Statement by India on 'ICTs for Inclusive Social and Economic Development' at The 17th session of UNCSTD, delivered by Dr. Rajendra Kumar, Joint Secretary (e-Gov), DeitY on 13 May, 2014
Statement by India on ''ICTs for Inclusive Social and Economic Development” at The 17th session of UNCSTD, delivered by Dr. Rajendra Kumar, Joint Secretary (e-Gov), DeitYon 13 May 2014
At the outset, my delegation would like to thank the Secretary General for a comprehensive report on the Agenda Item 3(b) on Information and Communication Technologies(ICTs) for Inclusive Social and Economic Development. The report provides a comprehensive overview of the emerging trends in ICTs for development and lays down a broad agenda for promoting inclusive social & economic development across all countries.
India fully recognizes the importance of ICTs as an enabler of inclusive social and economic development particularly with regard to universalizing access to a wide range of services and applications in various social sectors such as education, health, women and child development, agriculture, employment generation, financial inclusion, gender equity, and empowerment of the differently abled persons.
India launched a National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) in 2006 with the vision to make all government services available to the common person in his/her locality through common service centers in a transparent, efficient, reliable and affordable manner. The centralized planning and decentralized implementation ensures participation of various stakeholders at all stages, from conceptualization of the e-governance project to its implementation and goes beyond to ensure quality of the delivered e-services. The NeGP comprises 31 Mission Mode Projects (MMPs) in a wide range of domains such as health, education, agriculture, land records, district and sub-district level services, etc.
With the learnings from the experience of implementation of NeGP over the last 8 years, India is now more committed to enhance the scope and quality of e-governance in the country by bringing in transformational government process reengineering, focusing on integrated services and interoperable systems, making best use of emerging technologies like Cloud, Mobile, In-memory database etc.
With over 200 million Internet users, India has emerged as the third largest country in the world in Internet usage. With over 900 million mobile phones and 3G services becoming available across the country, mobile broadband is also poised for rapid expansion. However, availability, quality and affordability of access to broadband particularly in rural areas and availability of digital content and services remain major areas of concern to enhance reach of services.
Taking cognizance of the high penetration of mobile phones in the country, India has adopted a Framework for Mobile Governance for providing government services to the people through mobile devices and ensuring much wider access to such services, especially in rural areas.A new initiative named as Mobile Sevahas also been launched to provide electronic public services through mobile devices. Mobile Seva provides a centralized cloud based platform to all government departments and agencies in the country to offer their mobile based services through various mobile channels such as Short Message Service, Unstructured Supplementary Service Data, Interactive Voice Response System and mobile apps. Already, over 1000 government departments and agencies across the country are using this platform to deliver over 2.5 million transactions to citizens and businesses every day.
India is also implementing a National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) project aimed at providing high-speed gigabit connectivity to all the 2,50,000village panchayats in the country. It has also implemented a nation-wide project to establish over 1,33,000 common service centres in villages to provide public access to internet based services, both government to citizens and business to citizens, to the rural population.
For optimum utilization of infrastructure and speeding up the IT procurement cycle, India has launched a Government of India Cloud platform named as MeghRaj toprovide ICT infrastructure to government departments on demand and enable them to quickly rollout their electronic services.
India has also formulated the National Policy on IT in 2012 for inclusive and sustainable development through ICTs. 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. As India is a multi-lingual nation, the policy also aims at language localization to localize ICT based applications for more inclusive service delivery. Similarly, the National Telecom Policy 2012 has the vision of providing broadband on demand and 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 has also createda Citizen Engagement Framework for e-Governance Projects and a Framework and Guidelines for Use of Social Media for Government Organizations for ensuring continued multi-stake holder dialogue in e-governance. These initiatives are aimed at enhancing and widening the access to various services and applications especially in rural areas and fostering an innovation ecosystem for participative delivery model that is truly citizen centric. Participation of civil society, private sector and academic institutions is being leveraged to attain India’s development goals through ICT.
There is a great opportunity to share experiences on e-governance and ICT for development interventions amongst member countries so that society at large could benefit.Wewould support efforts to identify suitable areas of collaboration in this domain.