16 December 2015 15:33:50 IST

‘Include developing nations in Internet governance processes’

General Assembly meeting reviews outcomes of World Summit on the Information Society

Policies enabling access to the Internet should be formulated with full involvement of stakeholders from the developing countries as a majority of the next billion net users will come from these nations, India has said.

“...it is imperative that the priorities and concerns of the stakeholders from developing regions are substantively represented in all global Internet governance processes.” Secretary in the Department of Electronics and Information Technology J S Deepak said.

“We, therefore, reiterate our commitment to a multi-stakeholder approach to Internet Governance and encourage it to embrace all geographies and societies,” he said on December 15 at the UN General Assembly meeting to review the outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society, also called WSIS, held 10 years ago.

The two-day event plans to adopt an outcome that identifies emerging trends, fresh priorities and innovations for advancing information and communications technologies.

He said the international community needs to acknowledge that since a large proportion of the next billion Internet users will come from developing nations, “policies which enable access to the Internet should be formulated with full involvement of all stakeholders from the developing world.”

Deepak noted that as India and the world deal with changes in Internet governance, it is important to keep in mind that this is not a zero-sum game.

“Rather, it can be a win-win for all! The Internet is not a scarce resource, but a powerful, enabling, global platform that can be used for the benefit of all,” he said.

Given the digital growth across the world, Deepak said nations also have to deal with challenges related to cyber security, some of which are not well understood.

“In the context of security and allied public policy concerns, we believe that governments, which bear ultimate responsibility for essential services and for public safety, have a key role to play and be central to discussions regarding security of the Internet. We should also aim to create a global convention to address issues of cyber security and cybercrime,” he said.

He voiced India’s commitment towards realising the 2030 Development Agenda through active deployment of Information and Communication Technology infrastructure and services.

Citing the ‘Sabka saath, sabka vikas’ motto of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, he said that technology can change the world and transform lives of people.

Over the last decade, India has leapfrogged many stages of development in access technology, leading to a huge increase in demand for digital services.

In 2000, India had less than 30 million telephone users in a population of a billion and by the end of 2015, the country would have crossed a billion connections in a population of 1.25 billion.

Deepak said of the next billion new global internet users, about 500 million are expected to be from India.

He noted that while progress is visible, almost 900 million people in India still do not have access to the Internet.

“This leads to an asymmetry of information and knowledge, which, in turn, leads to an asymmetry of opportunity. Hence, it is important to bridge the digital divide,” he said citing the ambitious’Digital India’ program aimed at bridging the stark differences between the digital ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’.