For more information on Eisenhower Fellowships, visit www.efworld.org
Sunday, November 27, 2011

E-Governance Initiatives in Mumbai


ABM Technologies www.abmindia.com
Through my fellow EF colleague, Ms. Vennelaganti Radha I was able to meet with Mr. Prakesh Rane, President of ABM Technologies. ABM is a private owned IT software company and is quite successful in developing, implementing, and providing IT services to government/municipal agencies.  ABM earns approximately 25 million in revenue, employs approximately 550 people, and provides services to Western and Northern India.  The company was founded by Mr. Rane in 1998. They pride themselves on the ability to provide superior citizen services through E-Governance platforms. 

 ABM is one of the key partners in the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) aka the Bombay Municipal Corporation, along with TATA and Reliance Industries.  The MCGM is Mumbai’s central network operating center that manages and deploys all of Mumbai’s telecommunication services for specific government and key community anchor institutions.  This department would be comparable to the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Technology.  About 5 years ago, ABM bid for the building of the MCGM project, along with its partners, to provide the soft infrastructure for the deployment  of the Network Operating Center (NOC) that now provides the backhaul to all of the telecommunication municipal services. 

Mr. Rane and I had a very good conversation about how to provide key services to Government bodies, understanding the gov’t body and being able translate the technology matters, being the small business in a project such as this and pros and cons of partnering with larger businesses.  He offered some key insights that again reiterated what I have learned being an executive for our company in Philadelphia. For example, in re: partnering with large businesses, “You have to ensure that they depend on you for something”, said Mr. Rane.  In addition, “Make sure you know and they know your competitive advantage when dealing with large service providers”.  These words are very true indeed.

Thank you Mr. Rane. I look forward to continued conversations on this front . 


MCGM ( Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai) www.mcgm.gov.in

After I met with Mr. Rane, he had someone take me to the MCGM to visit the actual Network Operating Center (NOC)  for the City of Mumbai.  A NOC is a facility that is responsible for monitoring and controlling a telecommunications network. In most cases, all of the servers and equipment are houses there that are used to run and manage the network. It is a very highly secured location and the general public rarely gets to a chance to see a NOC due to all of the sensitive and private and important functions that take place for at these facilities in regards to the management of services.

The MCGM’s NOC serves approximately 12 million citizens and about 8 different wards. All systems are integrated through SAP software and uses SAP as the platform for the City’s services.  All of the services are integrated with the finance department and due to this, the City of Mumbai has acquired many awards and accolades on this very interesting public/private partnership and moreso for a system that serves so many in an urban dense space. 

On the visit I was able to tour and walk around the NOC rooms and speak with managers and developers on specifics of what was built and by whom, the size and scope of the Center, a thorough analysis of the set up of the servers and the racks used for the server rooms, and listen to a presentation about the project on a whole. 

The Visit went well.  Had a great opportunity to see what type of servers were used,  obtain a full technical analysis and breakdown of the implementation of Mumbai’s Network infrastructure, see how big the rooms were, speak with the internal staff on hand to handle all the tech, development,  and troubleshooting issues, and the view a full presentation on the various interconnections of the community anchor institutions that are tied to the infrastructure build of the network. This all was very familiar! This is the same type of network that Wilco designed just 2 years ago for a broadband technology opportunities program under the Obama Administration.  Almost exactly the same. This made it very easy to have conversations with them about the creation and end to end solutions that this network would provide.  Glad that I had this knowledge base. It felt good to know the technical verbage and intricacies of network engineering.  On a side note: Beginning to forget that I am a lawyer by trade ;-)

I was very happy with the outcome of my visit to the BMC.  Very impressed and happy that was I offered the trust to see and discuss sensitive technology infrastructure matters for an entire City operation.  Definitely this visit and these conversations will be put to great use.
                                                                                                           

















Disaster Relief Center   www.mcgm.gov.in
My last meeting that dealt with e-Governance matters was held with Mumbai’s Disaster Relief Center (DRC) . The DRC ‘s is Executive Director is Mr. Mahesh Narvekar.  Mr. Narvekar spent a lot of time with me discussing the mission, aims, purpose, and vision of the DRC. He also gave me a very in depth tour of the facility and explained all of the various facets of the DRC’s operations.

The essential goals of the DRC are to protect and provide disaster relief to the City of Mumbai 24 hours a day. The operation is very well run and provides an important but unsung backbone to the City.  Because Mumbai is a coastal town disaster relief is key for the maintenance and sustainability of the City’s operations, infrastructure, and safety of the 12 million people who reside in Bombay.

Meeting with the DRC was a great opportunity because the City of Mumbai is apparently a role model city when it comes to global disaster relief.  In 2010, the Mumbai DRC was named a 2010 Role Model City by the United Nations.   

I had the chance to also visit the DRC’s infrastructure network and speak with all of the various departments, officials, and employees in the DRC, that provides all of the customer services, regulation, and engineering expertise of this multi layered labyrinth of a disaster relief eco system. 

One special quality that I enjoyed learning more about the Disaster Relief Team was that this particular City is highly well known and regarded around the world for their disaster relief techniques.  To that end, The Mumbai Disaster Relief Department issued a Disaster Risk Management Master Plan based off of the resiliency of Japan after the March 2011 Tsunami.  The Report basically studies and lays out a plan that efficiently addresses the challenges, preparation, response, and recovery of community after a disaster.  The Plan focuses on 10 primary indicators of community resiliency that will dictate how successful a city is after a major disaster. They are 1) The Calm, 2) The Dignity, 3) The Ability, 4) The Grace, 5) The Order, 6) The Sacrifice, 7) The Tenderness, 8) The Training, 9) The Media, and 10) The Conscience. 

A very interesting concept to measure community resiliency.  I liked the approach and the positive nature of how to help people prepare, sustain, and survive a major city disaster.  In addition, I loved seeing how technology plays its role in the monitoring, sustainability, and continuance of the DRC services. I thought about Philadelphia and what our disaster recovery plan would be in the event something major happened to our City.  I am sure those who are in leadership positions for this area, have it under control. However, it would be nice to share this report with them.  Thus, in the spirit of the Eisenhower Fellowship, let the sharing and collaboration begin ;-) 


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