Technology has helped turnaround PSUs, say top officials

PSU chiefs stress on transparency and efficiency, cite example of hugely successful e-auctioning of coal blocks and train passenger friendly e-wallet

GN Bureau | May 18, 2016


#Conference   #PSU IT Forum   #PSU  
Panelists at PSU IT Forum
(Photo: Arun Kumar)

The heads of India’s top PSUs on Wednesday deliberated upon the role of technology to turnaround their fortunes and demonstrated how they used their capabilities to make their working absolutely transparent and user-friendly.


As many as 10 chairman and managing directors spoke at the day-long India IT PSU Forum organised by Governance Now at Scope complex in Delhi during the session on ‘Transforming PSUs, Transforming India’. 

SK Tripathi, CMD, Metal Scrap Trade Corporation [MSTC], talked about how his company has always been transparent in its functioning and to demonstrate this to a larger audience, the MSTC web-telecasted their e-auctioning process, which was seen all over India live.  

Giving a brief overview of MSTC, he said the company has more than 75,000 clients and at any point of time, at least 107 auctions are held on the MSTC portal. He also explained how MSTC was involved in the e-auctioning of coal blocks for the coal ministry. 

Elucidating various features of the MSTC’s e-auction portal, Tripathi said that his company has the capability of transforming and digitising any kind of transaction between the buyer and the seller. Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Odisha and others have utilised MSTC portal. Currently, 43 mine blocks are in various stages of auction. 

Referring to the coal secretary Anil Swarup’s earlier statement that “PSUs are scared of five Cs”, he said that MSTC can give freedom from these 5 Cs. The five Cs are CAG, CVC, courts, CIC and CBI. 

RK Bahuguna, CMD, RailTel Corporation of India Limited, talked about how PSUs are mammoth organisations, which need time to turn around their fortunes. 

Though railways is the primary business for RailTel, yet railways constitute only 10 percent of its business, said Bahuguna. 
 
IRCTC to introduce e-wallet facility

AK Manocha, chairman and managing director [CMD], IRCTC, said that they will soon launch e-wallet facility, an app for air ticketing and mobile catering that will make ticket booking easier for passengers. 

“It will be easier for the passenger to use an e-wallet. Only pan card verification will be required. The e-wallet can be recharged with a maximum amount of Rs 1,000,” Manocha said at the Governance Now India PSU IT Forum. 

He added that ministry has given a go ahead for mobile catering but the policy is yet to be formed.  “We have stepped in the world of catering but that covers only three percent of our business now,” he said.

Stressing on the importance and advantage of technology in PSUs, Manocha further informed that IRCTC’s air ticketing site gets 14.65 crore hits a day. “Very few people know that we do air ticketing too. We book around 3,000 tickets per day through this site,” he said. 

He informed that IRCTC sold 29 tickets on its first day. However, after introducing e-ticketing in 2003, the number rose to 5.5 lakh tickets per day. “IRCTC has come a long way. We have more than 10 lakh passengers who register themselves through e-ticketing today,” he said.
Talking about the challenges, Manocha said that there is a limited availability of berths in Indian railways. He also said that there is a problem during booking tickets under the tatkal scheme. 

Malay Chatterjee, chairman and managing director, KIOCL Ltd, said that mining has seen development only with the help of technology. 
“We practice the best technology in mining. We have the fastest logging system today and this has been possible only because of technology,” Chatterjee said at the conference. He elaborated on how over the years technology has played an important role in achieving the target set in mining.

Gyanesh Pandey, CMD, Hospital Services Consultancy Corporation, pointed out that of the many sectors discussed in which IT can be useful, healthcare perhaps was a major one. “In the last three years, we have developed 150 hospitals, both in India and abroad, costing about Rs 20,000 crore.” 

Giving an example, Pandey said, “The OPD of AIIMS has transformed a lot in the past few years. With 12,000 patients visiting it every day, one would still find place to sit and proper dates [for appointments with doctors]. 

A patient coming from a remote place often has to make several rounds of a hospital as some or the other document remains missing, said Pandey. “It is in these areas that IT can be helpful. One can sit in California and retrieve all the reports sitting online – these are some of the IT-enabled things.” 

H Purushotham, CMD, National Research Development Corporation [NRDC], announced that they are in talks with the government to develop an online trading platform, on which “technology developers can upload their technologies. And, entrepreneurs, companies, PSUs who are interested to modernize their management process can use this innovative platform”. Work for the portal is underway. 

He also said that that the government has integrated NRDC with its Stand Up India mission. “We will now implement the action plan.” He said, NRDC have identified 100 technologies that can be adopted to improve exports from the country.
 

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