associations.

At the forefront of the National Logistics Policy (NLP), the SIG serves as an inter-ministerial institutional mechanism, engaging with more than 30 business associations in the logistics sector. The 9th SIG meeting stands as a testament to the outcomes of these collaborative efforts, exemplifying the commitment to driving innovation, streamlining processes, and fostering growth in the EXIM logistics sector. As the industry continues to evolve, these concerted efforts underscore the proactive measures taken by the government to propel the sector towards excellence.

India actively invests in cutting-edge technology to boost economic strength and infrastructure, aligning with global standards. This proactive approach underscores India’s commitment to leveraging technology for comprehensive development and reinforcing its global standing.

OpenGov Asia reported that Union Minister for Ports, Shipping, and Waterways, Shri Sarbananda Sonowal, is set to introduce two digital modules – the Maritime Single Window (MSW) and the Mercantile Maritime Department (MMD) – on the Sagar Setu (NLP-M) platform, marking a pivotal step towards a more efficient and technologically advanced maritime landscape in India.

The MSW module facilitates the electronic exchange of maritime information among stakeholders, streamlining processes and transforming data management. Simultaneously, the MMD module enhances the Mercantile Maritime Department’s efficiency by providing vital vessel detention and release status information.

This technological leap aligns with broader government initiatives, discussed in the recent Services Improvement Group (SIG) meeting, showcasing India’s commitment to modernising and streamlining the EXIM logistics and infrastructure sector. The integration of these modules strengthens India’s maritime capabilities and contributes to sector-wide growth and efficiency.

In a significant stride towards fostering innovation and advancing science and technology, the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC) Thiruvananthapuram, under the InTranSE Programme of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), transferred three indigenous technologies to 12 industries. The occasion marked the launch of the “Digital India FutureLABS Summit 2024” at IIIT-Delhi, aligning with the overarching theme of Vikshit Bharat @2047, an initiative of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi.

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The thermal Smart camera, equipped with an inbuilt DPU for various AI-based analytics, has applications across diverse domains, including Smart Cities, Industries, Defence, and Health. The technology underwent field implementation, testing, and validation, particularly for road traffic applications. Eight industries, including RRPS4E Innovation Pvt Ltd, SCITA Solutions, TAK Technologies Pvt Ltd, and others, received the transfer of this cutting-edge thermal camera technology.

The Industrial Vision Sensor iVIS 10GigE, a CMOS-based vision processing system with a robust on-board computing engine, designed for next-generation industrial machine vision applications, was transferred to Spookfish Innovations Pvt Ltd.

The FlexiFleet technology, geared towards optimising fleet operations and enhancing efficiency, along with related systems such as Personalised Transit Route Guidance and Operational Strategies for Headway Reliability, was transferred to three industries simultaneously—Atulya Abhinav Tech Private Limited, Unidad Techno Labs(P) Ltd, and IBI Group India Private Limited.

The indigenously developed thermal camera is poised to revolutionise applications in Smart Cities, Industries, Defence, and Health. With built-in AI analytics, it promises advancements in road traffic management and a multitude of other sectors, contributing to enhanced efficiency and safety.

The CMOS-based Industrial Vision Sensor iVIS 10GigE holds immense potential for industrial machine vision applications. With its powerful on-board computing engine, it is set to drive innovation in next-generation industrial processes and automation.

The suite of Fleet Management System technologies, including FlexiFleet, Personalised Transit Route Guidance, and Operational Strategies for Headway Reliability, is designed to optimise fleet operations, improve passenger experiences, and enhance the reliability of public transit services.

The exchange of technology transfer documents took place at the “Digital India FutureLABS Summit 2024” in the esteemed presence of Shri Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Minister of State for Electronics & Information Technology, Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, and Jal Shakti. Also in attendance were Smt. Sunita Verma, GC R&D in E⁢ E. Magesh, DG-CDAC; Kalaiselvan A, Director – CDAC Trivandrum; and senior officials from the government, along with CEOs and CTOs of the recipient industries.

The transfer of these indigenous technologies reflects India’s commitment to technological advancements, innovation, and the vision outlined in Vikshit Bharat @2047. As these cutting-edge technologies find applications in various industries, they are poised to contribute significantly to India’s progress in science and technology, fostering a culture of innovation and excellence.

India is strongly committed to developing indigenous technology and IT solutions, underlining its dedication to innovation and self-reliance in the rapidly advancing digital landscape. OpenGov Asia reported that the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), led by Dr N Kalaiselvi, is driving initiatives to foster ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ through the development of indigenous technologies as part of its pursuit of advancing India’s self-reliance.

Dr Kalaiselvi stressed CSIR’s commitment to indigenisation across its 37 laboratories, showcasing success stories like the ‘Purple Revolution’ achieved through Lavender cultivation in Jammu & Kashmir, illustrating how technological innovation in agriculture can spur economic growth. This aligns with India’s broader effort to leverage technology for inclusive governance, as exemplified by initiatives in Jammu and Kashmir, inspiring similar endeavours in Himalayan states.

Additionally, the CSIR program highlighted PRIMA ET11, India’s first women-friendly compact Electric Tractor, showcasing the country’s commitment to inclusivity and diversity in technology development. This aligns with earlier initiatives, reinforcing India’s drive for technological self-reliance and inclusivity.

PARTNER

Qlik’s vision is a data-literate world, where everyone can use data and analytics to improve decision-making and solve their most challenging problems. A private company, Qlik offers real-time data integration and analytics solutions, powered by Qlik Cloud, to close the gaps between data, insights and action. By transforming data into Active Intelligence, businesses can drive better decisions, improve revenue and profitability, and optimize customer relationships. Qlik serves more than 38,000 active customers in over 100 countries.

PARTNER

CTC Global Singapore, a premier end-to-end IT solutions provider, is a fully owned subsidiary of ITOCHU Techno-Solutions Corporation (CTC) and ITOCHU Corporation.

Since 1972, CTC has established itself as one of the country’s top IT solutions providers. With 50 years of experience, headed by an experienced management team and staffed by over 200 qualified IT professionals, we support organizations with integrated IT solutions expertise in Autonomous IT, Cyber Security, Digital Transformation, Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure, Workplace Modernization and Professional Services.

Well-known for our strengths in system integration and consultation, CTC Global proves to be the preferred IT outsourcing destination for organizations all over Singapore today.

PARTNER

Planview has one mission: to build the future of connected work. Our solutions enable organizations to connect the business from ideas to impact, empowering companies to accelerate the achievement of what matters most. Planview’s full spectrum of Portfolio Management and Work Management solutions creates an organizational focus on the strategic outcomes that matter and empowers teams to deliver their best work, no matter how they work. The comprehensive Planview platform and enterprise success model enables customers to deliver innovative, competitive products, services, and customer experiences. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, with locations around the world, Planview has more than 1,300 employees supporting 4,500 customers and 2.6 million users worldwide. For more information, visit www.planview.com.

SUPPORTING ORGANISATION

SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.

PARTNER

HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 

PARTNER

IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider. We help clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity and service.