India, US discuss net neutrality, internet governance

15 Jan 2015


India and the United States have decided to strengthen mutual cooperation in the field of electronic manufacturing and information technology.

This was decided at a meeting of US unde-secretary of state Catherine Novelli with minister for communications and information technology Ravi Shankar Prasad last evening.

During his talks with the US official, Prasad also raised the issue of governance of internet and the issue of net neutrality.

The US official felt that the discussions on internet governance has become more broad-based and inclusive and that there was a need to have dialogues with engineers, IT professionals, companies, stakeholders.

''Net neutrality is an area on which the US federal government has taken a firm stand that we do not want any compromises on net neutrality,'' she said.

India, the minister pointed out, wanted the internet to promote local along with the global. ''For India, net neutrality is very important. It is an instrument for the masses and it must remain an instrument for the masses. As far as government architecture to deal with this issue is concerned India is studying this and discussing it with stakeholders,'' he said.

Prasad also shared with Novelli the issue of India's global representation in internet governance and the need to increase this. He felt that an open and democratic society must allow larger space to each other. Novelli said that it was also important for the US, which would like to see India play a larger role in the internet issues of the world.

''The US is open to talk more about these issues and would like to be on the same side of these issues,'' she added.

Sharing the government's Digital India vision with the US under secretary, the minister explained the broad contours of the government's policy, namely, the digital infrastructure, digital delivery of services and digital empowerment of citizens.

In this context he informed the US official about the digitalisation of Idukki district in Kerala, where the National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) has been commissioned as part of the process of digitizing services provided by of the states.

The minister also shared the recent initiative of Jeevan Pramaan - a biometric identity based pension certification system and the biometric attendance system and MyGov, a participative platform developed for citizens to take active participation in the process of governance.

The government, he said, has taken up electronic manufacturing as an area that is to be promoted in a big way. The government has launched various incentives for promoting manufacturing in India, he added.

Novelli said companies from the US are very excited to join India in promoting manufacturing, but she felt the constraints of global supply chain must also be taken into consideration while promoting Make in India.

Prasad assured the under secretary that US companies investing in India will be treated at par with the Indian companies, so that they are not subjected to any different conditions for investing in India. If they manufacture in India, they not only sell their products in India but also export it to the rest of the world and avail incentives.

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