Press Information Bureau
Government of India
Ministry of Communications
04-September-2014 14:43 IST
Internet Governance Forum Meeting to Focus on Policies Enabling Access, Growth and Development on the Internet

Shri. R.S. Sharma, Secretary, DeitY, Ministry Communication and Information and Technology, Government of India, today participated in the Main Focus Panel at the 9th Meeting of the Internet Governance Forum, 2014 in Istanbul, Turkey. The main theme of the panel was “Policies enabling access, growth and development on the Internet”. Omobola Johnson, Nigeria's Honourable Minister of Communication, Daniel A. Sepulveda, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State & U.S. Coordinator for International Communications, United States Government and Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission, Commissioner for Digital Agenda were also present at the Panel discussion.

Mr. Sharma noted that currently, close to 4 billion people in the world do not have regular access to the Internet. 25% of those people are in India that is close to 1 billion people. This should be treated as an opportunity and not a challenge. More than 800 million mobile subscribers and they are connected to the telecommunication backbone. All possible steps are being taken to connect everyone to the Internet.

He mentioned that the new Government has embarked on a very ambitious initiative called “Digital India” - which aims to transform India into a digitally empowered society and a knowledge economy. While elaborating on the component of Digital India, he talked about National Optical Fiber Network (NOFN), National Information Infrastructure (NII) and other efforts of the Government of India. Broadband to every citizen as a core utility was one of the most important components of the program to improve access to digital resources, one of the main themes of the Conference. The Digital India initiative by our Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi will not only ensure high speed connectivity through a robust internet backbone but also set up Wi-Fi hotspots. The hotspots will help in connects various institutions such as schools, colleges, universities, hospitals, libraries, etc.

Some other important components of Digital India, all of which contributed to the improved access mentioned were: Cradle to Grave Digital Identity to every person, Mobile phone and bank account to everyone, creation of digital resources in Indian languages, setting up of Common Service Delivery Centres in each panchayat. This will allow transparent and efficient electronic service delivery. In this regard regulations related to Electronic Service Delivery are being prepared and will be implemented in the near future. Additionally, Post Offices will also be used as Common Service Delivery Centres. Many countries have appreciated India’s excellent public delivery system model.

Mr. Sharma emphasized that the problem of access should not be looked merely from the perspective of creation of infrastructure. There are many issues like capacity building, content creation, especially in local languages, business models for service delivery and coordination among various agencies which will need to tackled in a coordinated manner.

He also mentioned about the Digital Literacy Programme, an on-going project which aims at build capacity among potential users of the Internet. In addition to this the Government has also launched e-Bhasa project or e-Language project which would ensure availability content in local languages.

Internet is a powerful enabler for economic development, empowerment and growth and India will ensure that it will inclusively leverage its potential to realize its dream of “Digital India”.