Over the past several years, the growing involvement of EnterpriseDB at the National Informatics Center (NIC), has given me a unique opportunity to study the advent of e-Governance initiatives across the country. The progress is fascinating in such a diverse an environment – bringing computerization to the grassroots is not an easy task.
It takes a lot to create a vision of this magnitude. Dr. Seshagiri provided that vision for India and then established a way to execute on it by architecting the nationwide computer networks and drafting software and hardware policies.
The e-Governance projects involve computerization of a lot of the key citizens information across the country – including land records, license plates, the public distribution system, judicial records to mention just a few. This process involves creating IT set ups to handle massive amounts of data on one hand while figuring out how to set up the infrastructure in the remotest village in the country on the other. The vision is best described in the words of one of the directors at NIC– “it is our mission to ensure we create transparency and accountability for all information thus eliminating any chance of misuse”.
As promoters of the use of open source database technology in an industry dominated by the proprietary software players, we at EnterpriseDB are more cognizant than most of what it takes to embrace technology outside the norm. At NIC and across the state and central governments, this ability to adopt and explore alternatives (like PostgreSQL) for the larger principles of regaining control and reducing cost has been a common theme.
The root of that approach and culture goes back to the founder of the movement itself. Dr Seshagiri founded NIC in 1975 and headed it as its Director-General for 25 years. In every visit to NIC I meet incredibly talented scientists, engineers and technocrats who work hard to drive the vision forward.
A lot can be talked about the Dr. Seshagiri’s achievements including the tremendous role he played in transforming India and setting it on the path to become an IT superpower, but for me his contributions are most apparent in the institution he founded.
It is a big loss but also an incredible legacy.Padma Bhushan Dr N Seshagiri, Architect of Government IT in India, Loss of a Visionary