Statement by India on Agenda Item 2 on ' Progress made in the implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) at the regional and international levels’ atthe 17th session of UNCSTD, delivered by Dr. Rajendra Kumar, Joint Secretary (e-Gov), DeitY on 12 May 2014
At the outset, my delegation would like to congratulate you and other members of the Bureau on your election and for chairing this important Commission. I assure you of my delegation’s full support and cooperation in the deliberations of this Commission.
We thank the Secretary General for a comprehensive report on the Agenda Item 2, which is reviewing the progress made in the implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society at the regional and international levels.
Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) have become extremely important in fostering social and economic development around the world. ICTs have great potential in reducing poverty and promoting inclusive social and economic development in developing countries. By virtue of their capacity to process enormous amounts of data and connect people and places in real time, ICTs can play a vital role in regional, national and global development.ICTs can also help in accelerating the growth momentum by enhancing efficiency and competitiveness across various sectors such as agriculture, health, education, financial inclusion, government services, empowering differently abled people, rural development, employment generation, etc.
Great advances in the capabilities of ICTs have fuelled rapid technology-enabled innovations in a wide range of economic and social sectors. In parallel, rapid strides have been made in the spread of ICTs worldwide - with over 96% of the population having mobile phone subscriptions and over 41% of the households having Internet access. However, the Secretary General’s report rightly highlights that sizable gaps in ICT development remain between and within regions. Access to ICTs is not ubiquitous or affordable in large parts of the developing world. It is, therefore, extremely important that the review of WSIS processes as well as the preparations for WSIS +10 accord the highest priority to this dimension. The Commission may, therefore, consider this issue on a priority basis.
The Secretary-general’s report highlights a new trend on wireless technologies. These technologies have the potential to bridge the digital divide rapidly and provide affordable access to a variety of content and services through “smart” devices. India has adopted a national policy Framework on Mobile Governance which aims at providing all electronic government services through mobile devices. The national mobile platform, named as Mobile Seva, is already operational with over 1000 government departments and agencies across the country using it to provide mobile based services to the citizens and businesses. With over 900 million mobile phones in the country, India is well placed to derive maximum advantage of these technologies for inclusive social and economic development.
India has also emerged as the third largest country in the world in terms of Internet usage with over 200 million Internet users. India adopted a National Policy on IT in 2012 for inclusive and sustainable development through ICT. The policy envisages leveraging the power of ICTs to help address economic and developmental challenges in key social sectors such as education, health, skill development, financial inclusion, employment generation, governance etc. to greatly enhance efficiency across the board in the economy.
India has also adopted a National Telecom Policy in 2012 with the vision of providing broadband access on demand across the country. The policy envisages leveraging telecom infrastructure to enable all citizens and businesses, both in rural and urban areas, to participate in the Internet and web economy thereby ensuring equitable and inclusive development across the nation.
India is implementing a National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) with the vision to make all government services accessible to the common person in his or her locality through efficient, transparent and reliable mechanisms. It comprises 31 Mission Mode Projects (MMPs) in a wide range of domains with a significant citizen interface. To realize this vision, an elaborate common ICT infrastructure consisting of state wide area networks (SWANs), state data centres (SDCs), and common services centres (CSCs) has been created for implementation of all the MMPs.
The advent of emerging technologies like cloud computing and mobile platform and convergence of technologies have thrown up enormous possibilities for innovation in developing new applications and service delivery models that can help the government departments in reaching the people directly for delivering various services. Services are becoming seamlessly integrated through cloud, internet and mobile platform. Location based services have made it possible to use ICTs for a new and exciting range of services. To harness the potential of cloud computing in the government domain, India has adopted a Government of India (GI) Cloud Strategic Direction Paper and a GI Cloud Adoption and Implementation Roadmap.
India has also adopted a Citizen Engagement Framework for e-Governance Projects and a Framework and Guidelines for Use of Social Media by Government departments and agencies for ensuring continued multi-stake holder dialogue and engagement in e-Governance. The frameworks encourage participation of various stakeholders such as citizens, civil society, private sector and academic institutions to attain India’s development goals through ICT. These developments in India are broadly in consonance with the outcomes envisaged by WSIS at national level. To promote open data, India has also adopted the National Data Sharing and Accessibility Policy with a mandate to provide data from government departments in the public domain.
While there is general recognition that some progress has been made since WSIS in Tunis in 2005, there are still looming concerns about significant challenges that remain, particularly in ensuring the inclusiveness of the information society. In addition, governanceof global Internet, which ismultilateral, transparentanddemocratic,withincreasedparticipationofdevelopingcountries,remains a distant dream.
Rapid growth in ICT access and use in Asia and the Pacific has enabled emergence of a digital economy, which is a source of innovation and productivity improvements. However, quality and high price of ICT infrastructure, broadband access and digital content in many parts of the developing world are major areas of concern.
We believe that a common platform under the aegis of United Nations could be developed to enable sharing of experiences and best practices across countries in the areas of various ICT applications referred to in Secretary-General's report relating to financial inclusion, agriculture, health, governance and education for making the information available to the world. India would be happy to contribute in development of such a common platform and provide the required resources to enable the benefits of ICTs reach the last mile.
We thank the UN General Assembly for giving opportunity to deliberate in the Meetings of the Working Group on Enhanced Cooperation. The elements of India’s approach on Internet Governance respond to its growing complexity and rests in ensuring the dynamism, security and openness of a single and un-fragmented cyberspace. We also support innovation and robust private sector investments to augment Internet’s continuing growth and evolution. For it to be globally acceptable and credible, we also seek, as the Tunis agenda also states, the Internet Governance ecosystem to be representative, democratic and transparent, rather than a management by a few, with the full involvement of governments, the private sector, civil society and international organizations. Further, models of Internet Governance should address it in a holistic manner rather than just one or two disciplines.Also, given its profound importance, the internet governance should rest on appropriate international legal framework, both for international public policy issues as well as the core internet infrastructure. Going forward, we remain open to holding regular dialogues on these issues with relevant International partners, both bilaterally, through established international mechanisms.
India supports the call for a High Level WSIS +10 Review Conference in 2015. We hope that the 69th session of the UN General Assembly would provide guidance on the WSIS+ 10 Review Conference.
I thank you Mr. Chairman.