Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Meghraj: national cloud of India providing cloud ready solutions to Government libraries

The government of India has recognized the benefits of cloud computing and initiated a new project based on cloud technology, called MeghRaj (GI Cloud), to ensure the optimum utilization of infrastructure and speed up the development and deployment of eGov applications. It is developed and run by the National Informatics Centre (NIC) under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology. Several data centers of the cloud computing environment are spread across multiple locations in the country, governed by a common set of protocols, guidelines, and standards issued by the Government of India. Three National data centers are running at NIC headquarters: Delhi, Pune, and Hyderabad.

What is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing is using Internet-based remote services and resources which are being hosted by others.

Definition: According to NIST(National Institute of Standards and Technology) “Cloud computing is a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.”

Some characteristics:
  • Fully managed by the third-party who provides services.
  • Security and quality of services are maintained by following standards.
  • The choice of services is from very few to large numbers.
  • Demand-based services and pricing is based on usage.
  • Resources can be shared among cloud service users (Union catalog of government libraries hosted on NIC Cloud MeghRaj) and resources are easily and readily scalable over several data centers.
  • The requirement by the side of the consumer is so simple, a  personal computer and internet access.


No additional hardware costs: The processing power required to run the applications is supplied by the cloud provider.

Outsource Administration: If you move your infrastructure to the cloud, you no longer have to worry about keeping your own systems running, patched and secure. That becomes somebody else's problem. Applications are ready to use once the user subscribes.

Pay for what you use: If a piece of software is only needed for a limited period then it is only paid for over that period and subscriptions can usually be halted at any time.

Usage is scalable: if a user decides they need more storage or additional services, for example, then they can access this on-demand without needing to install new software or hardware.

Updates are automated: Whenever there is an update it is available online to existing customers, often free of charge. No need to install, upgrade or backup anything. The updates will usually be deployed automatically by the cloud provider.

Cross-device compatibility: SaaS applications can be accessed via any internet-enabled device, which makes it ideal for those who use a number of different devices, such as internet-enabled phones and tablets, and those who don’t always use the same computer.

Accessible from any location: No matter where you are, you can get to your data, as long as you have an Internet connection.

Applications can be customized and white-labeled: With some software, customization is available meaning it can be altered to suit the needs and branding of a particular customer.

NIC Cloud service offers a variety of service models to meet the requirements of the software, applications, compute resources (CPU, memory, storage), pre-configured web and database servers ready to be used and many more services.

Out of many services provided by the Meghraj Cloud, I want to discuss the eGranthalaya Software as a service by NIC.


eGranthalaya is a library management software developed by National Informatics Centre, Govt. of India. The latest version of eGranthalaya (version 4.0) available on national cloud (Meghraj) is a cloud-ready application and all the government/semi-government libraries are eligible to use this software. eGranthalaya is a digital agenda with the following objectives:
  • Automation and networking of Government/Public Libraries and Information Centers.
  • To serve as an integrated information center model.
  • To strengthen the public libraries in villages by presenting a cost-effective and economic viable model.
  • Expand the availability and accessibility of public library services and improve the quality of services for the citizens by G2C (Government-to-Citizen) interface.

Some characteristics:

  • Useful for the automation of in-house activities of libraries.
  • Provides various online member services.
  • Provide built-in WebOPAC to publish library catalog over the internet.
  • Software is Unicode compliant and supports data entry in the local language.
  • Maintaining a union catalog for government libraries.
  • eGranthalaya 4.0 uses PostgreSQL - an Open Source DBMS as the back-end database.

eGranthalaya is being used in about 4900+ libraries of India. In a very limited budget of libraries in India, it is beneficial to use the cloud-based software which itself is being provided by the Indian Government, so the security and safety issues of our users’ data saved on data centers of clouds in other countries are also ruled out.


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