Startups and cloud computing are two crucial components that will support the government’s vision to make India a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy, and accelerate the development of public digital platforms, says Deepti Dutt, head – strategic initiatives, Public Sector, Amazon Web Services (AWS). In a recent chat with Sudhir Chowdhary, she explains how her company is bringing governments and startups together. Excerpts:
What is the opportunity for startups in India’s public sector?
Many of the projects that the government has across healthcare, agriculture, smart cities, and utilities have unstated problems that need innovation. When we talked to various government customers on their mission mode projects, we heard a lot of “unstated needs” that require innovation, and for which writing down a scope of work is difficult and not practical as the focus needs to be on the outcomes, rather than the specifications. These problem statements are best addressed by startups because of the innovation and agility that they offer. The public sector is increasingly turning to startups to develop industry-focused solutions, and AWS is working with these startups to address real-world societal challenges. For example, agriculture departments have the need to improve the traceability of seeds and food produce, and we had a startup like TraceX working with us on such solutions, and we also worked with CropIn for the need to advise farmers on the right farming practices.
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How is the AWS Startup Ramp programme bringing governments and startups together?
The government needs startups as engines of innovation, and startups need the government as engines of scale and growth, and AWS provides the cloud services for experimentation, innovation, scale, security, and cost efficiencies. Hence, we sought to create a mechanism that brings the two together, and that’s where we started initiatives such as innovation challenges, bringing government and startups on a common platform, and facilitating collaboration between the two. In July 2021, we launched the AWS Startup Ramp in India to help early-stage technology startups focused on building innovative solutions for the public sector.
What has been the impact so far?
We have onboarded several startups which are supporting governments and public sector agencies to transform and accelerate citizen services delivery. For example, one of the startups here is Eka Care, a healthtech startup that runs its entire IT infrastructure on AWS and aims to drive “Connected Care” across India. Under AWS Startup Ramp, Eka Care is able to access financial support through AWS Promotional Credits, and technical support, and expand its network of influence.
Another example is LogicLadder, a sustainability management platform that runs its flagship product, The Sustainability Cloud, on AWS, focused on making net zero a reality for enterprises. Through the AWS Startup Ramp, LogicLadder reduced its total cost of ownership as well as the management of cloud infrastructure.
Are you working with some state governments?
We are committed to collaborating with government organisations to bring new ideas and business models to market and have multiple initiatives under way. For example, eGov Foundation and AWS supported the Punjab Municipal Infrastructure Development Company (PMIDC) to implement DIGIT — an open-source platform built by eGovernments Foundation on AWS — to implement a scalable e-governance platform. By leveraging AWS, PMIDC implemented DIGIT across 167 Urban Local Bodies in less than six months.
This year, we launched the Smart Cities Innovation Pod — a series of accelerator programmes — in collaboration with the ministry of housing & urban affairs. In June 2022, we also collaborated with T-Hub, along with Telangana State Innovation Cell (TSIC) to launch AWS Dronetech Accelerator.