Kerala Chief Minister kept in the dark over Sprinklr deal, says report by committee

Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala had alleged that under the guise of COVID-19, the details of patients were sold to the US company Sprinklr Inc. Following this, the CM appointed the committee.

Published: 20th January 2021 02:26 PM  |   Last Updated: 20th January 2021 02:26 PM   |  A+A-

Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan

Pinarayi Vijayan (Photo | Albin Mathew, EPS)

By Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Madhavan Nambiar committee, which probed the Sprinklr deal, has found that former IT secretary M Sivasankar unilaterally signed the deal keeping even the Chief Minister in the dark. The report has given a clean chit to the Chief Minister. It had already been reported that the law department's consent was not taken. The Madhavan Nambiar committee report's contents have come out through an RTI reply. It's the first time the state government has released the contents of the Madhavan Nambiar committee report in the public domain.

The Madhavan Nambiar committee was of the view that the proposal for installing a digital platform for analyzing a crisis situation like COVID-19 should have been discussed with the Crisis Management group. The Crisis Management group, headed by the Chief Secretary along with the Secretaries of finance, revenue, health, law and IT, should have been closely involved. It has been revealed that the Sprinklr proposal was not discussed with the then Chief Secretary Tom Jose. Health and Family Welfare Secretary Dr Rajan N Khobragade too has confirmed that no formal consultation was taken with the health department.

"The committee would like to point out that the approval of the Chief Minister who is also the IT minister was not taken before the agreement was executed with Sprinklr Inc. Since we are dealing with date security issues and entrusting sensitive data to a foreign company, this could be detrimental to the interest of the state and its citizens,” said the report.

The committee also came out with some recommendations. The C-DIT and the IT department must equip themselves to carefully analyze the proposals received from companies like Sprinklr Inc. The staff of the IT department and particularly CDIT must be trained in understanding, selection, developments in and handling of emerging technologies, digital platforms and cyber security.

Another recommendation is that robust and secure ICT infrastructure must be set up for installation of digital platforms and C-DIT must empanel the cyber security auditing companies for audit of the ICT systems of the state government on a regular basis.

Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala had alleged that under the guise of COVID-19, the details of patients were sold to the American company Sprinklr Inc. Following this, the Chief Minister appointed the Madhavan Nambiar committee. The two-member committee had Dr Gulshan Rai, former cyber security coordinator at the Centre, as the second member.


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