India sees future in South Asia cloud

Indian government foresees huge future for the cloud in South Asia

The future of India as an industrial powerhouse has been well understood for some time. The potential of this nation which still admittedly has massive social and economic problems can be illustrated by the following statistic: The top 25% of the Indian population with the highest IQs are greater in number than the total population of the United States.

India has also been particularly associated with information technology, employing more than 2.5 million people in this sector, and a similar number of people graduate each year with associated degrees from Indian universities.  A graduation of 2.5 million people per annum is roughly equal to the entire combined population of the British cities of Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow and Edinburgh. India’s IT outsourcing industry already stands at over $50 billion per annum, and is expected to increase to $225 billion by 2020. India also produces over 500,000 engineers each year, and as 12% of its population speaks fluent English, it is expected that in the next decade India and China will be the two countries with the most English language speaking people in the world.

These facts should put into perspective the global role that India will play, and indeed is playing, in information technology. It should hardly come as a surprise then that huge efforts are already been made within the nation to embrace the cloud computing revolution. Just this week, it was announced that Meghraj, the Union government’s cloud computing project, will be released next month, with an initial focus on an e-Governance app store at a National Data Centre.

India’s IT outsourcing industry already stands at over $50 billion per annum… India produces over 500,000 engineers each year, and 12% of its population speaks fluent English.

The Indian government has announced that the Meghraj project will also be utilised as a repository and marketplace of e-governance apps, while there is an apparent intention to extend the cloud computing project in India to land registry, although there are still logistical issues to be settled in this regard.

India has already made strong progress in building its cloud infrastructure. There are already twenty-two data centres operational within the South Asian nation, with a lot of Indian government services already being delivered via the cloud. The Indian government states that its social services are already more than 50% run by cloud applications, with the regions of Bihar, Mizoram and Jharkhand, at a particularly advanced stage of implementation.

Though the Indian cloud is already very much under construction, industry analysis indicates that this process will only accelerate in the coming years. According to a study from research firm Gartner, the Indian cloud services revenue will have a compounded annual growth rate of 33.2% from 2012 through 2017 across every sector of the cloud computing market.

In addition, the Indian government has announced their intention to build a ‘Centre of Excellence’ for cloud computing, which will be critical to the future development of the cloud in India. This centre has been tasked with being instrumentally involved in capability building, as well as having a remit related to providing advisory services for government departments and generally spreading awareness among the public sector in India of the growing importance of cloud computing.

Already Indian government departments have been proven to have saved money by switching to the cloud. A report in April highlighted that a previous Indian government cloud initiative had made savings for the public sector equivalent to $80 million, due to savings on physical server costs.

Further plans already exist to extend this prevalence for cloud computing further. Government blueprints have already been published which indicated that the cloud is intended in the future to provide services to government departments, citizens and businesses throughout India, and that cloud-based mobile connectivity will also be prioritised as well.

The growth of cloud computing in India is indicative of the importance that is being placed on the cloud in the so-called developing economies. India is part of the collective known as the BRICS nations – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – which it is predicted will wield great economic and political power in the coming decades, or possibly sooner. China and India alone house 37% of the world’s population, and there are many other demographic factors which point to the rising power and importance of these nations in the near to mid-term future.

As cloud computing increasingly established itself as a mainstream technology, it is going to be very important for the technology to be embraced by every significant geographic region of the world. With both China and India showing a clear enthusiasm for the cloud, one can be certain that this coming power block has truly embraced the cloud revolution.

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