PSUs need to have more effective security, say experts

Surveillance ensures that there is higher efficiency and more transparency

GN Bureau | May 18, 2016


#Conference   #PSU IT Forum   #PSU  


Transforming PSUs through information and communication technology [ICT] was exhaustively discussed during the second session of the day-long Governance Now India PSU IT Forum held in Delhi. 

Talking about the best practices in Mahanadi Coalfields Limited (MCL), Deepak Srivastava, chief vigilance officer, MCL, said that Coal India Limited (CIL) is the first PSU where vigilance setup has been utilised for implementing IT interventions. 
 
Srivastava highlighted some of the grey areas vulnerable to unethical practices, including manipulation in coal production figure, under or over reporting, enormous payments to transport contractors, entry and exit of unauthorised coal tippers, creation of artificial demand and false indenting in material procurement.
 
 “Material codification led to identification of total inventory of Rs 115 crore. There was proper utilisation of store inventory worth Rs 30 crore in one period. We could also prevent unavoidable indenting of material,” he said.
 
Talking about the benefits from IT surveillance, he said, “We have reduced the time of transportation, operation is more vigilant and more transparent. Earlier, there was no tab on how much coal was transported, but today real time data is available. Entire mining area is geo-fenced. And through IT intervention we have done many cost cutting exercises as well.” 
 
Prashant Kumar Mukhopadhyay, general manager (IT/ERP), Rural Electrification Corporation Limited (REC), said that transformation of REC was possible due to IT intervention. “Transformation in document management system and workflow management system continued. Procurement system was also linked to IT where tendering was done through e-mode.”
 
 Highlighting the achievements through IT intervention, Kumar said, “Since then there has been no single instance of operation failure except for the one day in September 2009. There has been no major security breach in the ICT set-up. There has been focused approach as per approved IT plan, prepared in the beginning of the year aligned with business strategy.”
 
He also said the ICT set-up has directly contributed to business growth and improvement of internal efficiency. 
 
SV Satish, executive director – IT, Airports Authority of India (AAI) talked about how ICT is transforming the PSU sector. ICT has played a big role in helping AAI to manage 125 airports across the country. Technological innovations and knowledge integration have delivered solutions that have improved efficiency and enhanced the user experience at airports. 
 
Satish gave a list of airport services like airline charges, runway charges, etc. which are utilising ICT. On various IT initiatives of AAI, he said, “AAI has taken a lead in many IT initiatives. We have established airport operation control centres at 10 airports and e-office has been implemented. We have integrated cargo management system at 12 airports.” 
 
He also spoke of AAI’s initiative with Indian space research organization (ISRO). Their joint effort, GAGAN, is a satellite-based navigation system for the aviation industry. 
 
Amod Aggarwal, general manager (IT&C), NHPC, highlighted how ICT has been instrumental in transforming NHPC. “Currently we have projects in hydropower but by 2020 we want to take up wind and solar projects. And information and technology will help us in a big way in this.”
 
After giving a background of NHPC, Aggarwal said that NHPC’s limits begin where a normal person’s limit ends. “We have our projects in places like Kargil, Leh, north east region, where communication is a big problem. But ICT has helped us tremendously in bridging this gap.”
He said that because of communication technology, NHPC has a centralised online payments system, an online inventory system, and e-procurement system in place. 
 
Rajiv Garg, executive director - IT, BHEL said that IT is being used in three areas - business IT, engineering IT and developing software for the company’s products. BHEL’s power plant equipment can now be remotely monitored and controlled owing to the software development. The company is focusing its attention on business IT at the moment. “Infrastructure, application and security are the three pillars of business IT. Presently the company is engaged in consolidating multiple applications into 9 internet gateways to improve manageability and security. By merging servers into nine application centres we have saved a lot of money on licensing oracle centres,” he said.  
 
He said that companies must go for information security management system (ISMS) and get it formally implemented. 
 
He mentioned that government of India has issued a directive to all companies to formulate a crisis management plan to be prepared in case of a cyber-attack. The biggest challenge IT professionals face is maximum disruption due to a continuously evolving technology. “During the 1980s and 1990s, IT professionals could not cope up with the change and today IT professionals are again at crossroads.”  
 
“Digitisation is a challenge facing present IT professionals.” He added that IT professionals must continuously renovate and make the present system sustainable in the long run.
 
Ashok Kumar Sablania, group general manager, data network and marketing, Railtel, said that the core strength of Railtel is its strong VPN network and it is being used by many banks and PSUs. “The optical fibre cable networks of Railtel covers 45,000 route kilometers and has high capacity bandwidth of 800 G.”
 
 He pointed out that the company had implemented ERP in 2013 within 10 months. All the modules went live within 11 months. Railtel is also helping the government of India in laying optical fibres in six states of the north-east under the national optical fibre network. Coal sector is the thrust area of Railtel. 
 
Rajesh Kumar S, technology lead, Juniper Networks, highlighted the importance of the process of laying a network. “Network is everything that puts ICT together as a platform. It is a key enabler that connects the user and the application. It is not just important to focus on building a network but how to sustain it for our future betterment,” Kumar said.
 
Kumar elaborated the importance of automation, scaling and security in building a network. Kumar said that in today’s time it is important to enable services in quick time. He pointed out that a network needs to be defined in a way that it benefits the people in future. 
 

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