STATEMENT BY H.E. Mr. DAYANIDHI MARAN
HON'BLE MINISTER OF COMMUNICATIONS & INFORMATION
GOVERNMENT OF INDIA
16 NOVEMBER 2005
As I address this august gathering, I feel humbled by the
enormous expectations that the world has from this historic summit. The
decisions that we are taking here will impact human society for at least a
generation to come. I must at the outset compliment the Secretary General
for having given us this vision of utilising the ICT for the greater benefit
of mankind. It is my great pleasure and privilege to compliment you Mr.
Chairman for the deft manner in which you have guided our work. Thanks are
equally due to the Chairman of the preparatory committee and the officials
of all countries including those of the secretariat, who have laboured hard
to produce the documents that are before us.
Mr. Chairman, it is about two years since we last met at
Geneva and adopted what are now the GENEVA PRINCIPLES. During these two
years, ICT has evolved substantially. And equally, much useful work is
carried out and initiated towards greater use of ICT for development. Yet I
cannot help but underscore that a lot more needs to be done between
countries and within respective countries to obliterate what we call the
Digital Divide. It is time Mr. Chairman, for us to stop using regressive
symbols such as division and use ICT for multiplication of information
leading to generation of additional wealth and happiness.
Enough has been said about the need for using the ICT.
The time is now to delve into the how of it. So far, ICT has been used more
for the privileged than for those who are most in need of assistance in
their daily lives, be it for health, education or poverty reduction or
disaster management. Are we unwittingly therefore, allowing ourselves to be
slaves of the Information disorder instead of being masters of the
I speak with the confidence of belonging to a society
which is faced with sizeable problems, but has successfully integrated ICT
into the development process. By any yardstick, the problems
notwithstanding, ours is a success story. We have significantly increased
our tele-density and used ICT in various spheres. At the same time, we are
acutely aware that our rural areas still need to catch up in a big way.
Central to the effort to bring ICT into the ordinary
lives is the question of access. Computers still remain the preserve of
small elite. We in India have developed sub US $ 200 computers. Even this is
not enough. Unless the computer reaches virtually every home, it cannot
become an effective weapon against underdevelopment. Human society is rich
because of its diversity, including languages. The computer needs to be
compatible with the mother tongue in order to be of maximum utility. Coming
from a country which itself has a large number of languages and dialects; we
have in our country, successfully developed, Machine Aided Translation in a
large number of languages. We shall be happy to share this knowledge with
India is increasingly integrating ICT into its national
development plans and adopting strategies for technological learning. Our
expanding infrastructure promotes technological development, including
establishing business and technology incubators and export processing zones.
Its success, especially in the field of export of software and services has
been widely acclaimed.
We are at the cusp of a historical moment. The technology
scenario unfolding before us is so dynamic and complex that we have
abundances and scarcities staring at us. The challenges before us is to
design an improved organisation structure where the legal and regulatory
framework to promote ICTs is in place. We must create capacity to manage the
business process changes that ICTs will bring in its wake.
- an institutional mechanism to help local development and
manufacturing of ICT applications and Technologies;
- citizen engagement and community participation especially for
societal IT applications for education and health improvement;
Let us today, solemnly resolve to create an information
society where financial flows are adequate and predictable so that strategic
planning is possible; and where communities are empowered through
multilingualization and localization of content and applications access.
International cooperation is a sine qua non of the new
Information Society and the Internet is both a robust and in fact the ideal
medium. If the Internet is a shared resource, so must be its oversight and
management. I am happy that the summit has made a beginning down that road.
We regard this as a preliminary and modest step. The outcome document
embodies our collective resolve that we move slowly but surely towards a
system of oversight and management which is responsive to the changes in
technology, the emergence of new stakeholders and becomes a truly multi
layered, multi stakeholder system which is democratic, transparent and above
all gives a sense of ownership and participation to all concerned. While
doing so we must acknowledge and pay tribute to the pioneering spirit of
those who made internet possible and the society which carefully nurtured
such a precious asset from which the world has benefited immensely.
Let me conclude Mr. Chairman by expressing confidence in
ICT as a harbinger of equitable, humane and peaceful society.
Thank you Mr. Chairman.