Kerala

CM digs in his heels on Sprinklr deal

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Sunday stubbornly refused to give in to the demand of the Congress to cancel the contract with the controversial U.S.-based data analytics firm Sprinklr Inc.

He dug his heels in on the issue in his weekly television programme titled ‘Nammal Munnootu’.

Muckraking media

Mr. Vijayan accused the media of muckraking and giving undue importance to controversies. The government would continue to engage Sprinklr to provide it with insight into COVID-19 occurrence and spread.

It would not step back from the deal because few vested interests had tried to malign it, he said.

The High Court (HC) had handed the government a moral victory by rejecting the Opposition’s demand to annul the agreement.

The government was in dire need of a big data analytics platform to crunch field health information when COVID-19 was at the gates of Kerala and threatened to scythe down the population.

Sprinklr offered its services free. The State did not have a comparable IT tool in its inventory. Hence it hired Sprinklr.

The government held proprietary rights over the personal health information of citizens collected by field workers. It would be protected, and no scope for its misuse or monetisation by Sprinklr existed.

CM flayed

Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala slammed Mr. Vijayan for using the visibility of his office to demonise the media and those who question or criticise his policies.

He asked the Chief Minister to explain why he had “surreptitiously” chosen Sprinklr over the more experienced and credible public sector IT solution providers such as the National Informatics Centre.

The HC had given no reprieve to Mr. Vijayan. The Chief Minister’s fear that the court would expose his lies had driven him to bypass the Advocate General and hire a costly lawyer from Mumbai at the expense of the taxpayer to defend his “affair with Sprinklr” in the courtroom, Mr. Chennithala said.

The HC was critical of the Sprinklr. It ordered the government to anonymise the identity of surveilled persons and ordered Sprinklr from monetising the data or using the State’s emblem to promote its brand internationally, he added.

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Printable version | Aug 14, 2020 10:35:58 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/cm-digs-in-his-heels-on-sprinklr-deal/article31438853.ece

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