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A curtain-raiser event of the India Internet Governance Forum (IIGF) concluded with an interesting insight into the roadmap for Digitisation in India. The curtain raiser event, is precursor to India Internet Governance Forum (IIGF), which will be conducted jointly by Ministry of Electronics and IT, NIXI and Multistakeholder Group from 8th to 11th of November, 2021.The theme of IIGF 2021 is ‘Empower India through Power of Internet’. The event will witness enlightening discussions on the road to Digitization in India. The salient feature of the event will be the three plenary sessions on themes- India &Internet- India’s Digital Journey and Her Global Role, Equity, Access & Quality – High-speed Internet for All and Cyber Norms and Ethics in Internet Governance.
India Internet Governance Forum(IIGF) has been constituted in conformance to IGF-Paragraph 72 of the Tunis Agenda of the UN-based Internet Governance forum (IGF). Through an open and inclusive process, IIGF brings together all stakeholders in the Global Internet governance ecosystem, including government, industry, civil society, academia – as equal participants of the larger Internet Governance discourse.
The objective of the curtain raiser event was to discuss and deliberate on the roadmap to Digitisation and reaffirm India as an essential participant on the global stage by highlighting its role and importance in the International Policy development on Internet Governance. The event commenced with the lighting of the inaugural lamp by Chief Guests Shri Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Minister of State, Electronics & Information Technology, Government of India, Dr. Ajay Data, Chairman UASG, Dr. Jaijit Bhattacharya, President C-DEP, Amrita Choudhury, Director CCAOI and Shri Anil Kumar Jain, CEO, NIXI.
Speaking on the occasion, Shri Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Minister of State, Electronics & Information Technology said “IIGF is being held at an extremely important time in the history of evolution of Internet in India. As we are emerging from a pandemic, it is becoming increasingly visible that there have been disruptions and reinventions of businesses, Governance and Governments across the world. The rate of Digitalization has increased and accelerated tremendously.”
Discussing about the huge set of opportunities that is provided by this march towards technology adoption, Shri Rajeev Chandrasekhar informed that “ We have around 80 Crore internet users at the moment, making India the largest connected Nation. Our Government is committed towards covering 120 crore people. We still have around 40 Crore people outside the network and it’s important we ensure that power of Internet is available to all. We must avoid Digital exclusion “
Sharing his views on the way forward for Internet Governance, Shri Rajeev Chandrasekhar affirmed “ I am a proud investee in the concept of multi-stakeholderism. Our Government, led by Hon’ble PM, believes in stakeholder driven public policy. The biggest stakeholders here are the internet users, so it’s important that the voice of internet users should resound in National and International forums. As the largest connected Nation in the world, we have disproportionately low presence in these public forums that decide the standards and technologies of Internet Globally.”
He concluded his remarks by stating that the stakeholders must get together and debate what the internet should be like. Our mandate as Government is precisely what the stakeholders want. The internet should be open, safe & trusted for its users and accountable to its stakeholders.
Mr. Anil Kumar Jain, Chair, IIGF, said, “India has one of the largest Internet populations and possesses the advantage of demographic dividend. The intersection of policy framework, the emergence of cutting-edge technologies and initiatives by private players present an exciting time for the evolution of the digital economy. The India Internet Governance Forum will be a step ahead in ensuring inclusive participation of all stakeholders in harnessing the power of the Internet for economic growth.”
Dr. Ajay Data, Chairman UASG mentioned “In India we have 19,000 dialects, 121 Languages and 22 official languages. Indian citizens should have a domain name of its choice. Under universal acceptance, all domain names must be accepted. Only 11% email servers support Hindi. We should be able to consume content in the language of our choice. This is an apt time for IIGF to be launched and we hope more people participate. This is a journey we have just begun. It is just the starting not the end and we hope to see more such deliberations.“