How Maharashtra plans to become India's first digitally connected state

Thu, 2016-10-13 13:54 -- Doug Peeples

We've stressed several times what a tremendous asset an experienced partner can be in a city's efforts to become a successful, resilient smart city. The announcement this week from Council Lead Partner Cisco that it will provide a manufacturing hub, a smart city and more in Maharashtra further illustrates how public-private partnerships can help governments—local or state—realize their visions. — Doug Peeples

Cisco's work and investment in Maharashtra will focus on helping the state comply with two major initiatives: Make in India and Digital India.

What that boils down to is a diverse series of projects intended to transform cities and rural communities with smart technologies, increase access to education and healthcare for villages, increase competitiveness in commerce and provide opportunities for more students to learn valuable ICT skills.

For Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, the projects led by Cisco will contribute greatly to the goal of becoming the country's first connected state in two years.

The company has begun manufacturing operations in Pune. Cisco said it "... will use its India manufacturing operations to produce and ship orders for customers here, as well as for testing, development, logistics and in-house repair capabilities."

The city of Nagpur, the state's winter capital, will receive a smart city makeover including city-wide connectivity through Cisco's City Digital Platform, Wi-Fi hotspots, surveillance and safety solutions, smart transportation and parking, intelligent lighting, solid waste management and sensors to monitor environmental conditions.

Additional projects and services will include:

  • Connectivity for thousands of rural communities
  • Digital education programs
  • Skills development via an e-commerce hub for entrepreneurs and startups in Dharavi, Mumbai

The company also will expand its Networking Academy program, which teaches ICT skills to students.

Doug Peeples is a Portland, Oregon-based writer specializing in technology and energy. Follow @smartccouncil on Twitter.