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Tale of CWG website - 112 Crore spent?

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Governance

We all boast of being keepers and makers of world's back office solutions and IT systems. The list includes designing the Boeing's dream-liner to Bosch's washer-dryer. Recently concluded Soccer world cup's IT systems were supposed to have been supported by Mahindra Satyam team. Compare to this when we step down on our local website's, are left with disappointments and nothing else. Praja's own experiences with BMTC, KSRTC, BBMP narrates a stories of more disappointments. There is something wrong in our reputation of makers and keepers of IT system all over the world and state of IT systems in our important national and local civic agencies.

Why is that even after 2 decades of IT revolution in world scene, we are still leaving in medieval ages of IT technology?

Not convinced? Read the Times of India's headlines " Tech power India can't keep the Games website up and running'

"...The Commonwealth Games official website has gone for a toss. Far from being uploaded automatically almost in real time, the website has been painfully slow, often well behind private media sites. This has virtually shut down an important window on the Delhi Games for the wider world.

The mess is the result of an expensive piece of technology, the Timing, Scoring & Results (TSR) system, a key requirement in modern sporting events

The system was procured by the Games OC for a stunning Rs 112 crore, which is five times more than what Melbourne paid for its TSR system at the last Commonwealth Games. Experts here say it could be bought for Rs 35 crore. ..."

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/cwgarticleshow/6721368.cms

CWG website fiasco is a result of deadly cocktail of corruption, inefficient organizing team and incapable leaders who have no clue what the games need and how to achieve them.

 

Comments

kbsyed61's picture

Looking forward to UIDAI's success!

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For IT systems to be useful and paying, it needs a discipline of entire software engineering where the customer (or Govt agency) lists its requirements and its acceptance criteria. What it means is the customer not only knows what it wants but also knows how to validate and evaluate the final products/systems to accept it or reject it.

From the time the requirements are finalized until the product is deployed and validated at customer's premises, both the customer and the vendor teams work closely involving at every stage of the development and implementation.

In the end it is the customer who needs to decide if the delivered product meets requirements and quality levels.

In large projects, contingency are built in to ensure that there is a maintenance phase which supports the product with fixes and correction to fine tune the system in a real world scenarios.

The story doesn't ends here also. Usually systems are continuously upgraded for robustness and new features.

Therefore it is important for the end customer who is buying the product/service to have the technical competency to know what to get and how to get it.

Given the current state in our govt departments, we can say fairly that they need a competent IT technical professionals who can help them acquire and maintain the IT systems. If every department can not have its own It team, a centralized solution can adopted which can cater to all the departments.

Coming to UIDAI, With Nandan Nilekani heading it, my hope is that the IT systems and technolgies that would be devloped and impelmented would certainly set a higher a precendt for higher quality IT environments in government agencies.

 

silkboard's picture

CWG not that relevant, GoK needs help

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Made for a catchy headline Syed, but a TOI headline can't be relied upon to get the true picture of what happened at CWG Website. When I saw the headline, I was kind of sad to see you make a non-local post (which we avoid on Praja), but then saw the mention of BBMP, BMTC etc.

Linking this CWG website failure with sorry state at BMTC/BBMP (KSRTC is a bit better) is probably not that relevant. This (CWG) is a one time use, real time analysitcs/warehousing type project, where they had the money to spend, and requirements clear.

  • BBMP not so long ago was happy running something it got from a non-profit tech org for free, without clarity on how long the support will last, and lack of real changes in its internal way of working to make use of whatever IT it has in place. I hear things are changing there, with some big IT implementation project work tenders out in public domain.
  • BMTC literally has no real IT inside. Before getting any more IT, they need people to tell them why they need IT and how they can benefit from it. They have tried to spend money (on the website) without understanding what it takes to keep the website current.

Leave talk of corruption and public/private etc thing out for a moment (these things are constants). The issue is the departments need serious help in writing their requirements when calling out for IT work. BBMP, BMTC should probably go hire a CIO like role first, someone who will help write the RFPs. Or, state of Karnataka should setup a e-Governance technical committee that can help any department who asks for help.

Without things like above, state governments/agencies will continue to be either low tech inside, or burn money on piece-meal projects, and unable to use IT/Internet effectively to connect with citizens.

reporter_ahd's picture

CWGDelhi results site was down which cost 112 cr

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I've been following CWG very closely since long. The main site of CWG is http://www.cwgdelhi2010.org/ this site was never down. 

The scam or the value of 112 crores quoted above is related to CWG Delhi's Game Time Results website ( http://results.cwgdelhi2010.org/en/Root.mvc/Medals ) that is done by TISSOT was not updated for two consecutive days as reported in TOI news.

You can easily make out the two websites by visiting these urls http://www.cwgdelhi2010.org and  http://results.cwgdelhi2010.org/en/Root.mvc/Medals . Both sites have different look and feel, they have different header images, main navigation system is different, footer is different.  

It would be wrong to say that CWG Delhi website was down or failed rather there was one section of website that was meant for the Game Time Results has failed. The CWG Delhi Game Time Site is developed by a Swiss company Tissot.  So why are we questioning India's capabilities in IT. Our IT capabilities are non-questionable we are NUMBER ONE when it comes to IT Development.

kbsyed61's picture

The question is about inability of govt departments!

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reporter_ahd,

Thanks for pointing out the precise site. My objective of starting this discussion thread was to bring focus and understand why the government departments had failed miserably to adopt the available technologies specially the IT technology.

Our IT and Software engineering capabilities weren't questioned. When we are looked upon by everybody for the IT solutions itself speaks about our skills and capabilities in that field. Irony is we are little behind in putting these skills for ourselves and in our governance.

The question was: what is that prevent government agencies in adopting the technology? Let us discuss this aspect in bit detailed and if possible suggest some mitigating solutions.

kbsyed61's picture

They definitely need IT guidance body!

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SB,

The intent of this post was not reporting CWG bungling but highlight the core issue of what can be done for better use technology. CWG is doen deal.

You were bang when you said "The issue is the departments need serious help in writing their requirements when calling out for IT work. BBMP, BMTC should probably go hire a CIO like role first, someone who will help write the RFPs. Or, state of Karnataka should setup a e-Governance technical committee that can help any department who asks for help."

I second your thoughts on e-Governance technical committee. Instead of committee I would recommend a separate department "E-Governance Department". This should be the nodal agency for providing the e-governance technology guidance to departments in evaluating their requirements, acquiring solutions through authorized providers, implementation, training and support.

Here are some pointers that we could refer to:

http://www.gsa.gov/graphics/admin/OpenGovPlan_v_1_1.pdf

Let me draft a proposal on this and post it for further discussion.

 

reporter_ahd's picture

Government has a competent team

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In my previous comment I was refering to TOI's news (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/cwgarticleshow/6721368.cms) which is not appropriate, when they are questioning India's IT abilities. The micro site running on subdomain of CWG's main website that failed was a part of a TSR system that was acquired from Swiss Company for 112 crore. 

 

Government do have competent people in its team. CERT (http://www.cert-in.org.in/) that advices Government on its cyber security and related matters. I'm sure CERT must have come into picture for the security of CWG's website. CWG's website was under threat from Chienese Hackers  http://www.mid-day.com/sports/2010/sep/280910-Delhi-CWG-site-Chinese-hackers.htm and they were able to safeguard the site from it. Knowing the fact the hackers even got into FIFA's website defaced. This is a good achievement for CWG. Kudos to the team behind this.

On another note, just having competent people is just not enough, you got to use them, or co-ordinate with them, to bring out right value from them. I think there is no failure on functionality or features of the site and how are they presented but the execution is something where disaster has occurred.  Disasters are something you cannot predict.  

kbsyed61, I disagree with you on this. Our Government do have all things in place and that is followed. It is like you have employed a sweeper but what can you do when that sweeper is ill for a day and cannot attend to cleaning task. You cannot blame that you do not have cleaning policy and proper people to execute it. The trick here is how soon you can bring it to the benchmark again.

 

silkboard's picture

Syed - there is an egovernance deptt

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Syed, like reporter_ahd is syaing in previous comment, actually, there are expert committess already. At nation level, there is a technology committee now (forget the exact name). Government of KArnataka too has an IT/e-governance cell. There must be something broken because we don't see the expertise reflected in BBMP, BMTC or RTO's day to day functions.

What is broken where is what we need to understand. Is it hard for BBMP to ask state e-government cell for help? Does e-gov cell not have enough money? Are they not able to hire good quality people? Is "lowest bidder wins" tendering process a problem?

One thing I have heard enough from many govt officials that money isn't the problem.

kbsyed61's picture

But where is the result?

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reporter_ahd,

You asserted that,

"...kbsyed61, I disagree with you on this. Our Government do have all things in place and that is followed. It is like you have employed a sweeper but what can you do when that sweeper is ill for a day and cannot attend to cleaning task. You cannot blame that you do not have cleaning policy and proper people to execute it. The trick here is how soon you can bring it to the benchmark again..."

If that is the case SB mus be wrong when he said "...At nation level, there is a technology committee now (forget the exact name). Government of KArnataka too has an IT/e-governance cell. There must be something broken because we don't see the expertise reflected in BBMP, BMTC or RTO's day to day functions....".

But he is not WRONG. He is 100% correct in the above assertion. I will give you some manifestation of what SB is saying.

For Driving License, I still need to go to particular East/West/North/South RTO office. Traffic police still can't real time info on the offenders frpom RTO.

BMTC still to get its route system digitized. Our first hand inside information is they do not have systems in place that could do that.

KSRTC, still operates its reservation system based on static data. Their story is also same as that of BMTC. Let me tell you that BMTC and KSRTC are better off compared to other departments in use of IT even though both are far behind in using the technology for their day to day operations.

I am sure you will agree with me that IT system means much more than just the website.

For lack of time I am ending this comment here, but would certainly narrate the KSRTC and BMTC story later to understand what is broken and what is missing.

kbsyed61's picture

@SB, your feedback on Sericulture Dept!

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SB,

I know you tried to work with Manivannan for OpenData Project. The Initial selection was Sericulture Department. Could you pls share your thoughts and insights into what system exists today and what would they ultimately need?

I will try my luck with RTO department and see how far they are into technologies?

 

-Syed

kbsyed61's picture

Which are the agencies and what do they do?

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While digging for information on e-governance infrastruture in government arena, these are some of the web links I have found.

GOI sites

  1. India Development Gateway - http://www.indg.in/india
  2. National Informatics Center - http://home.nic.in/aboutus
  3. National Informatics Centre Services Inc. (NICSI) - http://www.nicsi.com/?q=node/1
  4. Departmnet of Information Technology - http://www.mit.gov.in/content/dit-organisations

Karnataka Government Websites

  1. http://indg.in/e-governance/ict-initiatives-in-states-uts/e-governance-initiatives-in-karnataka
  2. http://www.bangaloreitbt.in/informationtechnology.html

Still searching for answers for my questions.

 

murali772's picture

was it another scam, then?

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@reporter_ahd

Firstly, are you some reporter based out of Ahmedabad? Just curious - nothing else.

The micro site running on subdomain of CWG's main website that failed was a part of a TSR system that was acquired from Swiss Company for 112 crore.

Would you say that acquisition of the system from the Swiss company for Rs 112 cr was perhaps another scam, when Indian companies could have developed the same at much lesser cost, and which perhaps would have been more robust?

It is like you have employed a sweeper but what can you do when that sweeper is ill for a day and cannot attend to cleaning task

The system has to provide for a replacement; otherwise, you can't call it a 'system'.
 

Muralidhar Rao

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