A Six-Point Digital Agenda For India’s New Govt
Even before the election results are declared, it is believed that Internet and social media may have played a major role in the outcome of the 2014 General Elections, as all major political parties have leveraged the medium to reach out to voters and put across their message and vision for the country.
IAMAI’s 2013 report had earlier predicted that social media would have a very high impact in 160 constituencies, out of a total of 543 constituencies involved in the Lok Sabha polls. It is now believed that social media could have had an impact on more than 160 constituencies. IAMAI believes that whichever dispensation comes to power, will have a strong agenda of growth for the internet industry. It is in this context that IAMAI has prepared a 100-day internet agenda for the new government, given the importance of this medium to India’s future and efforts to ensure good governance.
While portions of this agenda may require continuing efforts beyond the first 100 days of the next government, the kick-starting of this effort to have empowered and high level policy-maker engagement on these issues is key to ensuring India’s position as an Internet leader. The six point submissions are summarized below:
Old laws and new technology
Ensure that Indian laws help internet platform businesses have a conducive environment to operate. Carry forward reforms to the rules issued under the Information Technology Act and ensure copyright law allows Indian web developers to innovate.
India’s contribution to a connected world
Create an environment allowing India to be a hub for global data flows and processing and shape India’s global Internet governance agenda in such a way that we drive global consensus to expand its multi-stakeholder administration and its collaborative benefits for our industry and users.
Accelerate the growth of meaningful internet access for Indian users and businesses
Existing projects like the NOFN should be accelerated using additional support along with stakeholder review of its strategic plan. Indian broadband policy efforts need to widen their focus to include the promotion of 100 per cent meaningful Internet access coverage in urban areas to bridge the growing deficit there. Telecom policy measures also need to be reformed to promote shared infrastructure models as well as new technologies such as dynamic and shared spectrum, along with removing impediments to large public wi-fi projects.
Safeguard India’s digital opportunities by keeping the Internet open and allowing innovation to thrive. Remove roadblocks to greater investment in the e-commerce sector and look to understand the regulatory and business hurdles affecting India’s efforts to be a leader in cloud based services. Provide incentives to mobile app technology development and digital finance, along with ensuring regulations are not holding back the growth of these industries in India.
Harnessing benefits for governance
Establish a focused effort around understanding how the internet and other technologies can help enable greater information sharing, feedback, and transparency in government using experts from government, industry, and academia.
Promote Indian venture capital
Make sure the environment is more conducive for angel investments and other sources of funding used by startups and Internet businesses in India. Ensure India’s financial and commerce policy-makers study the problem affecting the sector and prevent further regulatory roadblocks from developing.
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