New Government Should Promote Internet Growth: IAMAI
The new government should ensure that Internet growth in India is not hampered by rules that create additional challenges for telcos, internet and web-hosting service providers and search engines, says Industry body IAMAI. It is therefore important that the new government should give importance to India’s Internet growth, it said.
Internet has already reached a tipping point in India, which has the world’s third largest online user base and the online economy reaching a potential of contributing about $100 billion to the GDP by end-2015, it mentioned in a report published by TOI.
IAMAI, which counts Amazon, ebay, Facebook, Flipkart, Google India, Reliance Infotel and Nokia India among its members, points out that Section 79 of the IT Act was intended to provide intermediaries an exemption from liability for third party content, which is simply made available or hosted by the intermediary. As a result of this it recognizes the role of intermediaries for the free flow of information, it mentioned in its 100-day agenda document.
“However, certain sections of the Act are poorly drafted and have become tools to censor free speech and harass intermediaries by forcing them to comply with questionable and frivolous requests for taking down legitimate content or risk losing their immunity,” it added.
IAMAI said in law, the significance of the ‘intermediary’ should be clearly reflected in a robust and expansive ‘safe harbour’ granted to the intermediary in all existing laws as well as in future laws. “If legal environment affecting Internet intermediaries in India is not clear, their current contribution of more than 1.3 per cent of India’s GDP will be at risk,” it said in the report.
IAMAI recommended the government to urgently conduct a review process for the intermediary due diligence rules in consultation with stakeholders in line with commitments made to Parliament.
It also suggested that authorities convene a study group of industry, experts and policymakers within the first 100 days to look into the regulatory impediments and business hurdles that are affecting India’s growth as global data flow and processing hub.
The industry body also suggested creating free Wi-Fi zones in all state capitals and top 100 large towns in the country.
Besides IAMAI said projects like the national Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) should be accelerated using additional support along with stakeholder review of its strategic plan, said the report.
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