Listen to this story
AWS is not just a leader in the cloud market, it also takes the lead when it comes to collaborating with the state and central governments in India. “We were the first cloud service provider to be empanelled at the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) back in December 2017,” Pankaj Gupta, Leader – Public Sector Enterprises and Government, Healthcare, AWS India Private Limited, told AIM.
“Since then, AWS has worked with various central government departments and ministries such as the ministry of health, agriculture, and finance.” Besides, AWS is also working with various state governments, non-profit organisations and educational institutions.
Helping government move to the cloud
The Union government and many state governments have made their intention known to migrate to the cloud. In various parts of India, citizens are now able to access numerous government services online.
“At the state level, we work very closely with the governments. The government of Telangana is one example. We have helped them migrate that mission-critical core application for e-governance across 93 districts. The Telangana government was facing numerous challenges in terms of scaling, application availability and performance. We helped them migrate 150 servers, and 95 terabytes of data in less than five months,” Gupta said.
Besides, AWS has collaborated with the Telangana government to develop an insurance application aimed at providing medical insurance access to individuals below the poverty line. AWS has also helped the government of Manipur migrate 60-plus government websites and services to the cloud.
Further, the cloud giant has aided Prasar Bharati News Services (PBNS), the digital arm of India’s public broadcasting service Prasar Bharati, to rapidly scale its digital news services and improve the reliability and performance of its website and CRM system.
“We worked with them to migrate over 240 plus live video channels including live news and entertainment programmes to the cloud,” Gupta said. Before migrating to AWS, PBNS had its applications hosted with a co-location IT provider, resulting in high latency. This led to performance and availability challenges, including website downtime and disruptions in video streaming.
Moreover, since its government approval in 2006, the Common Service Centres (CSC) has played a crucial role in providing eServices to underserved rural and remote areas with limited or no access to computers and the internet. “We are also working with CSC very closely. And one of the programmes that we did with them was called PMGDISHA or the Pradhan Mantri Gramin Digital Saksharta Abhiyaan. Under that, we have trained more than 46 million people as part of digital inclusion.”
DigiLocker and CoWIN
With the rapid digitisation of services, the traditional approach of storing and managing physical documents has become increasingly outdated. DigiLocker addresses this challenge by providing individuals with a secure and user-friendly digital storage solution for their essential documents. DigiLocker is hosted on AWS cloud infrastructure. The Cloud giant is helping over 125 million users move more than 6 billion documents to the cloud.
Similarly, AWS has also played an important role in supporting the CoWIN vaccination platform in India. CoWIN, which is hosted on AWS cloud infrastructure, is supporting possibly the largest vaccination drive in the world by enabling the registration and tracking of millions of vaccinations. AWS has helped ensure that the platform has the capacity to handle the massive scale of vaccination registration and administration required in India.
“We were struggling with the pandemic and there was a dire need to build a vaccination platform and we had a challenge at hand to vaccinate 1.2 billion people. There was no platform for this, so we worked with MeitY and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW),” Gupta said.
During its initial launch, CoWIN was not open to the public, and in terms of technology infrastructure, the API gateway received only 2 million hits. “However, once the platform was opened to the general public in phases, the platform scaled to 1.3 billion hits on the API gateway. The platform had the capability to do 10 million vaccinations a day, and 10 million is not even the population of many countries,” he quipped.
AWS has also played an important role in the development of eSanjeevani, the Indian government’s national telemedicine service. The platform was built by the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) using AWS solutions, in collaboration with the MoHFW. It allows patients to consult with doctors remotely, freeing up hospital resources and improving access to medical care. AWS has also provided technical expertise and resources to support the platform’s development and ensure its scalability and reliability.
“Initially a doctor-to-doctor platform, it was transformed into a patient telemedicine platform during COVID with features like audio-video consultations, live chat with doctors, and e-prescriptions. Built in just 19 days, eSanjeevani enables people in tier two cities and rural areas of India to access primary healthcare services from their homes,” Gupta said.
The importance of security
Given AWS’ wide-scale collaboration with different governments across India, it does raise one moot question – Does AWS, which is a US-based company at the end of the day, have access to sensitive government data or personal data of individuals on DigiLocker? In this regard, Gupta emphasised that they do not have access to any data.
“We understand the importance of data security, privacy and compliance for our government customers,” he continued, “We provide 230+ security, governance and compliance features, and we have FIPS 140-3 certification, we have HIPAA, so these global certifications give our customers the confidence that our global infrastructure is built to meet the security requirements of the most highly sensitive organisation, be it the regulatory body or a military organisation,” Gupta concluded.