Oracle begins smart city partnership with Indian state of Maharashtra

The tech giant is building a Center of Excellence with the state government to develop and test various smart city services.

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Oracle CEO Safra Catz shakes hands with Devendra Fadnavis, the chief minister of Maharashtra, at Oracle OpenWorld 2016. (Image: Tue Nam, Hartmann Studios/Compass Photographers)

Oracle announced Tuesday that it is collaborating on a smart city initiative with the Indian state of Maharashtra.

The tech giant will help the state government to build a Center of Excellence (CoE) housed in Mumbai, which will serve as a research platform to design, develop, and test new capabilities for government-to-citizen (G2C) and government-to-business (G2B) services. Both Oracle and the Government of Maharashtra will invest in IT infrastructure, training, and skillset resources, as well as management of the CoE.

The CoE plans to finalize by the end of the year which projects it will undertake. The projects under consideration include a "smart city in a box," a mobile platform for service questions, unified app development for services like drivers license renewals or property tax payments, a digital platform to deliver smart city services across the state, infrastructure services for equipment and IT, and resources like analytics to manage transportation logistics.

"We are thrilled to further our commitment in India by working with the Government of Maharashtra and the Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi, to help position India as a world-class design and manufacturing epicenter," said Oracle CEO Safra Catz in a statement. "The Cloud Center of Excellence powered by Oracle will play a key role in improving the lives of the people of this state."

Earlier this year, Oracle announced separate major investments in India, including the construction of a massive campus centered in Bengaluru, nine incubation centers throughout the country, and an initiative to train more than half a million students each year in computer science.

Maharashtra, for its part, is working on a broader, ambitious plan to digitally connect all its 113 million residents, including those in Maharashtra's more than 300 cities and its 29,000 villages. All of its villages will be connected through fiber by December 2018, Devendra Fadnavis, the chief minister of Maharashtra, said on the Oracle OpenWorld stage on Tuesday.

"The entire infrastructure will be in place and every single citizen of my state, whether he belongs to an urban area or the remotest village will be digitally connected," he said. "We will be able to transform the lives of people."

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