Cities in India are dealing with poor livability indexes: eGovernments Foundation’s Hiren Doshi

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Published: October 2, 2019 9:07:09 AM

The traffic to such applications is relatively massive during this period.

When we started eGov DIGIT implementation in Punjab, it was our first microservices based platform, which was demanding a container platform like Kubernetes.

On a mission to transform digital infrastructure for urban India, eGovernments Foundation (eGov) is building a scalable urban governance platform for seamless delivery of citizen services. Hiren Doshi, vice-president, Strategy & Partnerships – eGovernments Foundation, talks to Sudhir Chowdhary on how working with AWS helps eGovernments Foundation deliver efficient, transparent, and accountable citizen services to urban India, that creates impact at scale. Excerpts:

What is the kind of work that eGovernments Foundation does?

eGovernments Foundation (eGov) stands for urban governance transformation at scale and speed. Our mission is to improve governance in 2000 cities and towns across India by the year 2020. eGov’s current impact is the enablement of over 900 cities touching more than 116 million citizens. We have 4.1 million properties on our DIGIT platform, collected more than $1.1 billion in property tax for urban local bodies (ULBs), processed 143,000 work orders worth $1.2 billion in value and redressed 2.5 million grievances at 97% redressal rate.

We work with three major approaches to scale:

Technology: Enabling ULBs with the DIGIT platform, building on our core principle of being scalable, open API-based, secure and reliable, federated architecture, inter-operable, and open-source.

Policy: Collaborating with national policymakers such as the Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs (MoHUA) and National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) as thought partners, we work towards transforming the urban governance landscape through national missions like Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) and the Smart City Mission.

Ecosystem: The eGov emphasis is on enabling the ecosystem working with Samaaj (society), Sarkaar (government) and Bazaar (markets) by building capacities, co-developing policies, creating market democracy, enabling research, creating scalability, and fostering innovation.

Any interesting projects you have taken using the AWS Cloud?

When we started eGov DIGIT implementation in Punjab, it was our first microservices based platform, which was demanding a container platform like Kubernetes. In early stages of Kubernetes, setting up the cluster was a time consuming and tedious process. Leveraging AWS community driven tools like Kube-AWS, Kops made cluster creation simple and effortless. AWS Auto Scaling capabilities helped scale the infrastructure to support rolling out the municipal services from 1 to over 150 in less than 24 hours. AWS storage solutions like Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3), Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS) helped processing large amounts of data. Amazon CloudWatch helped us in collecting large volumes of data about the logs, utilisation metrics, which in turn helped explore, analyse, and visualise the resource utilisation and setup alerts to take necessary action.

What have been the benefits of AWS Cloud for eGovernments?

AWS Cloud has helped us with citizen impact at scale, de-skilling and speed for deployment at state-level and overall innovation with our approach. As an example, citizens use DIGIT to pay property tax during the end of the financial year or during the rebate period. The traffic to such applications is relatively massive during this period. AWS has the ability to auto-scale groups with permutations and combinations of Reserved Instances (RI), Spot, and on-demand instances that handle the peak workloads seamlessly.

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