New Delhi: India is taking determined steps to become the largest digitally connected nation in the world. Rajeev Chandrasekhar, the Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology said, “We have around 80 crore internet users at the moment, making India the largest connected nation. Our government is committed to covering 120 crore people. We still have around 40 crore people outside the network. We must avoid digital exclusion.”
Chandrasekhar was addressing a curtain raiser event on October 21, ahead of the India Internet Governance Forum (IIGF) scheduled to be held from November 8-11 on the theme of ‘Empower India through Power of Internet.’ The India Internet Government Forum is an initiative associated with the UN Internet Governance Forum (UN-IGF). The IIGF is a multi-stakeholder platform bringing representatives together from various groups to discuss public policy issues related to the internet.
“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, and trusted for its users and accountable to its stakeholders,” Chandrasekhar said.
The stakeholders raised issues such as the diversity of languages in India and the world and stressed that there should be universal acceptance of all domain names. “In India, we have 19,000 dialects, 121 languages, and 22 official languages. Indian citizens should have a domain name of their choice. Under universal acceptance, all domain names must be accepted. Only 11 percent of 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,” Ajay Data Chairman of Universal Acceptance Steering Group (USAG) said.
Chairman of IIGF Anil Kumar Jain hoped that the IIGF deliberations will be a step ahead in ensuring inclusive participation of all stakeholders in harnessing the power of the Internet for economic growth.