Vol. III No.

6

June 2005

The first monthly magazine on ICT4D

Open source software

Strategic choice for developing countries
Information for development

www.i4d.csdms.in

Community radio policy in India
Mixed signals of expectations

ICT policy of Ethiopia
Changing positively

ISSN 0972 - 804X

ICT Policy

April 2004 | www.i4donline.net

knowledge for change

1

e-Government: Evolution or Revolution?

e

e

e

www.conflux.csdms.in

Conflux
e
The e-Government Conference

2005

Contents
Features

i4d Vol. III No. 6

June 2005

Columns

Mailbox

info@i4donline.net

27 30 32 6 8
ICT Policy
Perspectives and challenges

ICT policy in Africa
Challenge for African governments

Portrait
The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI)

Information technology act
Need for amending

33 34

Zooming in
Protecting child rights

Open source software
Strategic choice for developing countries Francisco J. Proenza

Books received

I am a keen follower of developments in ICT for development. Your print version of i4d is of immense interest to me. I would be grateful if my address would be added to your mailing list. Dr K A Raju National Institute of Rural Development karaju44@yahoo.co.in I have gone through the i4d website and seen my article and other articles. I want to show my appreciation for the nice editorial touch and layout. I think the magazine is great and has a much brighter future to come. I wish to receive the hard copy of this magazine. Lawrence Kweku Yamuah Armauer Hansen Research Institute Ethopia yamuahlk@yahoo.co.uk I am impressed by your print magazine, which I received for the first time in May this year. I am moved by the features based on real life experiences in developing world and how IT is helpful in enhancing learning. I would like to contribute features on ICT4D based on experiences in East Africa. Menda. A S justafrica2001@yahoo.com It will be great if you could send me a complimentary copy of December 2004 issue of your very valuable and informative magazine, i4d. Dr R K Gupta rkgmk@softhome.net

Rendezvous
Euro-India ICT co-operation, 2-3 June, Mumbai, India
Development through co-operation

for business 12 ICT applicationrural Vietnam 39 development in
Creating conducive policy environment Vu Thi Thanh Huong

for 16 Policy study ICT rural Karnataka’s projects
Integrating bits for a bigger bite Rashmi Gopal

40 42 44 45 46

National Workshop on right to information act 2005, New Delhi, India
Preparing to implement successfully

Bytes for All Disaster feature
Managing disasters

19 Community radio policy in India
Mixed signals of expectations Sajan Venniyoor

What’s on In Fact
Policy panorama

21

Map policy of India
Policy for whom? Ayon Kumar Tarafdar

28 ICT policy of Ethiopia
Changing positively Gordon Feller

23 News
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Editorial
Information for development w w w . i 4 d . c s d m s . i n

ICT policy for development
In the last fifteen years, the information and communication technologies for development have evolved rapidly. The developing countries have started formulating their ICT policies only in the last five years or so. But most ICT policies are solely focused on developing the IT sector and are often driven by the vendor interests, thus remaining rather weak on the development perspectives. Little emphasis is laid on improving competitiveness of industry in this increasingly globalising world. Much emphasis is also not laid on good governance for improving efficiency, better delivery of citizen services and deployments that may lead to employment and livelihood support. The DOT-COM alliance, an USAID project which brings together agencies of the dot-GOV, dot-EDU and dot-ORG sectors, has since 2001, raised the critical elements that needs to be taken into consideration in the policy processes especially for developing countries. One critical aspect that has been emphasised is a gender perspective, that can be built into new national policies. Lessons from experiences of developed and developing nations who have been ahead of others, provide a great opportunity to get a head start. The Association of Progressive Communications (APC) is another network that has supported formulation, assisted the civil society to engage and advocate for development concerns to be built into ICT policies. Not only has APC provided community platforms for learning and sharing, but also has helped create alliances and policy watch monitors. Five key ingredients are necessary to ensure that the disadvantaged, poor and rural communities can take advantage of an information revolution. The first key ingredient is policy environment. This needs to be supplemented by the other four ingredients, viz., infrastructure, education, skills and access. Whenever countries have engaged in multi-stakeholder participation in their ICT policy processes, like in Kenya, Nepal, Sri Lanka, China or India, the policies have found greater acceptance and have translated into remarkably effective programmes and projects. In this issue, we have presented a development perspective to the ICT policy. We do hope that the cases presented in this issue will build the perspectives of developing countries and provide valuable insights to the international support organisations, be it bilateral or multilateral agencies. We look forward to learning more from governments and civil society in lesser known or documented countries.

Advisory Board M P Narayanan, Chairman, i4d Amitabha Pande Indian Administrative Service Chin Saik Yoon Southbound Publications, Malaysia Ichiro Tambo OECD, France Karl Harmsen Centre for Space Science and Technology Education in Asia and the Pacific, India Kenneth Keniston Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA Mohammed Yunus Grameen Bank, Bangladesh Nagy Hanna Information Solutions Group, World Bank, USA S. Ramani Research Director, H.P.Labs, India Walter Fust Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Switzerland Wijayananda Jayaweera UNESCO, France Editorial Board Frederick Noronha, Akhtar Badshah Editor Ravi Gupta Editorial Consultant Jayalakshmi Chittoor Sr. Programme Officer Saswati Paik Programme Officers Anuradha Dhar, Gautam Navin Research Associates Tanzeena Ghoshe Mukherjee, Sejuti Sarkar De Designers Deepak Kumar, Bishwajeet Kumar Singh Web Programmer Zia Salahuddin Group Directors Maneesh Prasad, Sanjay Kumar i4d G-4 Sector 39, NOIDA, UP, 201 301, India. Phone +91 120 250 2180-87 Fax +91 120 250 0060 Email info@i4donline.net Web www.i4d.csdms.in Contact us in Singapore 25 International Business Park, #4-103F, German Centre, Singapore - 609916 Phone +65-65627983 Fax +65-656227984 Printed at Yashi Media Works Pvt. Ltd. New Delhi, India i4d is a monthly publication. It is intended for those interested and involved in the use of Information and CommnicationTechnologies for development of underserved communities. It is hoped that it will serve to foster a growing network by keeping the community up to date on many activities in this wide and exciting field. i4d does not necessarily subscribe to the views expressed in this publication. All views expressed in this magazine are those of the contributors. i4d is not responsible or accountable for any loss incurred directly or indirectly as a result of the information provided.

© Centre for Science, Development and Media Studies, 2005

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Ravi Gupta Ravi.Gupta@csdms.in

March 2005 | www.i4d.csdms.in

5

ICT P OLICY

Perspectives and challenges
The first phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) held in Geneva in December 2003 made a commitment to ‘build a people-centred, inclusive and development-oriented information society, where everyone can create, access, utilise and share information and knowledge’. For making this a reality, a transparent and non-discriminatory ICT policy is necessary. During the last 20 years, Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) have provided a wealth of new technological opportunities, with the rapid deployment of both the Internet and cellular telephony leading the way. These technologies have invaded every country that is willing to accept them. The most important differentiating factor now is policy. Policy makes the fundamental difference regarding how countries are able to take advantage of the technological opportunities available to them and exploit them for good. Countries that have progressive policies are seeing these technologies spread quickly. Conversely, countries that have not been able to formulate an integrated ICT policy yet have been plagued by slow growth of technology and the consequent lessening of support for economic and social development. ICTs are now also an important enabling tools to support the process of development. The full potential of ICT can be realised, and it can be used to maximise the social, economic and environmental benefits of the society only if the ICT policies are effective. The policies should contain a particular approach as to how ICT for development will be achieved and ensure the collaboration of stakeholders in government, the private sector, civil society and international organisations. ICT policies and regulations are also needed to foster an environment, conducive to build an ICT infrastructure as well as leveraging ICTs for knowledge creation and dissemination.

Actors in ICT policy
Government The government plays the most important role in the formulation of ICT policy, and thus, it only decides how countries are able to take advantage of the technical opportunities available to them and exploit them for good. In the Republic of Korea, for example, the government took the lead in promoting development of the Internet. In Egypt, the dynamic Ministry of Communications and Information Technology played a strong role in catalysing telecommunications development in the country. Most of the high income countries have one integrated ICT master plan, where telecommunications and IT policies form part of one development plan. The old sectoral framework for policy-making based on broadcasting, telecommunications and information technology has now been shifted to a new layered framework where all the tools of ICT work cohesively, focusing on social and economic development. A central body may be needed to coordinate and oversee all policy issues driving competitiveness centrally to ensure policy coherence across different policy domains and to make sure that efforts in some fields are not held up by bottlenecks in other areas. For this reason, several countries have established high-level

task forces entrusted with monitoring and overseeing the implementation of integrated policies for ICTs, such as the ICT taskforce in Australia and the National Information Technology Council in Malaysia. These task forces are often build on principles of public-private partnership and collaboration between government and the private sector, to ensure that policy making can respond quickly to firms’ needs and concerns. Private sectors Although policies are formally put in place by governments, different stakeholders and in particular, the private sector make inputs into the policy process and affect its outcomes. In the context of globalised markets, large and rich corporations are often more powerful than developing countries’ governments, allowing them to shape the policy-making process. When Mexico was considering adopting free software in its education system, Microsoft offered fund and free licences to the government, which eventually dropped GNU/Linux and embraced Windows completely.

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i4d | June 2005

International organisations International organisations also influence the policies of the countries. The five organisations that dominate mainstream dialogue on global ICT policy issues are: • The International Telecommunications Union because of its mandate for telecommunications within the United Nations system; • The World Intellectual Property Organisation because it is responsible for setting the rules that govern ownership of content on the Internet; • The World Trade Organisation because it sets the rules for international trade; • The World Bank because of the financial and technical resources it brings to bear on development; • The World Economic Forum because of its ability to convene the world’s rich and powerful.

Policies affecting the society
An ICT policy framework that corresponds to international best practices and standards provide the springboard for ICT applications to be used in many sectors to stimulate economic growth and improve the quality of life. The policies that affect the following sectors of society are: • Students: Policies that address the curriculum reforms and budgetary issues associated with the deployment and maintenance of computer systems in educational institutes will influence the education of the students. • Underserved community: Policies that address interconnection between land and cellular phone lines, and free market competition often result in an expansion of cellular phone service at affordable prices. Those traditionally underserved (rural areas, the poor, women, or the elderly) have increased access to telephone service for personal, health, political, or business needs when cellular service is cheaper and accessible in rural and hard-to-reach areas. Policies that address the allocation of the radio spectrum to include community radio stations can mean an increased number and range of locally run, locally owned radio, a prime method of communication with rural, largely illiterate communities. • Civil society: Policies that allow Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to multiply on the market can result in a decrease in the cost of Internet access, making e-mail accounts affordable to local NGOs and other community groups. This increases the efficiency and networking ability of these groups helping their work to reach their target populations. • Industries: Clear regulations concerning copyright, intellectual property rights and cyber crime help local ICT industries compete with the international companies. • Encouraging use of technology and innovations in technology use; • Promoting information sharing, transparency and accountability; • Identifying priority areas for ICT development; • Developing new legislations and policies according to the need of the development. • A major reason of difficulty for the developing countries is their inability to keep pace with the continuous and rapid speed of ICT innovation and development.

Elements and aspirations associated
The formulation and implementation of national ICT strategies that deal effectively with the preceding challenges must be particularly sensitive to two elements: • The need for mechanisms to monitor and assess ICT readiness, usage and impact; • The need to link ICT policies to other development policies such as education, trade and health, to allow broad-based diffusion of ICT. Uneven diffusion of technology and inequality in access to technologies are the major stumble blocks of development. A major challenge for policy-makers at the national and international level, therefore, lies in addressing the issue of the digital divide between rich and poor countries, rural and urban areas, men and women, skilled and unskilled citizens, and large and small enterprises. The policy should also help people and organisations to adapt to new circumstances and technology. Thus, an ideal ICT policy should try to meet the following aspirations: • Providing individuals and organisations with a minimum level of ICT knowledge and the ability to keep it up to date; • Providing information and communication facilities, services and management at a reasonable or reduced cost; • Improving the quality of services and products;
June 2005 | www.i4d.csdms.in

Need of the hour
ICT policies need to recognise the above caveats and offer ways to overcome the constraints. Governments, regional organisations, and international organisations responsible for the formulation and adoption of ICT policies are urged to develop and adhere to adequately resourced action plans that designate responsible actors, timelines, and priorities as appropriate for the particular circumstances. Political will is also an important stimulator of policy decision and it is stimulated by stakeholder groups voicing their needs. These stakeholders include not only the government, but also the business sector and civil society groups. An active participation of civil society and the private sector ensure a strong partnership to sustain a policy process. If we want to promote social justice, then ICT policy will be a key factor in this battle, and we cannot afford to remain outside the ICT policy-making process.
Sejuti Sarkar De, sejuti@csdms.in

Obstacles ahead
The problems that are associated with the adequate implementation of ICT policies specially in developing countries are as follows: • The government identifies IT as tool for development but most of the policies lead to sectoral development of IT in software rather than focusing on social induced development; • Many countries do not have definitive National ICT Development Master Plan; • There is lack of availability and also unbalanced distribution of information and telecommunication infrastructures in most of the countries; • Various studies have reported that people’s awareness and knowledge of the benefits of ICT is considerably low and needs to be enhanced;

7

O PEN S OURCE S OFTWARE

Strategic choice for developing countries
In most developing countries, the adoption of a national programme can prevent technological lockin through selective, judicious and cost-effective use of open source software.
Software is subject to network economies that makes an application rise in value rapidly as the number of users increase. This leads to winner-take-most markets, where a single enterprise achieves overwhelming dominance. Consumers become captive or ‘locked’ into a single technology because everyone uses it and because the costs of shifting and learning to use alternative products are high. The role of government is to promote competition in all markets . The leading software vendor often bundles features in its software that increase consumer dependence and thwart competitors that directly threaten its dominance. Regulators have sought to level the playing field by imposing fines for anti-competitive behaviour and by requiring the sharing of technical information. It will make easier for the competitors to connect their desktop applications to the dominant vendor’s servers. But often, it is not the effort of regulators but rather the maturing of technology and innovation in business models that gnaw away the leading software vendor’s dominance. Network effects and technological lock-in are highest where a significant investment in a proprietary technology is already in place. This is hardly the case in most developing countries where e-Government and computerisation is only beginning. The re-training and other transitional costs of moving from proprietary technology to a low-cost open source technology are much higher in the US, Australia, Sweden, Korea or Singapore, where there are over 60 computers for every 100 people. In Asia, very few countries have even 3 computers per 100 people. In most developing countries, the adoption of a national programme can prevent technological lock-in through selective, judicious and cost-effective use of open source software. Analytical work has firmly established the reliability of open source software as practical and robust technological platforms supported by sensible business models. Many large companies like Sun Microsystems, IBM, Novell, etc. who are direct competitors of the leading proprietary vendor have participated in the development of open source software. These companies have provided the coordination and investment resources needed to ensure that some widely used applications developed under an open source are reliable, sustainable and available across several technological platforms. The companies have done well because their support of open source serves as a viable business model. They are regarded as ‘community friendly’ (a powerful form of advertising), and they can make profit on services (e.g. training, technical support) or by selling enhanced software products. Some governments are making large scale all-purpose migrations from proprietary to open source software. The small Municipality of Extremadura, Spain was perhaps the first to make the move and cities like Bergen, Barcelona and Munich followed suit. Paris considered migration, but given its strong dependence on proprietary software, opted for a gradual shift to open source. After many years of recommending migration to open source systems in government desktops, the Government of Brazil appears to be on the verge of issuing a presidential decree mandating migration of all the computers of its 22 federal ministries to open source (Linux and FreeBSD) operating systems.

Francisco J. Proenza Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), United Nations, Italy Francisco.Proenza@fao.org

Challenges by type of application
The choices of the governments of developing countries regarding software may
i4d | June 2005

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be broadly categorised into three major groups: • e-Government portals and service delivery systems; • Desktop office applications; • Community networking and online collaboration software. A distinction between user requirements is necessary. The most successful open source systems - Perl, Linux, Apache and PHP are used primarily by information technology specialists who value the ability to make changes in the code to suit specialised needs. Many e-Government applications fall in this category. The possibility of modifying code is valuable to public agencies developing their online service applications. It can enable an agency to share code and coordinate developments with other agencies, without having to reinvent the wheel or pay hefty proprietary fees. In contrast, the much larger market for desktop applications – spreadsheets, word processing, presentation, and publishing is made up of people interested in ease of use and the standard features of an application. Their desire or technical capability to alter code is mostly negligible. Also the costs of shifting from one technological platform to another are generally high for users of desktop applications. Networking and online collaboration software are in a separate class. This kind of software is important in developing countries because it is through the interaction of people and communities with shared interest that the truly empowering effect of computers and the Internet will be realised. Most community group members are not expert users. They use mailing lists and interact with others to achieve social and economic objectives, and rely on administrators or webmasters to manage the software. The costs of shifting technologies is not an overriding concern to members of the community, but the availability of a system that meets the needs of many countries and multiple language requirements and that can be continuously upgraded at low cost should be of concern to governments, donors and development agencies.

Table 1. PCs and e-Government indicators: Asia and selected countries
Population Per capita PCs per 2004 Web GDP 100 people Measure 000 000 (2003) (US$ 2002) (2003) Ranking South Asia Bangladesh Bhutan India Pakistan Maldives Nepal Sri Lanka Asia – Pacific Australia China Indonesia Korea (Rep.) Malaysia Singapore Thailand Other Brasil Canada Chile Estonia Ireland Germany USA UK Sweden 135.1 0.7 1,056.9 149.6 0.3 23.7 19.2 19.9 1,256.9 215.1 48.4 25.2 4.2 62.5 176.0 31.7 14.7 1.3 4.0 82.5 292.3 58.1 9.0 352 734 494 428 2,258 237 863 20.230 963 860 10,014 3,870 20,894 2,044 2,603 23,417 4,413 4,732 31,041 24,122 36,223 26,369 26,864 0.8 1.4 0.7 0.4 7.1 0.4 1.7 60.2 2.8 1.2 55.8 16.7 62.2 3.4 7.5 48.7 11.9 44.0 42.1 48.5 66.0 40.6 62.1 147 165 30 49 89 66 81 8 54 70 4 46 3 39 24 7 6 17 21 10 1 2 13

e-Government systems
Public intervention in support of e-Government under an open source platform may be justified on social welfare grounds. The open source movement has often promoted ‘viral’ licenses that discourage innovation by preventing subsequent developers from making a profit. Software developed under the GPL license, for example, requires that any future developments built from the original software must be distributed freely with full access to the code. Governments, however, need not follow a restrictive license regime. Some licenses enable government agencies to make the software developments they sponsor freely available, but also allow private entrepreneurs to use the code and sell improvements under a proprietary license. Use of open source need not be an all or none proposition. When a wholesale shift in software technology is not practicable, significant economies may still be achieved by sharing selected open source applications. In the US, the States of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Utah, Kansas, Missouri, West Virginia, and the cities of Glaucester, Massachusetts, and Newport News, Virginia, have formed a Government Open Code Collaborative Repository to enable open source software code sharing by government agencies. The municipalities of Extremadura and Barcelona, in Spain, and Porto Alegre in Brasil, have established a similar
June 2005 | www.i4d.csdms.in

http://www.itu.int/ITU-D/ict/

network to exchange experiences and software developments. A similar initiative has been proposed for the European Commission (EU). e-Government efforts have often resulted in ‘data dungeons’ that do not interact with each other. These disparate systems reside in different agencies and become outdated rapidly. They tend to rely on proprietary software that does not conform to open standards; interconnection may be achieved but often at a high cost. To solve this problem, Great Britain has adopted a flexible open source policy, developed through a public consultation process. The proposed architecture mandates the use of on open standards, e.g. XML, by all government agencies. Proprietary software is not excluded, provided that it meets the open standards. Similarly, Brasil’s interoperability architecture (e-ping), envisages the occasional need to use proprietary software, but will rely mainly on open source solutions and open standards.

Desktop applications
Technological lock-in in desktop applications started in high income countries when the software industry was still in its infancy. Desktop systems have since become quite sophisticated in functionality and interoperability. Businesses are resisting

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The leading open source office suite OpenOffice (www.openoffice.org) is available in more than 70 languages.
expensive changeovers to new versions that exhibit only minor changes in functionality. This is especially true of the standard office desktop applications – spreadsheet, word processing, presentation and desktop publishing for which robust free downloads or inexpensive alternatives are available. The leading open source office suite OpenOffice (www. openoffice.org) may be downloaded for free. It is rich in features and its files are readable by other leading vendor office suites. The new version’s (Beta 2.0) interface is practically the same as that of the leading vendor. OpenOffice is available in more than 70 languages, a feature made easier by free access to the source code. Because OpenOffice is available in common operating system platforms, i.e. Windows, Macintosh, Solaris, Linux, and FreeBSD, the decision to migrate to OpenOffice may be considered apart from the decision to change the operating systems. This is important for governments considering migrations to open source. The applications on offer are still larger for Windows than for Linux and problems of compatibility are more serious across operating systems. For novice developing country users who only need to type letters, write emails, work on spreadsheets, the basic functionality of low cost open source solutions that can operate in different operating systems is usually adequate. Since 2001, the city of Sao Paulo, Brazil has run a telecentre programme under an open source environment including operating system (Linux) and desktop applications. The city sponsors 110 telecentres, all located in the most impoverished parts of the municipality, showing that inexperienced users can perform well in an open source environment. After an initial trial with dual operating systems, the city decided to exclusively install the open source Linux operating system on all of its telecentre computers. This was a crucial strategic choice which aimed purposefully to

avoid technological lock-in to the dominant technology by new users. Sao Paulo’s programme served as a model for Brazil’s nationwide 3,200 telecentre programme, presently under implementation. Pirate software has been and continues to be commonplace in developing countries (Table 2). The basic desktop applications make a very large portion of pirated software. Policing small shopkeepers, cybercafe operators and low-income users using pirated software is impracticable and politically untenable. Governments are inevitably forced to adopt lenient enforcement policies that lead to public contempt and lax attitudes towards intellectual property rights that run counter to international commercial obligations and end up hurting budding local proprietary software industries. If governments were to encourage their citizens through widespread governmental use in its own offices and projects to use a low cost desktop office application software alternative, the common excuse of high cost of software could no longer be regarded as compelling. The real costs of policing intellectual property rights violations would be lower and could therefore be enforced more strictly and effectively by focusing on fewer violators.

Community networking
Software to establish mailing lists, web pages and enable resource sharing is a most valuable tool for empowering rural communities and encouraging collaboration online. There are powerful proprietary software options (e.g. First Class, Lyris), some highly specialised (e.g. Blackboard for education content management). There are also open source list servers (PHPList), web page creation programmes (Postnuke) and online collaboration tools (e.g. http://wikipedia.sourceforge.net/, http://www. kolabora.com/, Basic Support for Cooperative Work http:// bscw.fit.fraunhofer.de/, etc.). Existing online services like Yahoo Groups (http://groups.yahoo.com/) and Dgroups (www.dgroups.org) have limited functionality but are presently available for free. What appears to be missing is an integrated low-cost system available or easily translated into local languages that is suited to facilitate information exchange and user friendly web page creation by small community groups in developing countries. Such a system would have the following features: • The software developed should use open source software, under a non-restrictive license regime. • The software should enable the use of special fonts (e.g. Sinhala, Tamil) as well as the corresponding standard fonts to allow a variety of optional languages of communication between users. • The software should make it possible for community groups, schools, small businesses to have their own distinct unique portal shell with its own logo and banner. • The software developed should be easy to use and run directly and independently by individual user groups, requiring no intervention of any external institution. • The software developed should have a separate section for simultaneous chatting by registered group members, through a Web page interface within the system.

Conclusion
A rapid expansion in e-Government applications is imminent in
i4d | June 2005

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many developing countries. The present setting offers unique opportunities to expand systems rapidly and to avoid duplications and locking the country’s e-Government services into proprietary technologies that could prove costly. It is an opportunity to be purposefully seized and planned for. Most present users of computers in developing countries are English speakers and use proprietary software, but they represent a very small proportion of developing country populations (Table 1). For the few well off individuals who use computers, the costs of shifting to another software technology are high. Yet their views carry weight because most decision-makers and government officials fall in this category. A dependency on proprietary software in desktop systems should not be forced upon the vast majority of people who do not speak English, have no vested interest or training in the dominant technologies, have limited income, and will be the ones to pay the most if an expensive proprietary software platform is adopted either by design or by default by their country’s leaders. Ultimately, the decision regarding what type of software a government agency implements should be dictated by a sober analysis of economic and social considerations. Such a choice should be technology neutral, as advocated by the leading vendor and the Business Software Alliance, but should not be blind to future costs and benefits and should seek to avoid costly technological lock-in on proprietary software technology.

Table 2. Piracy Rate in Asia-Pacific Countries and World Wide Piracy Rate in Asia-Pacific Countries 2004
Country Vietnam China Indonesia Pakistan Thailand India Philippines Malaysia Piracy Rate % 92 90 87 82 79 74 71 61 Country Hong Kong Korea Singapore Taiwan Australia Japan New Zealand Other Piracy Rate by Region Region 2004 Asia-Pacific European Union Rest of Europe Latin America Middle East/Africa US/Canada All Regions 53 35 61 66 58 22 Piracy Rate % 2003 53 37 61 63 56 23 Piracy Rate % 52 46 42 43 32 28 23 76

Recommendations
• Software developed under developing country government sponsorship should consider open source solutions, particularly if these developments are potentially useful to other members of society or to government dependencies. These developments should be subsequently made available for use by third parties (e.g. through an online software code sharing repository), under a license that enables further development and reasonable commercial exploitation. • The formation of national Task Forces on open source and interoperability in e-Government applications bringing together senior IT officers from ministries and agencies planning e-Government systems is recommended. The first order of business should be the drafting of guidelines for the development, use, and sharing of low cost interoperable applications across public agencies. • Most people do not need sophisticated office suites, and the freely available and low-cost desktop alternatives are sturdy enough for widespread country-wide adoption at significant savings and without having to change operating system. Government sponsored tele-centre, school computerisation programmes should consider widespread migration to low-cost open source software. • The decision to migrate government ICT development programmes to open source operating systems is more complex. In a developing country, the proposed migration should involve a large number of PCs. Also, because of network effects, if only a few computers are involved in the change over, the end effect will be to punish the new users who sooner or later have to migrate to proprietary standard operating system.
June 2005 | www.i4d.csdms.in

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Piracy rate: Number of pirated software units divided by total number of units put into use. Source: BSA-IDC [2005]

• Apparently, generous offers to supply software to a few government sponsored tele-centres or school initiatives usually ignore the large mass of small cybercafe owners and low-income computer users. These offers should in general be resisted by government decision-makers. They are part of a concerted effort from the dominant vendor to retain market dominance. The risks are high that the temporary free provision of the dominant desktop applications to new computer users will end up locking the country into a high cost proprietary software spiral from which it will be increasingly difficult to extricate itself. • Developing country governments would do well in supporting international cooperating bodies made up of academic and civil society developing country representatives that set standards for open source operating systems, as a means of ensuring their special language and font requirements are met and to encourage development country software development capabilities. • Government and donors would do well to contribute and support the design and implementation of an open source community portal and networking software. The light of hope is that the governments of countries around the globe have started to migrate to open source. This movement is showing signs of catching up in developing countries of Latin America and Asia.
The complete article with references can be read at www.i4d.csdms.in

11

ICT A PPLICATION

FOR

B USINESS DEVELOPMENT

IN

R URAL VIETNAM

Creating conducive policy environment
The project ‘Policy and Measures to Promote ICT Application and Deployment for Business Development in Rural Areas in Vietnam’ aims at investigating policy environment, major measures and their influences on the acceptance and application of ICT in business in rural areas.
In Vietnam, nearly 75 % of the people live in rural areas. Developing agriculture and rural economy are the most important orientations of the Government of Vietnam. ICT has been creating not only opportunities but challenges to business in rural areas to narrow the gap between different regions, realise gender equality and the advancement of women to promote sustainable growth and poverty reduction. To promote step by step development of the rural areas, the Vietnamese Government has improved the legal framework, mechanisms and policies with a view to create favourable conditions and offering high preferences for ICT application and development in rural areas. The project ‘Policy and Measures to Promote ICT Application and Deployment for Business Development in Rural Areas in Vietnam’ aims at investigating factors of mechanisms, policy environment and major measures and their influences on the acceptance and application of ICT in business in rural areas. To a certain degree, the project will investigate problems and difficulties faced by grassroot business, small organisations, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and households in rural or backward areas in dealing with the shift to new mode of economic activity and life. The duration of the project is 20 months (from July 2004 to December 2005). The main responsible institution for the project implementation is the Ministry of Science and Technology of Government of Vietnam. The project team so far consists of the persons from departments of Ministry of Science and Technology, some government organisations, non-government organisations, Department for Science and Technology of some provinces, ICT training centres, universities and enterprises. As outcomes, a number of conclusions and recommendations for policy-making process will be drawn for governments, authorities and business managers to promote ICT application and development in business in rural areas. As such, the project will have a bottom-up approach in trying to send a signal from below to the policymakers and get the response from the government to the need of the people and business communities.

Objectives of the project
General objective The general objective of the project is to contribute to the process of creating the conducive policy environment for acceptance, development and application of ICT in rural areas of Vietnam, especially for business development. Specific objectives • To conduct a general assessment of policy environment, including gaps between existing policy environment and the required need in ICT application and development in business in rural areas; • To assess the readiness of the business and point out the real problems and difficulties faced by grassroot business organisations in ICT application and development for business development in rural areas; • To suggest recommendations to the central government, ministries, local authorities and also to the business managers on policies and measures to promote ICT application and development in business in rural areas.

Research issues
The project has the following elements as research issues: • The role of IT in business activities in rural areas;
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Vu Thi Thanh Huong Ministry of Science and Technology, Vietnam Vtthuong@most.gov.vn

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• Existing status of legal infrastructure related to ICT application and development in rural areas; • The role and relationship of various government departments with regard to ICT application and development in rural areas; • Readiness of business in rural areas for IT application and deployment - willingness, capacity, problems and difficulties; • Required policy environment and measures for ICT application and development in rural areas; • Gaps between the current policy and the required one; • Lessons and recommendations to policy makers in central and local governmental organisations, authorities, and also to the business managers on policy and measures to promote ICT application and development in business in rural areas.

Research methodology
The project has the following activities and the methodology for conducting research in a duration of 18 months, commencing from July 2004 to December 2005: • Inception workshop about ICT application and development in Vietnam (some issues at stake), especially for business development in rural areas. • Assessment of the current state polices and strategies on ICT application and development in Vietnam, especially for business development in rural areas in Vietnam. This includes the following: Study policies and legal documents on ICT in Vietnam and related policy documents, strategies, measures for ICT application and development in rural areas; Carry out an inventory of all goals (explicit and implicit), expectations, plans, strategies related to ICT application and development in rural areas; Interview officials from about 10 related governmental agencies and ministries and 15 local authorities to identify and understand different visions, tendencies and biases in ICT application and development in rural areas; Organise a seminar to discuss the status of policy environment in relation to ICT application and development in rural areas; Produce a report on the status of policy environment. • Collecting foreign experiences in ICT application and development in rural areas. This includes collecting and studying policy documents, strategies, measures for ICT application and development in rural areas of some countries such as Thailand, China, Canada, Singapore, etc., producing the report on lessons and experiences that Vietnam can learn and organising a seminar to introduce the study results. • Conducting a national survey of business enterprises in the rural areas to assess their role and impacts of ICT on their business development. The survey will also assess their needs, readiness, difficulties and impacts of the policy environment for ICT application development in business. The purpose of sampling survey is to identify research population (business enterprises who have access to the Internet in some rural provinces representing the Northern, Central and Southern parts of Vietnam). This population will comprise enterprises operating in different sectors with differing background, especially SMEs and
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households in traditional trade villages. The tasks associated with it are- developing survey tool and questionnaire, conducting the survey and processing the survey data, analysis and writing survey report. The other methodologies include: • Conducting 15 indepth case studies of selected enterprises, • Producing the National Survey Report based on the sampling Credit: www.terragalleria.com and in-depth surveys, • Organising a workshop to present the survey results, • Analysing and writing project report, • Final conference for dissemination of the project outcomes, • Upgrading, revising and finalising the final project report based on the ideas and comments from participants at the final workshop for submitting to the authorities and policy makers and preparing for potential publication.

Users and beneficiaries
The project would contribute to the formulation process of all strategy, policy and master plans to promote ICT application and development in rural areas of Vietnam. Immediately, the project results will contribute to the formulation process of Vietnam National Master Plan in ICT for the period of 2006-2010. The first immediate users of the study would be the related governmental bodies, such as Ministry of Science and Technology, Ministry of Post and Telecommunication, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Trade, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, local authorities and National Programme on Science and Technology Application and Deployment for socio-economic development in rural areas. The recommendations and findings of the project would be very useful for them in considering what options may be available, feasible and realistic. One important benefit of the project is the capacity building for policy analysis and decision making of the relevant organisations. This will be the direct outcome of the project to help solving policy-related problems faced by organisations. Vietnamese companies and households in rural areas would get benefited from the study. Based on the findings, they could design, adapt and adopt appropriate business strategies and plan of actions in the most suitable way toward ICT application and deployment for business development. Local communities, grassroots will also benefit from the outcome of the project, as the IT application and development will improve their living standards.

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Credit: Yves Beaulieu, IDRC, 2003

In addition, foreign donor’s community, researchers and overall public could use the study for different purposes like funding plans, input for further research, awareness raising campaign or education and training. Last, but not least, the project team itself and their associated organisations would also benefit from the project. After the completion of the project, research capacity of the members of the team will be enhanced and they could exchange their professional experiences to each other.

areas, specially in business development. Some recommendations and lessons from consultant groups of other projects will serve as a basis and analytical framework for project studies and activities. • Assessment of the current state policies and strategies on ICT application and development in Vietnam, especially for business development in rural areas in Vietnam has been made. A package of legal document has been selected and reviewed. Some officials from provinces and ministries have been interviewed about visions, tendencies and biases in ICT application and development in rural areas. • The policy documents, strategies, measures for ICT application and development in rural areas of some countries such as USA, Japan, Thailand, India, Indonesia, China, Australia, Canada, Singapore, UK, France, etc. have been collected and studied. The assessment and research focused on the following issues: - Social and economic impacts of ICT in rural development, specially the business development; - Challenge in ICT development in rural areas, specially for business development; - Common barriers to ICT application and development in rural areas, specially in business development; - Common policy framework; - Common strategies; - Successful initiatives. • A survey has been conducted to enhance understanding of the levels of ownership and usage of ICT by Vietnamese business across all their business processes and also to highlight areas of relative strength and weakness of ICT application across SMEs.

Research activities and research findings
• Inception workshop about ICT application and development in Vietnam was organised in December 2, 2004 especially for business development in rural areas. More than 70 participants in this workshop were the ICT experts, researchers, policy makers, officers from some ministries, government organisations, nongovernment organisations, ICT providers with software, hardware and services, ICT training centres and universities and SMEs and households from traditional trade villages in the Red River Delta and in the Northern Vietnam. The participants discussed and exchanged views on ICT development in rural

Survey findings
The survey findings are as follows: • Only 30% of the registered enterprises are located in rural areas (58/61 provinces). Most businesses in rural areas are micro businesses (0-9 employees), small businesses (10-49 employees) and only few medium businesses (50-249 employees). • The ICT application and deployment in business in rural areas are still backward. Only few business return the survey questionnaire sent by mail to them, which means that they don’t care much and are not interested in the issues of ICT application in business.

Participatory policy making in Nepal
In 1999, the Nepal’s Planning Commission supported by the Canada based International Development Research Centre (IDRC), started an innovative process of ICT policy making. The process began with the constitution of the National Information Technology Development Working Committee and IT Policy Sub-committee under it. Leading IT professionals, the industry and leaders in the field of education and telecommunications were invited to share their own vision for a ‘connected and vibrant’ Nepal. Three areas of critical importance were identified - universal access to information technology, education and training and IT applications in business and government. The next step in the process was the formation of consultative groups on universal access to IT, on ICT infrastructure development, on human resources development, on software and services, on electronic commerce and on electronic governance. Each group chose experts as the leader and chose their own paper writer. These papers were carefully studied to see how government could make these strategies a success. This led the drafting of the IT Policy, which was publicly debated by the academia, government, media, researchers, civil society and the industry. Within a year of the steering of this process, the Government of Nepal adopted the recommendations and approved its Information Technology Policy in October 2000.

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• The survey group has spent time to do the interview in person with businesses in 3 traditional trade villages in the north of Vietnam and here are some results: - 100% of the businesses in the selected villages have telephone lines; - The villages closer to capital city Hanoi have better ICT applications both in households and busineeses; - Most of the computers used are made in Vietnam; - The software mostly used are Microsoft’s MS Word and Excel and some Vietnamese software on accounting; - Dial-up modems are the main means of connection for SMEs in rural areas; - Businesses are more likely to use ICT to obtain the information than to provide information; - Businesses expressed the main areas of concern to be set-up and running cost of ICTs and lack of ICT skill of their staff; - Among those businesses that don’t use computers, the main reason is that they don’t see it as beneficial for their business and believe that they do not have the technology in place to do so and so they prefer to deal face to face; • The main reason for not using e-mails is that they don’t see a need or feel it as appropriate for their business and prefer face to face or telephone contact; • The website is not used enough because of the lack of use of Internet by their customers, the cost involved, lack of skills of the staff and also they think that it is not of benefit for their type of businesses; • They avoid online payment as they are concerned about security and fraud; • Begger businessmen are making more sophisticated use of ICTs than their smaller counterparts; • Technical infrastructure is poor and technical level differs among businesses in the different regions in the countries; • There is not much information sharing and information content in networks and websites are still weak; • There is lack of legal environment to encourage non-state sector, specially private SMEs in ICT use and development; • There is inequality in accessing to IT knowledge between rural, remote areas and urban areas, between men and women and also between people in different regions and business groups.

The ICT application and deployment in grassroot business in rural areas is still backward.
Key lessons learned
• ICT has vital role in connecting the rural community to outside world, specially in business development; • The government should issue strategies, policy and measures to: - Reduce inequality in opportunities to access to ICT, - Formulate and implement programmes to support ICT use and ICT development in rural and remote areas, - Raise awareness on IT use and development in rural areas, specially in business, - Create favourable legal environment for IT use and development in rural areas, especially in business development, - Mobilise funding resources for all these targets. • ICT activity comprises of two proponents - ICT infrastructure and application software: - The government should take partial responsibility to the cost of ICT establishment in rural areas. Alternatively, the government may encourage key players in ICT and finance industry to co-invest in ICT development, - The construction of ICT infrastructure should be based upon local needs and actual circumstance and also on workable technology at affordable price, - Software localisation should be encouraged, - Relevant information should be available in local language.

Conclusion
It is evident that people who work in businesses that include ICT are facing problems in their business planning. Successful ICT projects must come from the business’s overall strategic planning process and should have clear measures of costs and benefits. Successful implementation of ICT projects relies on the top leaders of the business and organisation.

GIS Institute
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15

P OLICY S TUDY FOR R URAL K ARNATAKA ’ S ICT P ROJECTS

Integrating bits for a bigger bite
Despite Karnataka leading India’s IT drive, the many ICT initiatives implemented in the rural parts of the state have not brought about any radical change in service delivery to this section of society.
Rural Information and Communication Technology (ICT) projects could prove to be an effective mean of driving social, economic and political change in the rural areas. Despite Karnataka leading India’s IT drive, the many ICT initiatives implemented in the rural parts of the state have not brought about any radical change in service delivery to this section of society. Currently, rural Karnataka’s ICT scenario is dotted with a large number of independent pilot projects, with most models based on subsidy schemes. Plans for any rural ICT initiative should primarily look at the economic viability of the initiative. Given the low population density in comparison to urban areas and the restricted paying capacity of a large percentage of the rural community, this is a challenge. This challenge could be overcome if multiple service providers and enablers collectively adapt their service delivery mechanisms to create a profitable model, giving the rural community a combination of ICT based services. This combination of services should have a regional orientation and should benefit them to an extent that they are willing to pay the stated price. There are currently no systems and policies to facilitate and bring about this much needed integration of ICT initiatives across the state. especially for the rural market, corporate organisations providing ICT services for the rural community, nationalised banks providing micro-credit services and NGOs working on rural ICT initiatives. It also included infrastructure providers and financiers (power and telecom). Detailed discussions were held with senior personnel in these organisations on the nature of the initiative, its objective, geographical coverage, its current status and beneficiary profile, expansion plans, efforts involved in implementing these initiatives, problems faced and sustainability and replicability of the initiative. The project team also met private entrepreneurs working towards providing a basket of services to the rural community by taking up a franchise of a government initiative. Two villages where the people have some access to ICT initiatives were surveyed and selected so that the people would have a better understanding of ICT applications and would therefore be able to state their needs clearly. Based on all these discussions and survey findings, recommendations on policy and systems for maximising the benefits of service delivery through ICTs were drafted. These were discussed with the various stakeholders during a workshop and their suggestions were analysed and incorporated into the final recommendations.

Rashmi Gopal rashmig@teri.res.in Vangala Krishna vkrishna@teri.res.in Ashwin Sabapathy ashwins@teri.res.in P.Chakravarty purandar@teri.res.in The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), Bangalore

Approach
ICT initiatives across rural Karnataka were compiled using various resources. Thirty six organisations were short listed including fourteen government departments. These included application providers from the sectors pertaining to agriculture produce marketing, public administration and education. Among the short listed organisations, there were also companies involved in research and manufacture of ICT equipment

Major ICT initiatives across rural Karnataka
While there are many ICT initiatives in the state, some of the major ones are detailed below. • BHOOMI: The Bhoomi project, implemented by the Department of Public Administration and Revenue (DPAR), makes available a computerised Record
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of Rights, Tenancy and Crops (RTC) to all landowners at a kiosk in the taluka (sub-district administrative units) office, on payment of $0.25 (approx.) per RTC. In recent times, the DPAR is promoting private franchise models in which the franchisees have to bear the cost of the infrastructure and Internet connection. They can charge $0.3 to $0.5 (approx.) per RTC against the $0.25 charged at the taluka office. This is one initiative that has the capability of breaking even on Operation and Management (O&M) costs, primarily because of the essential nature of the service and the volumes (each landowner requires atleast one set of certificates per year and has to take as many certificates as the number of survey numbers in which he has landholdings). • The Education department has three parallel ICT programmes for rural schools. a. The ‘Mahiti Sindhu’ programme addresses computer education for high school (Std VIII, IX, X) students and teachers in 1000 schools of Karnataka. Each of the 1000 schools have been provided anywhere between six to fifteen computers with power backup, a printer and basic software. Internet connectivity is available and a person has been appointed in each school to impart computer education. b. In association with the Azim Premji Foundation (APF), the Education Department is creating Computer Assisted Learning Centres (CALCs) in government primary schools across the state. APF makes a range of multi-lingual CDs to assist primary school children in grasping their curricular subjects (computer aided education). Each CALC has 4-5 computers, a printer and UPS. c. Intel has tied up with the Education Department to impart training to teachers to innovatively use computer technology to enhance student learning in the 1000 schools under the ‘Mahiti Sindhu’ programme. Apart from these, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has recently launched a satellite dedicated to education services. 800 government primary schools in Chamarajanagar district have been selected for the pilot implementation of an interactive distance education project. Each school has got one computer and satellite connectivity. • The Department of Agricultural Marketing regulates market practices for agricultural commodities. Quantities and prices of agricultural produce traded in the different markets are available on a website that is updated daily. 112 of the 145 Agriculture Produce Market Communities (APMCs) have a computer which can be accessed by farmers to see the daily prices of the agricultural commodities. • The Asia Heart Foundation has set up telemedicine links between a premier cardiac hospital and 23 hospitals across the country, ten of which are in Karnataka. Each telemedicine consulting centre has 2 computers and power back up. The hospitals are connected through ISDN fibre-optic lines or VSAT links. Sustainability is a key issue especially when looking at replicating this initiative across district hospitals and primary health centres in the state. As in education, the government is considered responsible for providing these services, free of cost.
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• The Safal Fruit and Vegetable Auction Market (SFVAM) of National Dairy Development Board has set up 100 farmers’ associations or collection centres, for auctioning of fruits and vegetables. The associations are being given a computer and required communication infrastructure in a phased manner.

Findings
ICTs have made considerable inroads into Karnataka’s villages. Despite this, the study found that awareness about the potential for using ICTs and the stated need is limited. Children’s education and procurement of government forms are considered the two most useful applications and people are ready to pay for these services. They are also open to paying a nominal fee for access to better health services and for awareness on health issues. The villagers showed interest in utilising the ICT infrastructure for entertainment purposes. It is necessary to have public participation, so that the system is sustainable irrespective of the budget allocations and therefore replicable. Private entrepreneurs are also only aware of some of the common applications. They need capacity building and networking assistance to be able to offer a larger number of required services. NGOs can play a vital role in driving change in their geographical area of work. Discussions showed that ICT equipment installed by a service provider is used only for one specific application and since volume of transactions are low there is sub-optimal utilisation of installed infrastructure. In the surveyed villages, it was found that within a 10 km. radius, there are 30 computers with 7 printers and adequate power backup, 3 trained computer teachers and a number of young people trained in basic computer packages. These computers are used for imparting education to approximately 500 students and generating an average of 500 RTCs a month. It can comfortably be done with less than half the currently available resources. Discussions with private entrepreneurs who have taken up a franchise for the ‘Bhoomi’ kiosk stated that their average monthly expenses on Internet connectivity, electricity, space rental and helper’s salary are $70 (approx.). Apart from this, the entrepreneur has taken a loan to invest in the hardware and software amounting to $1300 (approx.). Monthly outgoing is approximately $85, excluding profits for the entrepreneur himself. The major revenue generator currently is the issuing of RTCs, giving annual revenues

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of around $135 to $210. This revenue is not enough to sustain private enterprise. The DPAR charges $0.25 for each RTC. Private entrepreneurs are allowed to charge upto $0.25 extra per RTCs. Most villagers have lands in multiple survey numbers, so they require multiple RTCs. If a village is close to the taluka office, the villagers prefer to get their RTC from the taluka office. Discussions with the villagers and private entrepreneurs showed that it is far easier getting an RTC from the taluka office than from the private entrepreneur, with the latter requiring signatures from village accountants who are not always present in the village. This drastically reduces business opportunities for the private entrepreneurs. Moreover, it was found that there are multiple franchisees for the ‘Bhoomi’ project in close proximity to one another. It is better to handhold a few franchisees in specific locations until there is enough usage of ICT based service to allow competition to flourish. Not only is there no inter-sectoral integration, a lack of intra-sectoral integration was also evident in the schemes run by the Department of Education, which has installed substantial infrastructure under three parallel schemes. Fear of misuse by other users prevents those responsible from allowing it to be used for any purpose other than that stated and therefore computers installed for providing education to high school children are not being used by primary school children and vice-versa. The non availability of electricity through most of the day in the villages is a major bottleneck. Every service provider has provided power back-up infrastructure for operating the systems for a maximum of four hours, which is not adequate. One must understand that while computer technology and the Internet provide large opportunities, many are not yet comfortable with it. This is primarily due to low literacy levels and that many applications are text-based and the text is not in the local language. The prices of agricultural commodities are rarely accessed by farmers on a website, but the same information, if sent as a message to a village resource centre where it is printed and displayed, will be read by far more people. Such information could also be sent through the mobile phones to customers on request. Television and radio are established communication technologies and in the recent past the usage of mobile phones in rural areas has gone up considerably.

It is advisable to have a central village resource centre, preferably one for every two villages. The computer infrastructure may be placed in this resource centre. One SHG from each village can be trained in operating and maintaining the infrastructure and applications. The centre and its infrastructure can be the responsibility of the gram panchayats (village level administrative units). If the centre were to provide RTCs and other government forms, education to children and youth, computerise SHG accounts, arrange for interactive health camps and awareness programmes, provide market and other agri-related information, as well as provide entertainment and facilities such as digital photography, all on a payment basis, a financially viable model can be arrived at. Services specific to local needs can also be provided and only 4-5 computers would be adequate to provide all the above. To handhold the private entrepreneurs until sufficient volumes are achieved, a model where services are delivered only through private franchisees and not from individual government offices can be looked at. Capacity of change drivers be built It is suggested that the government puts in place a programme for capacity building of private franchisees and NGOs, not just on the software applications but on the potential benefits and use of ICT systems as well as maintenance of ICT hardware. Critical infrastructure issues and sector specific backward linkages for promoting the use of ICT be addressed The government should intensify its literacy programme and ensure that application user interfaces are either in the local language or multi-lingual. Business models that further encourage the adoption of renewable energy devices may be beneficial for the spread of ICT driven services. The government could also promote research which looks at reduction in power consumption. Corporate participation be promoted The government could initiate a policy that encourages corporate organisations wanting to introduce ICT driven services to the rural population either as a business objective or as a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative.

Institutional mechanisms
To look into the above recommendations and oversee the implementation, it is recommended to set up an apex body that can look at implementation of rural ICT initiatives holistically. This apex body will need to ensure that issues pertaining to integration in technology and implementation are also given due thought. The apex body can be spearheaded by the Department of Information Technology and Bio-Technology (IT&BT), The other members of the apex body can be drawn from (a) the Department of Public Administration and Revenue which currently forms the backbone for a private enterprise delivering services through ICTs and (b) Rural Development and Panchayat Raj (RDPR) department. There is also need for local level institutions driven by the gram panchayat members that can fine-tune the guidelines put forth by the apex body to specific local requirements and facilitate implementation by bringing in synergies between the service providers, users and other facilitators.
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Policy recommendations
In view of the above, it is recommended that – Private enterprise which can deliver a basket of services tailored to local needs be promoted Private enterprise can deliver a combination of ICT based services tailored to the needs of the community more efficiently than any individual service provider with a fixed mandate. It is therefore recommended that the government bring in policy to promote entrepreneurship for delivery of ICT based services. It is also recommended that Self Help Groups (SHGs) be promoted to take on entrepreneurship instead of individuals since they are an entity recognised by the government and by the villagers. Among other advantages of going the SHG way, delivery of multiple services would also require multiple people for certain time periods, which can be handled by the SHGs.

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C OMMUNITY R ADIO P OLICY

IN I NDIA

Mixed signals of expectations
Amidst media reports that India’s new community radio policy is on the verge of being sent for Cabinet approval, there are slight fears among community radio groups that the policy may not quite live up to their expectations.
Amidst media reports that India’s new community radio policy is on the verge of being sent for Cabinet approval, the final stage of policy making, there are slight fears among community radio groups that the policy may not quite live up to their expectations. There has been intense speculation about the policy ever since the broadcast regulator, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) (www.trai.gov.in) submitted its recommendations on community radio to the Government of India in December 2004. But community radio has been a matter of heated debate long before TRAI, in an unprecedented move, issued a consultation paper and held open house discussions on the subject late last year. It was ten years ago, on December 9, 1995 that the Supreme Court handed down its historic judgement on the airwaves, stating, “Airwaves constitute public property and must be utilised for advancing public good.” A year later, a group of policy planners, media professionals and civil society organisations gathered in Bangalore to study how community radio could be relevant in India. A ‘Bangalore Declaration’ was signed, which has formed the basis of advocacy for community radio since then. Many meetings, workshops and conferences were to follow, including one in Hyderabad and Pastapur (Andhra Pradesh) in July 2000, which urged the government to create a three-tier structure of broadcasting in India - state-owned public radio, private commercial radio, and non-profit community radio. Community radio has three key aspects: non-profit making, community ownership and management, and community participation. As community groups have defined it, “Community radio is distinguished by its limited local reach, low-power transmission, and programming content that reflects the educational, developmental and cultural needs of the specific community it serves.” In December 2002, the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting released its ‘Community Radio Guidelines’ (www. mib.nic.in). To community radio groups, who had been expecting a break-through, these guidelines were a major disappointment. The guidelines restricted community radio licenses to ‘well-established’ educational institutions. News and current affairs programmes were banned, and advertisements, which would have brought in some much needed revenue were also prohibited. The licensing process proved so cumbersome that the first campus-based community radio (CR) station in India – Anna University’s ‘Anna FM’ came up only in February 2004, and fewer than 10 campus stations have started broadcasting so far. In a tacit acknowledgement of the limited success of its campus radio guidelines, the Information & Broadcasting Ministry organised a workshop in May 2004 in Delhi to design an ‘enabling framework for community radio in India’. The workshop brought together a large number of community radio enthusiasts, NGOs and policy makers, who worked out a set of recommendations for a new community radio policy, one that would allow community groups to run their own radio stations. The participants agonised over many issues while making their recommendations for community radio, walking a difficult tightrope between the desirable and the feasible. They were all too painfully aware that the government had its own set of concerns about community radio, not the least of which was a perceived threat to national security. What should be the eligibility criteria for licensees? Should the government adopt non-eligibility criteria and consider the claims

Sajan Venniyoor Doordarshan, New Delhi venniyoor@rediffmail.com

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“Community radio is distinguished by its limited local reach, low-power transmission, and programming content that reflects the educational, developmental and cultural needs
Credit: Yves Beaulieu, IDRC, 2003

of the specific community ...”
initiatives for years. Indeed, the entire radio scenario in India is rather depressing. Governed by archaic laws (Indian Telegraph Act, 1885), radio in India has never lived up to its potential, with barely 260 radio stations in a country of a billion people. Our Asian neighbours have hundreds of radio stations, like Thailand with over 700 stations, and Indonesia with over a 1000. Even tiny Philippines has 350 radio stations, with 90 percent of them in private hands. Not surprisingly, these countries also have thriving community radio movements. The Frequencies Act of 2000 in Thailand, for instance, assigns 20 percent of radio frequencies to community broadcasting. Some 190 community radio stations are recognised by the Thai government, Indonesia has several hundred CR stations, since many of them operate in a legally grey area. East Timor has at least 16 CR stations. Nepal, in spite of Radio Sagarmatha and its successors, does not have a separate CR policy. India, on the other hand, has just a few scattered CR initiatives, like ‘Kunjal Panchchi Kutchji’, a community radio programme produced by the Kutch Mahila Vikas Sangathan and broadcast from AIR Bhuj and Rajkot; ‘Chala ho Gaon Mein’, broadcast on AIR Daltongunj in Jharkhand; ‘Namma Dhwani’ in Budhikote, Karnataka, which uses a co-axial cable and loudspeakers to ‘narrowcast’ its programmes and the Pastapur initiative, where the Deccan Development Society uses cassette tapes to distribute their programmes. Other initiatives have come up in Jharkhand, Gujarat (Self-Employed Women’s Association’s ‘Rudi no Radio’) and Uttaranchal, but none of them are permitted to run their own community stations. In fact, the only true community radio experiment in independent India, the Oravakal Community Radio in Andhra Pradesh ran into rough weather soon after it went on air on October 2, 2002, and was closed down by the government within four months for operating without a license. India’s community radio policy has been slow to evolve, and the end is not yet in sight. But as a Ministry official said to me when I spoke enviously of the community radio stations in neighbouring Nepal, “Yes, but look at the their CR stations now. They have all been closed down quite ruthlessly. Our CR policy may take a while to develop, but when it does, you know it will be good and it will serve you well for a long time.”
i4d | June 2005

of all legal entities with the exception of political parties, religious groups and banned organisations? Would a 100-watt transmitter serve the needs of all geographically bound communities? What about the villages of, say Kutch, which would require very powerful transmitters to reach just a few scattered settlements? Could political news be permitted on community radio? (“What’s non-political?,” shot back a CR activist, “In our villages, even digging a well is political!”) And how much advertising could be legitimately permitted on a community radio station? “None at all”, thundered the purists. But others want unlimited amount. TRAI recommends 5 minutes per hour. The May 2004 workshop and the government’s draft CR policy based its recommendations by addressing these concerns meticulously and equitably. When TRAI held its consultation later that year, it came as no surprise when they arrived at much the same formulations for community radio. From press reports following the recommendations of the Delhi workshop and the TRAI consultations, it is clear that the government has drafted a community radio policy that addresses the three main concerns of community radio groups: • permitting communities through NGOs and other legal entities to set up their own radio stations; • allowing community radio to broadcast local news; • allowing the stations to sustain themselves through advertising revenue. The licensing procedure is also being simplified, although a single-window clearance for CR licenses may prove difficult to achieve. The other terms and conditions including technical specifications are not likely to be very different from the existing campus radio guidelines. While drafting these genuinely liberal provisions for community radio, neither the government nor the community radio groups were re-inventing the wheel. Many of the recommendations were drawn from the best provisions in the CR policies of countries like Australia, Ireland, Canada and South Africa, which have some of the most successful community radio movements in the world. Even in South Asia, India has been a laggard in permitting community radio. Nepal and Sri Lanka have thriving community radio

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M AP P OLICY

OF I NDIA

Policy for whom?
The cases of actual utilisation of geospatial information in planning and development process have been only handful. This paper attempts to delve into the Indian set-up and bring out an opinion of how possibly the present policy frameworks affected information flow and its tryst with development.
Relevance of information in ‘collective decision-making’
Development strategies always have a collective ‘well-being’ rather than an individual ‘well-being’ at its core. So any planning process or strategies taken by any organisation (State or Corporate) need to have a strong sense of rationality. While decentralisation is a ‘process’, which enhances rationality, ‘information’ is the important ‘tool’ that makes this happen. Spatial or geographic information is a very important component of ‘information’ as a whole when it comes to development planning. In developing countries, the domain of ‘development’ and of ‘technology’ - more specifically geospatial information and communications technologies - are conceptually complimentary but practically yet to be fused. In India, a vast amount of geographic data and accurate maps exist. However, very few people have access to it as it remains locked in the hands of the experts or specialised departments. The cases of actual utilisation of this information in planning and development process have been only handful. What is the reason behind such a scenario? While one key reason for this is the lack of awareness about the available tools, perhaps a larger reason lies in the policy framework of the land. This paper attempts to delve into the Indian set-up and bring out an opinion of how possibly the present policy frameworks affected information flow and its tryst with development. (SoI). Other than the detailed topographic data, there are the Satellite Survey Control Network, the High Precision, Precision and Secondary Levelling Network, the Laplace Stations Network, the Gravity Stations Network, the Tidal Stations Network and the Geomagnetic Stations Network. The organisations with a mandate There is large number of organisations that use geographic data on a regular basis for their work and also have the mandate to prepare relevant maps. Forest Survey of India, Central Water and Power Commission, Directorate of Mining and Geology, Geological Survey of India, Defence Organisations, Soil Survey Department, Mineral Corporations, Indian Bureau of Mines, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, Atomic Mineral Division, Indian Space Research Organisation, National Remote Sensing Agencies, are some of such mandated organisations. Other than these, the University Departments of Geology, Agriculture, Geography, Sociology, Archaeology, Research Organisations dealing with Earth Science and related subjects, Planning Departments, Statistical Institutes, Environmental Organisations, are key users of such data. But is that all? We perhaps are leaving aside a much larger proportion of the population, i.e., the common man. Common man referring to the ones engaged in private sector and civil societies who do not belong to the government departments holding the key to such data. The question is, how do they get access to the data and what about the data they produce. In essence, a huge amount of maps or related data for the country till date is restricted for the common man, or subject to multiple clearances. The history behind this can be traced back to the Colonial British Government in India who introduced the code of security by a rule that surveyors of SoI should treat their work as top secret. However, things are different now, except the restriction policy.

Spatial information and its tryst with Indian ‘Policy’
India has a rich history of mapping and generating geographic information. The Indian geodetic control network is perhaps one of the best in the world. The geodetic data, collected through centuries of dedicated efforts including the Great Trigonometrical (G.T.) Triangulation Network of India has resulted in a huge repository of data of the country, lying with a 230 old premier mapping agency – Survey of India

Ayon Kumar Tarafdar GIS Development, India ayon@GISdevelopment.net

June 2005 | www.i4d.csdms.in

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The restriction policy According to the prevalent policy of restriction of maps and toposheets, all topographical and geographical maps of areas (of about 80 km) between the delineated line, shown on the ‘Index to Toposheets’ published by the Survey of India, and the land border, and also of similar maps of Bhutan and Sikkim, and similar maps of the outlying islands viz, Andaman and Nicobar, and Lakshadweep Island comprising Laccadiv, Minocoy and Amindivi, on scales of 1:1 million and larger, are restricted and their sale, publication and distribution are governed by separate set of rules. This was laid down in the late 1967 and further amended in the early 1968 by the Ministry of Defence, Government of India. Hence, in actuality, some 227 out of 385 toposheets remain restricted. In area terms, only about 43 percent of India is un-restricted. For the rest of the maps, application has to be made on a special form obtainable from Survey of India and issue of such maps is subject to series of conditions mentioned in the form. In 1971, clearance of Ministry of Defence was made compulsory for issue of restricted maps to private individuals, organisations and commercial firms. Not only that, it was also a practice that persons receiving ‘restricted’ maps have to submit an annual certificate of safe custody of such maps. The implications Gradually, the impediment to progress started getting felt at different levels. Aerial photographs for the entire country are classified as secret/top secret. As other countries have developed ahead, we carried on with the same rules despite the fact that these photographs are an important tool for research workers in cartography, environmental studies, geological interpretation, planning and development. It is understandable that much of the geodetic data is of strategic importance. But the situation for every country in the developed world is similar. And it is technology that has the answer of how to differentiate between the same data in a manner that one series becomes security sensitive and another becomes open for all. With the advent of ICT and Internet boom, availability of many of these restricted maps over Internet from sources outside the nation has become a common thing. Finally, after 58 years of independence, the government has announced a revolutionary upcoming change to happen.

registration for intimation. There will be a Map Information Registry Database (MIRD). 1:1 million and smaller maps do not require registration. OSMs (Digital or Analogue) can be disseminated by Survey of India, through an agreement to any agency for specific end use. The user can make value addition to these maps and can share the information under initiations to the Survey of India. It was also mentioned that all aerial photographs after masking of Vulnerable Areas/Points would be freely available for processing and project generation. Private agencies will be permitted to carry out surveys in all parts of the country using Public Domain Datum. But they should be registered and should carry the accreditation of Survey of India. Magnetic/gravity and other scientific data will be collected and disseminated as per existing instructions.

Policy for whom?
The point here that emerges is - who is this policy aimed at. Is it the department of the government and again the same expert community who deals with maps or the common man? Of course one line of thoughts will argue that it is for the common man. It is the citizens who will be positively affected with unrestricted flow of information. If maps become unrestricted, development shall be triggered. However, another line of thought can be that, most of this is only about the available maps of SoI, which were restricted. Or in other words, this policy is about the policy maker, in this case the government arm of SoI. The policy can be said to assume that the only source of maps is SoI and some other government departments and hence is all about enhancing the accessibility from this single source. It remains silent about the rest of the players even if they have the capacity of producing maps or have produced maps over time like the private sector. What about the huge amount of maps and spatial data that the private sector has invested in and developed over the years indigenously? And what about the types and scales of data, which are still not available from SoI? What about allowing the private or semi-private domains? Does the policy derestrict generation of spatial data? Further, in current times, the use of satellite and space sciences is indispensable in spatial data creation and updating. The mention of space data and its restriction policy seems hazy or null. Hence, the question of an impending discrepancy of topographic data accessibility and space-based data accessibility emerges. Can there be not an interdepartmental collaborative policy? Finally, the policy announcement does anticipate a revolution of the industry, but does it spell out the way in the un-restricted data shall be finally used by common man? In the current times, with Internet and ICT applications exploding, and with mobile telephony picking up at a rate of over 150 percent growth per annum in Asia, the scope and potential for applications that demand spatial information is huge. It is just a matter of time before the market devises and internalises methods of alternative routes to get hold of data, both satellite based or topographic, in their workflows. Hence, it is time the market is let free and also capitalised upon. The policy is yet to be out in the public domain and hence we can hope for the best about all the above factors. Perhaps all the answers are there in it. Its a matter of time and faith.
i4d | June 2005

A new era
In a government Press Conference on 19th May 2005, it came out that the Union Cabinet of the Government of India has given its approval to the new National Map Policy brought out by the Ministry of Science and Technology. The New Policy envisages two series of maps- the Defence Series Maps (DSMs) and the Open Series Maps (OSMs). The DSMs will be for exclusive use of defence forces and authorised government departments. The Ministry of Defence will determine the policy regarding the use of DSMs whereas the Policy on OSMs will be the responsibility of Survey of India/Department of Science and Technology. OSMs will have a different datum, projection, content and sheet numbers. These maps will be derived from National Digital Topographical Database (NDTB), which will be created by the Survey of India. The use of OSMs will be through a process of

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Vol. III No. 6

June 2005

Information for development w w w. i 4 d . c s d m s . i n

e-Governance
Welsh Assembly introduces website on Work-Life Balance
Welsh Assembly Minister for Education and Lifelong Learning, Jane Davidson, recently, launched the http://www. wlbinwales. org.uk website, which aims to provide free information, advice and guidance on Work-Life Balance to employers, employees, unions and the general public. The launch of the website is said to be one of the key strands to the Welsh Assembly government’s policy for more effective work-life balance for employers and employees in Wales promoting the benefits of work-life balance and communicating those benefits across the public, private and voluntary sectors in Wales.
Source: http://www.publictechnology.net

Burkina Faso government’s initiative to develop means of communication in rural zones
Burkina Faso is classified among the poorest countries of the world but it is advancing in the world of technology. The government of Burkina Faso issued a law concerning the universal service and a fund was set up. The idea consists in feeding a fund, which will be used to develop the rural zones in suitable means of communication such as telephone, Internet and others.
Source: http://www.iconnect-online.org

Perak to become ‘knowledge state’ by 2020
The state government of the Perak in Malaysia has launched a strategy to transform Perak into a ‘knowledge state’ by 2020. The plan will be disseminated in two stages and will focus on three areas: knowledge infrastructure, knowledge economy and knowledge society. A total of 25 initiatives will be put in place to support the strategy, whose mission is to make ICT the bedrock of the Perak economy. One of the targets of the plan is to have a broadband network installed in all government agencies by 2006; other goals are to have 63 per cent Internet penetration throughout the state by 2010 such as Internet kiosks in all town centres and 40 per cent e-mail usage in rural areas.
Source: http://www.enn.ie

The Rwanda cabinet adopted the National Information and Communication Infrastructure (NICI) Policy and Plan in 2000. Moses Bayingana, Director, Private Sector, Education and Community Programmes has said that the policy is in line with the government’s vision 2020. The Rwanda Information Technology Authority (RITA) is established as a state agency to facilitate the implementation of the national and sector ICT programmes outlined in the NICI Policy and Plan. The current thrust areas of NICI are human capacity development, infrastructure, e-Government, ICT in education, community access and private sector facilitation.
Source: http://allafrica.com

Bihar approaches to e-Governance mode
The Indian state of Bihar would step into e-Governance mode when the state capital is directly connected through video- conferencing with nine divisional headquarters by the end of this month. State Chief Secretary K.A.H. Subramanian said that the facility, would be formally launched on May 25 and extended to district headquarters of 37 districts of the state from May 31. He also said that video-conferencing would help the top brass of the state administration keep in touch. The facility would also permit regular feedback from the district magistrates about day-to-day developments related to government schemes. The cost of setting up the facility at the state capital and divisional headquarters would be $15 million and for linking each district with the state headquarters would cost $1.5 million. National Informatics Centre Network (NICNET) will set up the infrastructure for the facility.
Source: http://news.webindia123.com

Dubai Municipality gets Best Middle East e-Government Portal award
Dubai Municipality (DM) has bagged the Best Middle East e-Government Portal award during the 10th Middle East Information and Communication Technology Excellence Awards presented at a ceremony held on the sidelines of the 11th GCC e-Government Forum at Dubai World Trade Centre on 25 May, 2005. The award recognises an Internet portal that furnishes combined e-Government services provided by different government organisations as a one-stop repository where businesses and citizens can gain access to all government services. The e-Government initiative of Dubai Municipality, started in 1999, has been a pioneer in providing e-Services. All its services are provided through one access point, which is the DM portal http://www.dm.gov.ae/
Source: http://www.ameinfo.com
June 2005 | www.i4d.csdms.in

Rwandan Information and Communication Infrastructure concentrates on ICT drive
The government of Rwanda has recognised the role information and communication technologies (ICTs) play in accelerating the socio-economic development.

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The i4d News

Brazilian village Brazilian village steps into digital age
Located in a narrow tropical valley, 180 miles southwest of South America’s largest city of Sao Paulo, the village lacks phone lines and other basic services. But a move by the government is driving Ivaporunduva into the digital age. As a part of a larger plan to fight against poverty, the government has installed a satellite-based Internet connection that will end years of isolation for the village. Residents could make doctor’s appointments online, find new markets to sell fruits and also download school lesson plans. It is been expected that the Internet connection could perk up the community’s monthly income by hundreds of dollars each month. It is also permitting them to access bigger markets, where they could sell organic bananas at the main wholesale market.
Source: http://thehindubusinessline.com

Medical Mission, said telemedicine would carry healthcare to the villages.
Source: http://www.hindu.com

Use of ICT to provide training on HIV, AIDS
The spread of HIV, AIDS and Tuberculosis (TB) is the main warning to development in Africa and in the rest of the world. Furthermore, the scale of the epidemic threatens to undo all other development advancement. Therefore, logical action would be taken to utilise ICT to deliver crucial and life-saving information about HIV, AIDS, TB, sexually transmitted infections, nutrition and malaria to people. The Managing Director of LearnScapes, a South-African company said that considering the technology boom and the HIV boom existing at the same time, they need to extend the uses of ICT, which will assist them in educating people about the diseases. To fight against the epidemic, LearnScapes developed a range of applicable courses for delivery by ICT. These courses include topics like HIV, AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases, tuberculosis, diarrhoea, nutrition, opportunistic infections, malaria, cholera and general hygiene.
Source: http://www.itweb.co.za

HRD Ministry’s new effort to bridge the digital divide in India
Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry is hoping that the third attempt to bridge the digital divide between private and government schools succeeds where the earlier two endeavours of Computer Literacy and Studies in Schools (CLASS) in the 1980’s and revised-CLASS of 1990’s failed. HRD Ministry is optimistic about the new approach named as Information and Communication Technology@Schools Scheme and hopeful that universalisation of computer literacy would percolate to students in small towns and the subordinate divisions of a district in India. The scheme has four main components-partnership with state governments and union territories for providing computer-aided education to secondary and higher secondary government schools; establishment of two self-monitoring analysis and reporting technology (SMART) schools in each state, universalisation of computer literacy through the network of Kendriya Vidyalayas and Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti to incorporate computer literacy to 10 neighbouring schools; and financial assistance to State Institutes of Educational Technologies under the project mode.
Source: http://www.timesofindia.com

incorporate business skills to impoverished Kenyan youths, won the $7,500 Africa Hafkin Communications Prize, organised by the Association for Progressive Communications. The Hafkin prize recognises African initiatives in the use of information and communications technology for development. GEP is based in the Taita Taveta district of eastern Kenya. This area is one of the poorest in the country, with a poverty rate of 66%. The project aims to improve the job prospects of Kenyans aged between 15 and 24. The students are taught commercial skills such as writing a business plan, marketing and buying and selling goods.
Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk

Health and Safety Executive introduces e-Bulletin to update farmers on health
In UK, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has launched an agriculture e-mail bulletin to update farmers about the latest health and safety issues. HSE’s agriculture e-Bulletin will be issued free to subscribers roughly every three months, providing brief information on topical issues with links to more detailed articles on the HSE website. It is mainly aimed at farmers, farm managers, landowners, trade associations and unions. The first e-Bulletin was issued in April, 2005. Some of the topics covered included new regulations on working at height; tree-climbing research should prevent accidents; dust masks or recent prosecutions in the agriculture sector.
Source http://publictechnology.net

Health
Madras Medical Mission launches telemedicine service
In India, the Madras Medical Mission (MMM) has launched its telemedicine service to connect 10 hospitals in the state recently. The hospitals include those in Anamalai, Tiruvallur, Dharapuram, Tindivanam, Kumbakonam, Sriperumbudur, Gopichettipalayam, Karaikudi and Pattukottai. Under the initiative, specialists would be linked through a network allowing them to receive and transmit medical records such as echocardiograms, CT scans and X-rays. Based on the information, specialists would be able to treat patients in remote areas. While inaugurating the space hub for the electronic intensive care unit, Verghese Eapen, Vice-President of Madras

Education
Global Education Partnership boosts up business skills in poor Kenyan youths
The non-profit Global Education Partnership (GEP) - Wundanyi, which aims to

Irish government launches health portal
The Irish government has officially launched the ‘Harley Street of cyberspace,’
i4d | June 2005

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The i4d News
an online communications network aimed at health professionals and the citizens. The website, http://www.healthhub.ie is developed by Odyssey Internet Portals in collaboration with the Irish College of General Practitioners. It is developed in an attempt to facilitate the interaction and communication of health professional organisations with their members and with each other, as well as providing the general public with a point of access to health professionals around the country.
Source: http://www.enn.ie

She further said that the government is looking at ICT as a potential tool to reduce cost of cultivation and increase economic returns to farmers. In order to impart the fruits of ICT to farmers the government is providing computer training to farmers in villages. The Directorate of Oilseeds Development and the National Informatics Centre (NIC) conducted the workshop.
Source: http://www.thehindubusinessline.com

Agriculture
ITC wins Golden Peacock global award for it’s e-Choupal initiative
Indian Tobacco Company (ITC) has won the Golden Peacock global award for corporate social responsibility (CSR) in emerging economies 2005 for its e-Choupal and social and farm forestry initiatives. Dr Ola Ullsten, former Prime Minister of Sweden, who also headed the jury, presented the award in London on May 12. According to ITC, the award recognised the impact of the two initiatives in transforming lives and landscapes in rural India. Presently, ITC ’s e-Choupal initiative provides over 3.5 million farmers’ access to crop-specific, customised and comprehensive information at their village and vernacular. Over the next decade, the e-Choupal network aims to cover over 100, 000Indian villages, representing a sixth of Indian villages and connecting more than 10 million farmers.
Source: www.business-standard.com

CRIDA, IIIT to provide IT-based agricultural information in India
The Central Institute for Dryland Agriculture (CRIDA) along with the Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIIT), Hyderabad, proposes to initiate a pilot programme for IT-based agricultural information and dissemination system to provide weather-based decisions in agriculture. The proposed project is expected to provide real-time data collection and advisories, weather-based forewarning of crop pests and diseases. YS Ramakrishna, Director of CRIDA said that the agricultural operations require adequate contingency planning. Hence, they are planning a coordinated project with the International Crops Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Acharya NG Ranga Agricultural Institute (ANGRAU), IIIT,

National Council for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF) and India Meteorological Department (IMD). Using the expertise of each of the centres, the agro meteorological programme aims to know the influence of weather on dynamics of pests and diseases, climatic changes and its impact on different agro-ecological regions and identification of the crops based on Geographic Information System (GIS) applications. The information includes some general information like weather, crop demand-supply information, market prices, credit-related information; pre-sowing information like best practices in soil and tillage, choice of crops, source of seed materials, time to sowing; and crop production and protection measures from pests, adverse weather conditions and post-harvest practices like time to harvest, storage facilities, current pricing and offtake at local markets.
Source: http://financialexpress.com

Community Radio
Community radio: A strong development tool in rural Uttaranchal
Although a full-fledged community radio movement is still to become a reality in

Kerala Kerala government to launch e-Literary e-Literary centres in Kozhikode district
In India, after the successful implementation of the ‘Akshaya’ programme in the neighbouring district of Malappuram, the administration of the state government of Kerala has recently decided to launch the e-Literary centres in the Kozhikode district of the state as well, aimed at addressing the socio-economic inequities in the society by bridging the digital divide. The Collector Rachna Shah has said that as part of the Kerala Government’s ambitious plan to introduce the programme in other districts, the administration would set up 176 computer learning centres in various parts of the district. The scheme would be a stepping stone for generating massive economic growth and creating direct employment opportunities in the district. In the first phase of the programme, entrepreneurs would be selected to set up self-sustaining Akshaya centres at approved locations for incorporating e-Literacy. Initially, the centre would impart a 15-hour-training to a member of a household. In the second phase, each centre would offer a variety of services in e-Learning, e-Commerce, advanced IT training, e-Governance and communication enabling the entrepreneurs to earn a steady income. The other districts, where the programme was being implemented were Kasargod, Thrissur, Ernakulam, Pathanamthitta and Kollam.
Source: http://www.hindu.com

AP government to computerise all agricultural offices within two years
In India, the Andhra Pradesh government has decided to computerise all mandal agricultural offices within next two years with a view to provide farmers access to latest information in agriculture-related issues. Poonam Malakondaiah, Commissioner for Agriculture, while addressing a national workshop that held recently in the state on ‘Web services on oilseeds development: DACNET (Department of Agriculture and Cooperation Network) Phase II initiative’, has said that half of the 213 offices has been computerised so far and they will complete the remaining ones by 2006-07.
June 2005 | www.i4d.csdms.in

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The i4d News

ICT community centre launched in rural Ghana rural
Ghana’s first rural-based Information and Communication Technology (ICT) business centre, commenced operations at Nkurankan, a market town near Koforidua in the Yilo Krobo district recently. Sogakope in the Volta Region and Sege in the Greater-Accra Region are also expected to benefit from a similar facility, in the course of the year. Ghana Telecom (GT), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and two other partners, under a joint pilot project initiated the scheme. They have dubbed ‘e-Care’ to stimulate business and economic development in rural communities. The public could access telephone,fax, computer, Internet and other communication services that would be made possible by renewable energy at the rural business centres. Deputy Chief Executive Officer of GT, Dickson Oduro-Nyanning, while speaking at the launch of the facility at Nkurankan said that it is the aim of the company to help rural communities to become part of ‘the knowledge society’ by furnishing them with ICT facilities. He urged entrepreneurs to patronise the centres to enable them to develop rural-based economy. He also said that the company is committed to create awareness on ICT benefits in rural communities, as well as enhancing entrepreneurial skills of the rural people.
Source: http://www.ghanaweb.com

Education, K.C. Reddy has inaugurated a training programme designed for librarians towards this drive. As a part of this initiative, a five-day intensive training programme to enhance access to e-Publications has been initiated by a team of scientists from Information Library Network (INFLIBNET) for librarians from 50 government colleges. The Indian state of Andhra Pradesh has become the first state to achieve this. The INFLIBNET centre based in Ahmedabad, India, has developed a software package that helps in computerising the functioning of libraries before they are networked with each other.
Source: http://www.thehindubusinessline.com

Local language
Microsoft launches low-cost PCs with Hindi version Windows XP in India
In a bid to target the first time users and make personal computer (PC) more affordable, Microsoft recently announced the launch of its PCs with Hindi version of Windows XP, priced at $.42 million, in India. Microsoft is counting upon a previous tie-up with the Uttaranchal government for an e-Governance project for the new venture’s success. It has tied-up with the State Bank of India, United Bank of India and Bank of India for easy financing schemes that include a down payment of $.084 million and equal monthly installment of $8.86 over 48 months. The Microsoft India Business and Marketing Director, Ranjivit Singh said that the PC is launched for the first-time for home computer buyers in Uttaranchal as part of an exercise that will cover all Hindi-speaking Indian states. The starter edition offers Wordpad, Internet Explorer, Outlook and Media Player with a Hindi user interface. In Uttaranchal, the PC is being provided under the state government’s ‘People’s PC Programme’, under which government employees can buy them in installments.
Source: http://www.thehindubusinessline.com

India, villagers in various rural pockets all over the country are using the airwaves to put up their voice about various issues. Uttaranchal Community Radio is currently performing as an important development tool for creating awareness, spreading information and facilitating communication, despite the absence of policy support and government aid. It is a radio service for geographically bound communities in areas with poor infrastructure where people do not have access to the mainstream national and regional media. The service, which is run and managed by local people addressing issues relating to the community in the local language, was introduced in Uttaranchal by the Himalaya Trust, a Dehra Dun-based civil society organisation, with support from UNESCO, in September 2001. Since, May 2004, five community radio groups four in Garhwal in the Western part of the state, and one in Kumaon in the East - have been engaged in a research initiative looking at grassroots media and poverty.
Source: http://www.infochangeindia.org

Participating in the ‘Reliance Carnvial’ held in Chennai, capital of Tamil Nadu, to commemorate the World Telecom Day on 17 May, 2005, RIM Business Head of Tamil Nadu, Ajay Awasthi said that they are working to bridge the digital divide between the rural and urban areas. Their main focus is to create an equitable information society in Tamil Nadu and all over India. Reliance would connect 600 towns, 10,000 villages, 14 National Highways, 22 State Highways, 37 rail routes and 43-million population in the state by the end of this year. About 5,700 towns and 4,00,000 villages would be connected across the country under this phase. The major focus, however, would be on providing total connectivity throughout Tamil Nadu.
Source: http://www.newindpress.com/

Digital library
UGC sets up Information Library Network to facilitate access to e-Publications in India
VIirtual libraries are not a distant dream any longer if the plan to automate them and digitise data is anything to go by. The University Grants Commission (UGC) has embarked on an ambitious programme just to achieve this, while networking various universities to provide access to information and books across the country. The Chairman of the State Council of Higher

Telecom
Reliance Infocomm aims to bridge digital divide
Reliance Infocomm (RIM) has decided to expand its network to cover a targeted 4.3-crore population in Tamil Nadu, India.

For daily news on ICT4D log on to www.i4d.csdms.in

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i4d | June 2005

ICT P OLICY

IN

A FRICA

Challenge for African governments
It is a well known fact that Information and Communication Technology (ICT) can serve as a powerful agent of change. This has been a realistic vision entertained by the developed countries including America and Europe especially, Norway. Norway in particular believes that these changes that can be brought by ICT can have a wide range of social implications, which will have positive impacts in the way of life of its people. Norway has a very high standard of living, however their economy is highly dependant upon petroleum and other natural resources. Norway has recognised this dependency and is attempting to diversify their economy to include information technology and other industries in the event so that the demand for natural resources changes. On the contrary, a lot of African countries’ economies rely mainly on agriculture and a few mineral resources. It is time for African governments to embrace the new trend and agent of change - ICT and develop policies that will enhance the use of ICT as a tool for socio-economic development. This important vision that is lacking in most African countries, could be the turning point from poverty and misery on the continent to better the levels of life and happiness. The African governments should understand the need to institute national, sub-regional and regional ICT policies (e-Africa) that will allow them to participate in the ‘knowledge economy’. Information is power and as we all know can do a lot. It is never too late just as Norway is doing to try and establish a comprehensive plan and committed substantial resources in joining the race of ICT for development. To follow Norway’s example that is proving to be successful, African governments can also channel their efforts into sectors such as: • Individual, culture and environment,
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• • • •

African industries, African workforce, The governments, Education. There is an urgent need for African governments to put in place ICT policies that will ensure and enhance the delivery of information into individuals, institutions and African society at large that ICT is a positive facilitator rather than a social hindrance or threat. African government should ensure that the national, sub-regional and regional ICT policies put in place are geared towards enhancing the ease of access to information

and empowering the people in various ways with the tools of ICT at their disposal. There should be encouragement for individuals to own computers, cyber-cafes and other ICT projects at all levels of the private sector. To appreciate the impact of ICT usage on the environment, African governments should put policies in place that will help develop and promote environmental information that is Internet-based. Illiteracy is not only a disease, but also a hindrance to development. Due to the fact that illiteracy rates in most African countries are very high, there is an urgent need for African governments to develop policies in this digital age that will help to establish learning activities among educational

institutions in the continent taking into account the culture and language aspects. These educational policies should also address the development or promotion of skills in ICT among educators as well as the development of public-private partnerships in the uses of ICT. One of the reasons for technophobia or the fear of changing to the electronic age especially among the older age groups is the fear of security of data on the networks. While African governments need to put policies in place that will help establish an ICT friendly legal environment in the continent to promote competition, they need to consider the development of a regional strategy that will ensure data integrity, reliability and security. With security and fair competitions in place, governments can then develop policies that will encourage and promote the export of ICT products and services among industries, within the African region and outside of the continent. In conclusion, the race for the knowledge economy may be a little too late for African governments but that is no excuse for them to be completely left behind. The pursuit for the attempt to establish themselves as part of the global ICT leadership may have eluded African nations. But this should not stop their governments from establishing comprehensive plans and committing substantial amounts of resources, towards efforts in meeting the Poverty Eradication and Alleviation Program (PEAP) and Millennium Development Goals (MDG) through the use of ICT by implementing national, sub-regional and regional ICT policies.
Lawrence Kweku Yamuah Armauer Hansen Research Institute Ethiopia yamuahlk@yahoo.co.uk

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ICT P OLICY

OF

E THIOPIA

Changing positively
Ethiopia has no coherent policy in place to support the growth of IT industry. The Government of Ethiopia has embarked on a major effort to put in place many of the building blocks required for developing a robust ICT sector in Ethiopia.
Ethiopia has no coherent policy in place to support the growth of IT industry. Existing high import tariffs (40%) on computer and communications equipment make the widespread use of such systems rather expensive, particularly for smaller businesses and institutions. Ethiopian Telecommunications Corporation (ETC) is the incumbent public telecom operator, with a monopoly over all telecom services in the country (fixed, mobile, Internet and data communications). Independent Very Small Aperture Terminal Satellite (VSAT) connections and satellite phones are not allowed, and call-back services are illegal. The national telecommunication switching capacity of Ethiopia is about 550000 lines, of which about 340000 are currently in use. About 60 percent of telephones are concentrated in Addis Ababa, the capital city. Ethiopia’s teledensity is about 0.54, one of the lowest in sub-Saharan Africa. Use of mobile phones in Ethiopia is limited to 90000, but it is growing. Costs are relatively affordable, but service quality and availability are low. ETC plans to introduce pre-paid and subscriber mobile lines (about 400,000 new lines during 2004-2005) to alleviate the situation. The number of Internet accounts in Ethiopia is still limited to only 6000. Despite the availability of the nationwide local call tariff for dial-up Internet users, the distribution of Internet users is still strongly skewed to the capital (94% are located in Addis Ababa). This is partly due to the limited availability of telecom infrastructure, and partly because of the low level of computerisation outside the capital. For Ethiopia to meet its development objectives using ICTs as enablers, considerable investments are needed in institutional and sector capacity building efforts. The same is true about human resource development needs, and communications and information technology infrastructure. Appropriate policy and regulatory reforms are needed to ensure equitable, reliable, and affordable access to information and communication technologies. In response to these challenges, the government has embarked on a major effort to put in place many of the building blocks required for developing a robust ICT sector in Ethiopia.

Signs of change
ICT development in Ethiopia has been treated in an ad hoc manner. But there are signs that this is changing. The ‘ICT Policy Paper of 2003’ provides a framework for defining the direction of the sector and its development objectives. It also sets the stage for institutional arrangements for policy development, and the promotion and regulation of the ICT sector. The Ethiopian Telecommunications Agency (ETA) is the new regulator. However, it does not have any spectrum management and monitoring activities due to lack of licensing schemes, human resources, and monitoring equipment. The government has recently established the Ethiopian ICT Development Authority (EICTDA) to propose policy and to coordinate a multi-sectoral effort for development of the ICT sector. Two key telecommunications agencies (ETA and ETC) now have newly appointed managing directors and the new management teams are keen on advancing the ICT sector development objectives. All these developments could facilitate the steady growth and development of the sector. Education and training Considerable efforts are under way to increase the number of trained ICT professionals in Ethiopia. These include vocational training programmess offered by various institutions, as well as college and university level degree programmess in computer science, electronics, telecommunications and information theory, software engineering and programming, technical management, and design and maintenance of management information systems. ETC’s Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (ITIT)
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Gordon Feller Urban Age Institute, USA GordonFeller@UrbanAge.org

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provides basic training in plant maintenance, telegraph and telex, switching, transmission, traffic and management of telecommunication networks. ITIT has recently begun basic training on computer applications and is planning to offer graduate courses in telecom engineering, management and information technologies in 2004 - 2005. Since 1992, the private sector has been providing basic computer and software applications training. The growth of computer training centers in the country, despite their uneven quality, has improved the general level of computer literacy and resulted in more skilled computer usage. The basic education system has been virtually untouched by computers or Internet. Very few of the 12000 primary schools have computers or Internet access. The government is currently implementing a School Network program (SchoolNet) that will connect about 500 secondary schools as part of a national network. The government has started to introduce ICT training programs in secondary and Technical and Vocational and Educational Training (TVET) schools. The tertiary education system comprises of 6 national universities and 3 polytechnics with a total of approximately 75000 students. Addis Ababa University (AAU) is the largest tertiary institution and is also host to the African Virtual University (AVU) facilities. AAU has developed a campus-wide network with partial access to Internet. Most other institutions have limited access to computer networks and Internet. Health Ethiopia has one of the lowest health status indicators in the world. Infant mortality is 98/1000, maternal mortality rate is 1,800/ 100,000, and life expectancy is 42 years (2002 World Development Indicators). Health services are only accessible to about 50 percent of the population, and most of the medical experts are concentrated in the major cities. To increase the use of ICT in health service administration, the government is developing a computer based Health Information System. e-Commerce e-Commerce and the use of the Internet in trade are at a very early stage of development in Ethiopia. e-Commerce related laws and regulations such as privacy protection and digital signature are yet to be adopted. Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) are being introduced on a pilot basis. e-Governance There are about 350000 civil servants in Ethiopia, of which only 2200 have e-mail accounts (based on 735 government EthioNet accounts each having 3 users). It is estimated that only about 14 percent of public servants have access to PCs. Several government ministries and agencies, including Ministry of Finance, have only parts of their operations computerised. There are also plans for computerisation of other public sector management operations. Through the European Union Delegation, the International Parliamentary Union (IPU) has provided funding to the Ethiopian Federal Parliament and the Federation Council for a project called Development and Upgrading of the Parliamentary Information System (DUPIS). The Ethiopian Civil
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Service College in Addis Ababa is operating a Global Development Learning Network (GDLN) centre, offering video conferencing and distance learning services in Addis Ababa. The two-way video conferencing facility is housed in a classroom capable of taking up to 40 students. A variety of courses have been offered to about 1,200 students. The government is developing implemention plans for a government network and a local authority (Woreda) network, to connect the Federal, regional and local governments. The initial phase will create a regional and Woreda administration network that will connect over 560 high schools and 611 Woreda administrations with the regional and Federal governments. The government is also considering broader use of these facilities for service delivery to local communities and offering them as access points for rural connectivity and access through a variety of arrangements, which include public as well as private service providers. Private sector The private sector has been increasingly active in offering IT related goods and services in recent years. Over 170 companies offer computer technology related products and services, mostly in Addis Ababa. Encouraging developments in licensing of private sector operators to set up cyber cafes and to engage in sales, installation and service of communication equipments are also consistent with the government’s stated objectives in its ICT Policy paper. Broadcasting The Broadcasting law allows setting up of NGO programmes, but non-governmental operations or programmes are virtually nonexistent in Ethiopia. Staff of the Ethiopian Broadcasting Authority (EBA) lack exposure to international best practices and the development of local (language) content. ETC’s position as the incumbent monopoly has led to its inefficiency and ineffectiveness in responding to customer needs. The national government has recently decided to proceed with the licensing of rural connectivity initiatives, private sector Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and community radios.

Challenges
Major challenges remain in the areas of rural connectivity, development of national telecom infrastructure, mobile telephony, data communications, and availability and affordability of Internet and related services. The Information Technology sector (computers, networks, and related services) is small but growing. ICT human resources are limited due to small markets, low salaries, low on the job incentives, and lack of institutional infrastructure. Sector-specific ICT applications are limited in scope, and very often are implemented in a disjointed and fragmented manner. The implemented solutions are also generally under-utilised. Information availability, particularly in local languages, is limited. The utter lack of ICT standards hinders widespread growth of applications, particularly in local languages. In practical terms, a number of regulatory, technical, and operational pre-requisites must be instituted before ICTs can have a significant impact on Ethiopia’s poverty reduction and socio-economic development efforts.

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P ORTRAIT
Portrait is a new feature series to provide a platform for showcasing the various activities of development agencies and the potential role of ICTs in strengthening their initiatives.
The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI)
Established in 1974, The Energy and Resources Institute – TERI (www.teriin.org) has reinforced its position as a dynamic and flexible organisation with a global vision and a local focus towards holistic societal development. While in the initial period, the focus was mainly on documentation and information dissemination activities, research activities in the fields of energy, environment, and sustainable development were initiated towards the end of 1982. The genesis of these activities lay in TERI’s firm belief that efficient utilisation of energy, sustainable use of natural resources, large-scale adoption of renewable energy technologies, and reduction of all forms of waste would move the process of development towards the goal of sustainability. So the work of TERI ranges from providing environment-friendly solutions to rural energy problems to helping shape the development of the Indian oil and gas sector; from tackling global climate change issues across many continents to enhancing forest conservation efforts among local communities; from advancing solutions to growing urban transport and air pollution problems to promoting energy efficiency in the Indian industry. As a unique developing country institution, TERI is deeply committed to every aspect of sustainable development through research, advocacy and ground interventions. While TERI’s vision is global, its roots are firmly entrenched in Indian soil.

“Policy should address needs of community”
Ibrahim Hafeezur Rehman Associate Director Action Programmes The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) New Delhi What are your comments regarding the absence of ‘Communication’ component in Indian IT policy. Why are we overlooking inexpensive communication technologies like ‘Community Radio’ for development, while investing in cost intensive satellite based communication? I am not too sure whether it is right to link the work done in the field of satellite linkage to that of community radio issue. Satellite technology is related to information in much broader sense than community radio and the functions and benefits of satellite technology are not comparable to community radio. Moreover, the demands for community radio facilities have not really come forward in a structured way and even benefits of using these technologies are not communicated well to the government. The current debate on radio in our country is largely spiraling around frequency modulation (FM) licensing that does not have much developmental edge to offer for rural people. Civil society organisations need to assertively voice their demand to the government and strongly advocate on this issue. With convergence technologies and innovative connectivity options like Wifi and Wimax, the definition of IT is expanding. Are we in need of an ICT policy? I do not want to strictly distinguish between IT and ICT policy. Practically, there is a very thin dividing line between the two. Our primary need should be to have a policy that addresses both information and communication needs of the community. The recently invoked Bill on Right to Information is a step towards it.

Although, it is not directly related to ICT issues but it will definitely help the society in accessing all forms of information. We can have WiFi, WiMax and all sorts of connectivity technologies but these need to compliment by easily accessible and affordable communication tools for demystifying the technology and for grassroot applications of the same. UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have largely emphasised upon strategic use of ICT for addressing developmental issues. How well are we prepared at the policy level and/or otherwise in implementing ICTs in our national mission? I think we still have a long way to go on this front. There have been efforts to link ICT to developmental programmes both at the level of government as well as civil society organisations. However, these islands of success do exist and there is a need to link them cohesively and devise modalities for up-scaling the same. There are three essential requirements for taking this concept forward. One is to have willingness for ‘transparency’ in information dissemination, which will carry any initiative for empowering communities with information. The second aspect is to have ‘economically viable’ models for information dissemination that can facilitate in reaching the technology/technical knowhow to the rural communities so necessary for meeting MDGs. The third facet is to focus ICTs to work for governance issues, wherein, we are able to cut on government red-tapism, reduce process cost and efficiently execute development programmes. Looking at some of the foreign countries we will find that Malaysia is having a multimedia policy, Singapore is taking lead in e-Governance, Korea and Japan are strong ICT players and Jordan is already having an ICT Ministry. Where do you see India among South Asian countries with respect to government’s role in proliferating ICT usage? Should there be a separate e-Governance policy as well? Talking about the need of e-Governance policy, I think it will eventually be required. However, at present, the policy and planning should be more focused on application side in bridging the divide. Policy instruments should emphasise on finding innovative and cost-effective ways of applying technology that works for masses.
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The emphasis of the institution is always on finding innovative solutions to make the world a better place to live in. The activities in TERI range from formulating local and national level strategies to suggesting global solutions. It is with this purpose that TERI has established Indian centres in Bangalore, Mumbai, Goa, Guwahati and Mukteshwar. It has also established its presence in Japan and Malaysia. It has set up affiliate institutes: TERI–NA in Washington DC, USA, and TERI–Europe in London, UK. The Governing Council of TERI comprises eminent and distinguished individuals from a variety of fields. TERI hosts the annual Delhi Sustainable Development Summit, which is swiftly gathering momentum as a major forum for the convergence of globally renowned leaders and thinkers dealing with the issue of sustainability. With a staff strength of over 600, drawn from multidisciplinary and highly specialised fields, offices and regional centres equipped with state-of-the-art facilities,

and a diverse range of activities, TERI is the largest developing country institution working to move human society towards a sustainable future. TERI makes effective use of the latest developments in modern information technology in both its in-house and outreach activities. TERI lays great emphasis on training, capacity building, and education. In 1999, it set up the TERI School of Advanced Studies, which has been recognised as a deemed university by the University Grants Commission, India. The TERI School is evolving as a research university, offering doctoral and master’s programmes in bio-resources, bio-technology, energy, environment, and regulatory and policy studies. Having celebrated its silver jubilee in February 2000, TERI is now poised for future growth, driven by a global vision and outreach, with a philosophy that assigns primacy to enterprise in government, industry, and individual actions.
Dipanjan Banerjee, dipanjan@csdms.in

At the moment, the policy environment should be macro in nature and once policies get into place we would need strong regulations for proper vigilance against misuse of information access. Countries that already have a head start in these fields can be good case studies for us to learn lessons from their successes and pitfalls. There cannot be a one-time one-stop policy frame to address all issues. How well do you think our IT policy is equipped to address the issue of unequal technology access born out of socio-economic inequity, high cost, language barrier etc.? Policy cannot be blamed nor can be considered as the sole solution for every problem. Policy never restricts us from developing software that runs on local languages. In fact, the policy does advocate for such an approach. Stumbling blocks are that, who should do it? what are the costs involved? and what is the economics behind it? For instance, a software company that is working in the field of information dissemination will eventually develop applications in local language. This is because it is the only way in which it can address the huge local market that is there. As a matter of fact, today we have a large number of applications being made available in local languages. With that regard, policy is in no way a handicap for making IT applications to overcome local challenges. Education and knowledge-based learning can undergo revolutionary change through modern ICTs. How is India’s IT policy helping us to achieve that? I think the educational institutes should realise the potential of IT and be more conscious and willing to use ICTs in education. Policy can only promote technology tools but the onus of application side lies with the agencies like Ministry of Human Resource Development, Department of Education at the state and central level as also with civil society organisations. Initiatives have to be recognised and technology tools have to be integrated with them to make education more impacting. What are the efforts initiated by TERI towards using ICT applications for development? In TERI, we are creating lot of compact disks (CDs) that has educational content, which can be used as learning resource. We are also doing research work into what is essentially required at the
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demand side of IT-led effort for information dissemination. We have even initiated efforts in trying to decipher what forms of content can be generated so that they remain relevant to communities. In one such example we have set up kiosks in Rajasthan in collaboration with ‘One World South Asia’, where we are trying to capture small success stories from the grassroot level that are tailored for specific groups. We encourage communities to narrate and document their knowledge by themselves so that they can be produced as information for others. What are your recommendations with regard to orienting the existing IT policy of India towards basic development? First of all, the policy should work towards bringing more transparency in sharing data across public, private and government domains. This would enhance our level of appreciation for issues that concern us and will go on to empower people in a true sense. Secondly, we should create much better infrastructure in rural sector to provide connectivity and access to technology. This is crucial to forge ahead the overall developmental process of the country. Thirdly, we need to have an evolutionary approach to regulatory policy in ICT. This will ensure that mass access and open connectivity does not get exploited with unscrupulous intentions. Fourthly, the policy should address the huge diversity of our language and culture and facilitate easy dissemination of information across all regions. Even though Indian IT industry is growing rapidly yet it ranks 86th in UN Report (2004) on global e-Governance readiness. What are your comments on it? Up till now, the field of IT where we have excelled lies in the domain of corporate software development and services. A lot still need to be done for using IT in rural development. Obviously, the current situation does not give a very happy scenario for a country that on one hand is aiming to be an IT superpower and on the other, miserably lacking on applying the same technology for improving the lot of the poor. Governance structures have to be redesigned in order to fit in modern technology in government processes. However, we must make it a point to move at a higher pace in terms of e-Governance implementation.

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I NFORMATION T ECHNOLOGY A CT

Need for amending
Cyberlaw has become a buzzword nowadays. In simple terms, cyberlaw is the law applicable on the activities of the cyberspace. It typically encompasses all the cases, statutes and constitutional provisions that impact persons and institutions who control the entry to cyber space, create the hardware and software which enable people to access cyber space or use their own computers to go online and enter cyber space. In India the cyberlaws are contained in the Information Technology Act, 2000 which was notified on 17 October 2000. It is based on the United Nation’s Commission for International Trade related laws (UNCITRAL) model law. The need for a new legislation became imminent because the existing laws did not recognise the validity of transactions carried through Internet. This absence of the legal framework became a barrier to the growth of e-commerce in India. There was an urgent need for an enabling and supportive legal infrastructure in the country that would facilitate e-commerce. The new law aims to provide the legal infrastructure for e-commerce in India by governing the transactions through the Internet and other electronic medium. Internet and specially e-mail revolutionised the communication, so much so that the postal and courier industry faced a threat from this new medium. However, there was no law in the country which gave legal validity and sanction to this new mode of communication. As a consequence e-mail remained ‘illegal’. The Courts were reluctant to grant judicial recognition to the legality of e-mail in the absence of any specific law on the same. Further with the increase in Internet proliferation, the crime in cyberspace also increased manifolds. There was a need to check this growing menace of cybercrime. As a solution to the missing link in the legal infrastructure of the country and to check the increasing cybercrime, the Government of India enacted Information Technology Act. However, in the last few years the circumstances and the technologies have changed tremendously and to keep pace with these changes it is now high time that we make changes in the Act in consultation with the Internet users, industry and other stakeholders. It is suggested that the following issues be considered by the stakeholders for the amendment of the IT Act: which may offer the same functionalities. The solution to this problem could be to introduce the concept of electronic signatures and remove all reference to the digital signature and its operations. The specifics of the technology and its usage can be provided later under the Rules framed under the Act.

Separate judicial and investigating agencies for cybercrimes
During the last few years, it has been observed that it is difficult to train the existing judiciary and investigating agencies on the new technologies. The state of affairs would be much better if there is a separate specialised court to try the cybercrimes and separate investigating agency for investigation. It is pertinent to mention here that the IT Act does provide for a cyber appellate tribunal, however, it is not functional till date. Moreover, the cyber appellate tribunal shall try the contraventions (civil offences) and not the cybercrimes. It is recommended that the jurisdiction of the cyber appellate tribunal be also increased to try the cybercrimes.

Privacy of individuals and protection of personal data
Today the personal contact details of individuals are being sold by one organisation to another without the consent of the concerned individual. Industry associations are advocating for providing protection to the foreign personal data, which is imported or accessed by the Indian companies under the outsourcing contracts. However, no one is raising voice for the privacy of the Indian citizen.

Issue of the rising devil of spam
Every Internet user today is suffering from the menace of spam – unsolicited commercial e-mails which not only takes away his Internet hours but also his precious time. The IT Act should include some provision to tackle the ever-growing menace of spam. There are many other issues like Internet security, liberalising encryption standards, adopting a better safe harbour policy (thereby minimising the liability of the carrier/ intermediary) which can be raised and answered only after a national debate of the stakeholders of Internet. It is high time now to have a public consultation on the amendments and implementation of the Information Technology.
Rishi Chawla Center for Communications Law & Policy Research, India Rishi@gipi.org.in

Make the IT Act technology neutral
The IT Act in its current form is at some places biased towards one technology. As for example, the Act recognises digital signatures only as equivalent to the signatures in writing. It is biased towards a particular technology, the PKI (Public Key Infrastructure) which is based on the assymetric encryption system, thus limiting the scope of innovation in technology. There are also other available technologies and may be in future, we will see much better technologies

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i4d | June 2005

Z OOMING I N

Protecting child rights
Ms. Bondana Dutta
Director - North & East, CRY

CRY – Child Relief and You (www.cry.org) is a premier Indian child rights organisation working for basic rights of survival, protection and healthy development of all children in the society, in a word, ‘to childhood’. Started in 1979, CRY has immensely partnered in large number of child development projects. Over the past 26 years, CRY has learned that ensuring child rights in a sustainable manner is possible only when grassroots action is combined with community empowerment, active citizenship and advocacy.
Apart from these, we are consultants to the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment regarding juvenile homes in 6 states of India. In future, we will be collaborating with the government on Member of Parliament sensitisation programmes and building of an MP’s forum on child rights. We also plan to work with various levels of government to promote a comprehensive child rights Act/Law and the formation of a strong Child Rights Commission. What is the level of preparedness of our country for achieving MDG 4 (reduce child mortality) and how does CRY address MDGs through its overall agenda? Efforts of various child rights organisations like CRY are continuing and we are relentlessly working towards these goals. Some more initiatives are expected from Central and State Governments. How CRY is utilising ICT in their programmes? CRY’s working area being spread out into very interior places, we cannot use ICT at all locations. Our IT applications are primarily restricted only to urban and semi-urban projects. However, we are extensively using our website to disseminate information regarding child rights. How CRY is working towards mobilising general public support for child relief? CRY’s general experience shows that people are very much concerned about children’s issues and look on CRY to channelise their passion into positive action. As part of CRY’s 25th year commemoration, we initiated a freedom movement for India’s children where we urged people to sign ‘CRY Free a Child Chakris’ as a statement of their support for child rights. This campaign enlisted support from almost half a million people, making the Chakri a symbol of freedom for India’s children. What is the future plan of CRY towards strengthening its campaigns and programmes? CRY’s long-term endeavour is to include a ‘rights’ mode besides the ‘immediate relief ’ mode. For this, CRY is planning to get increasingly involved with advocacy issues and developing alliances and networking with more number of civil society organisations. Moreover, our youth and volunteer groups are working towards developing ‘Citizen Action Groups’ in different localities in order to address and work specifically for child rights in their local areas.

What led to the foundation of CRY? With a burning passion to serve deprived children of the society Mr. Rippan Kapur started CRY with some of his like-minded friends and raised a small corpus of Rs. 50/-. Although Rippan passed away in the year 1994, his dreams are kept alive through various activities of CRY. What is the extent of influence for CRY in terms of its social and geographical reach? CRY started its operation from Mumbai, followed by branch offices in Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai and Kolkata. Currently, our work area spans over as many as 17 Indian states. Till now, CRY has partnered in over 300 child development projects, impacting approximately 1.37 million children across 2500 communities. At present, CRY has nearly 0.1 million individuals and organisational partners supporting to carry out our programmes. What primary ‘mechanisms’ does CRY employ in its effort to address child issues? In ensuring child rights, CRY partners with various NGOs, individuals, corporates and the government. We have been the prime mover in forming state-level networks of organisations working for children’s rights in Maharashtra, Orissa, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi and Tamil Nadu. We are also part of many state and national issue-based alliances like the National Alliance for the Fundamental Right to Education (NAFRE), Campaign Against Child Labour (CACL), End Child Prostitution in Asian Tourism (ECPAT) and Donor Agency Network (DAN). What are the major achievements of CRY in advocating for child centric interventions in government policies? One of the landmark successes in our advocacy efforts is in partnering with NAFRE. For this, we mobilised all the state alliances and during the Parliament session that discussed the ‘Education Bill’, we led a rally of about 50,000 people from different states of India in demand for right to education for all children. During 2004 general elections which coincided with CRY’s 25th year commemoration, we initiated a campaign to evaluate political parties based on their commitment to ensure the rights of children in the country. We also lobbied for inclusion of child rights in their pre-election manifestos by sharing a ‘CRY Charter of Demands for Children’.
June 2005 | www.i4d.csdms.in

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Books received
Information Technology for Development
IT Policy and Strategy Papers for Nepal Edited by: Greta M. Rana (Senior Editor), Kesang T. Lama, Manohar k. Bhattarai Publisher: International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development for the National Planning Commission Secretariat of His Majesty’s Government of Nepal Singha Durbar, Kathmandu, pages 182 ISBN: 99933-201-0-2 This book has showcased the IT Policy of Nepal and the six strategy papers covering three areas of critical importance such as universal access to information technology; education and training; and IT applications in business and government. The IT Strategy Formulation Steering Committee from National Planning Commission has prepared this document in order to make it useful to the IT stakeholders in the future and also it would aid them to reformulate the strategies and policies in the changing domestic and international context. It may also give birth to an interest to other developing countries to learn from the process that is being adopted for policy design. For the smooth implementation of policy, the committee has adopted a participatory process in which the government, private sector and civil society shared a common discussion forum during policy design. Such a process based on the accord of IT stakeholders would lead to ‘goal congruence’ among them and thus facilitate successful development of the IT sector. public, private, non-profit and civil society stakeholders to advance the global endeavour to bridge the digital divide. The Task Force convened a Global Forum on Internet Governance in New York on March 25-26, 2004. The Task Force Secretariat invited written contributions from the international community to help prepare the forum. Independent experts, Internet practitioners and different stakeholder groups submitted more than thirty papers in response to this request. The aim of this collection is to present a selection of these contributions in relation to some of the main themes that emerged at the global forum and to highlight their essential messages. The contributions to the global forum have been organised into six sections, which deal with Understanding the challenge; Evolution of the Internet governance debate; Frameworks and definitions; Public policy issues; Technical issues and The way ahead.

Creating an Enabling Environment
Toward the Millennium Development Goals Proceedings of the Berlin Global Forum of the United Nations ICT Task Force Edited by: Denis Gilhooly Publisher: The United Nations Information and Communication Technologies Task Force, pages 292 ISBN 92-1-104533-9 The book covers key presentations and contributions from the event held on 19-20 November 2004. The papers address policy and regulatory issues, identify areas and modalities for engaging stakeholders in innovative partnerships, outline models and modalities conducive to the elimination of existing financial mechanisms to meet the challenges of ICT for Development. The book is divided into two parts. The first part comprises of the proceedings of the Global Forum of the United Nations ICT Task Force on ‘Promoting an Enabling Environment for Digital Development’ held in November 2004 and the second part is the result of ongoing work from the Working Groups of the UN ICT Task Force in the context of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The MDGs will not happen without both the actions and the collaboration of all stakeholders working in a supportive enabling environment.
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Internet Governance: A Grand Collaboration
Lessons, Innovations and Perspectives of Information and Communication Technologies in Development Edited by: Don MacLean Publisher: The United Nations Information and Communication Technologies Task Force, pages 393 ISBN 3-03798-065-6 The book is the fifth publication of the United Nations ICT Task Force series. The Task Force was established by Secretary General Kofi Annan to help identify ways to strap up the potential of ICT for economic and social development by promoting partnerships of

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June 2005

ICTD Project Newsletter
government departments. Constituted on the public-private partnership most of the times, the government provides services to citizens through a private vendor who sets up kiosks and is paid on a transaction-cost model. This change in relationships between the government and the citizen from being primary bodies constituted to serve the people, to providers of services and recipient customer does threaten to change social dynamics. But the transparency and accountability that it builds into the government system helps assuage doubts about the role of the government. Numerous success stories around the globe have reinforced the viability and need of establishing such centres. Public sector organisations around the world have adopted a number of strategies to improve both service access and service quality. In Canada, efforts were undertaken to consolidate varied government services in a single office. This concept of coordinating service delivery across branch, departmental, and jurisdictional boundaries was broadly defined as Integrated Service Delivery (ISD). Coordinating services with several levels of government by making services available through new channels such as the Internet ensured government services to be more citizen-centric. In Latin America, the vision of the ‘Electronic Government Innovation and Access’ (eGOIA) project is the provision of a single virtual space supporting the interaction of citizens (independent of social status, gender, race, abilities and age) and the public administration in a simple, future-oriented and cost-effective way. eGOIA aims to demonstrate an e-Government system based on an open services infrastructure in order to

Credit: NISG

Bangalore One Centre - Airport Road, Bangalore

One-stop services to citizen
Integrated Citizen Service Centres as many are aware are one-stop centres where varied government services are made available, thus doing away with the need for the citizen to travel to different locations interacting with different government departments. Bangalore One (B1) is an initiative of Government of Karnataka that aims to redefine citizen-government interaction through its focus on integrated citizen-centric services. Can you visualise a government office without a long queue outside? Can you think of walking into a building and having access to multifarious government services through a single window? This scenario is not a vision of the future but a reality of today, as it exists in some cities. The era of e-Government has arrived in India and governments are now increasingly decentralising responsibilities and processes and integrating citizen services using ICT as a tool. Governments now understand the power of e-Government which can help them to carry out activities more effectively in a structured manner, and in lesser span of time.

Integrated citizen service with ICT
Numerous studies have been conducted during recent times which highlight the expectations for superior service that citizens and businesses have from the government. Integrated Citizen Services may be a viable answer to this growing impatience and urgency felt by people who are not willing to waste their time and energy chasing the government departments to get their work done. Integrated Citizen Service Centres as many are aware are one-stop centres, where varied government services are made available, thus doing away with the need for the citizen to travel to different locations interacting with different

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allow the access of citizens through the Internet to integrated public services at several levels. The project began with the demonstration of some integrated citizen-centric e-Services based on a current set of public services. These services were offered to a selected citizen user group in the newly established Citizen Access Points. Service usage is evaluated by monitoring the behaviour of selected user groups associated with the assessment of the results. The lessons learnt are passed to different Brazilian regions/states and also to other countries (i.e. Peru and Portugal) to help in replication of the project. In Philippines, the Philippine Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has introduced an e-Governance programme as the main supporting tool of good governance. The priority projects of the BIR as categorised per e-Governance framework are citizen focused governmentto-citizen (G2C) services, web-based government-to-business (G2B) services, linking with other agencies’ systems for government-to-government (G2G) and G2B services and integrated back office for networking to field offices. Another popular approach in many developing nations is the establishment of Multipurpose Telecentre (MPTC). MPCT’s offer integrated ICT services for the rural communities along with Internet access services. Information

kiosks and knowledge centre in India, Thai Rural Net in Thailand, telecentre in Brazil, Warnet in Indonesia, Public Information centre in Albania, etc, are some examples of MPTC’s. Interestingly, Bangladesh uses the same model of MPTC, to provide employment to the unemployed youth and women community of their society.

India’s Integrated Citizen Service Centre initiatives
India is never one to lag behind. In step with the world, India is effectively utilising ICT for the welfare of citizens. The initiatives undertaken by Indian states in this regard are noteworthy. One of the earliest initiatives in the Integrated Citizen Services domain in India was e-Seva, implemented in Hyderabad city, Andhra Pradesh. The state soon went on to become an e-Governance model for other states in the country. Some of the other projects implemented in Andhra Pradesh as a part of e-Governance were, Computer Aided Administration of Registration Department (CARD), Vijaywada Online Information Centre (VOICE), e-Procurement System etc. In Tamil Nadu, a pilot project called ‘Sustainable Access in Rural India (SARI) Project’ was initially implemented in Melur taluk (sub-district administrative level) of Madurai district during

Credit: NISG

2003-04. Its aim was to help villagers harness the power of the Internet for social development, wealth creation, job generation and to establish rural connectivity at a low cost. SARI was later extended to 10 more districts and renamed RASI (Rural Access Services through Internet). Touch screen Internet kiosks were installed through public-private-partnerships in all taluks of the state. Akshaya Project implemented by the Kerala State IT Mission, aims to set up a network of 6000 information centres that would be able to impart basic IT literacy to at least one member in each of the 6.5 million families of Kerala. Additionally, it will also provide services like data entry, desk top publishing, computer training and Internet telephony; generate and distribute locally relevant content; improve public delivery of services for networking and computerising the 1214 local self-governing bodies to expedite transactions like issue of certificates, licenses, tax collection etc. The existing centres are also being tapped to serve as Agri-business centres for providing more services to the citizens such as agriculture related information and services. These Agri-business centres will provide numerous agriculture related inputs to the farmers. In Maharashtra, Integrated Citizen’s Service Centres, SETU have been established in 25 district headquarters and 225 taluka places. These centres provide all the information related to collector office. Several Wide Area Networks are also being created for specific tasks. Gujarat Gyan Ganga Project, ‘Swagat’ (Online Grievance Redressal System) and Mahiti Shakti in Panchmahal district are initiatives in the state of Gujarat towards providing Integrated Citizen Services. All district headquarters have been linked with the Secretariat and all talukas are linked with district headquarters. The West Bengal Government has started government-to-citizen portal where anybody can download non-saleable government forms and avail many

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Old Electricity Bill Collection Centre

Bangalore One Centre Counters

Credit: NISG

more facilities through the Internet. 82 information kiosks have been created to provide services at a nominal fee. Three major hospitals have been connected to rural hospitals to provide the benefits of their quality healthcare facilities to the rural populace. The State Government of Himachal Pradesh has taken up the implementation of ‘LokMitra’ project on a pilot basis. Intranet set up has been built with servers at the district headquarters, connecting 25 Citizen Information Booths located in the rural areas throughout the district. Where the focus of government lies in providing varied services in one single centre, private agencies and the civil society too are realising the role ICT’s can play in providing integrated services to citizens. M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) launched the Pondicherry ‘Information Village Research Project’ for the Pondicherry fishermen. ICT was the medium of delivering key services to these fishermen. Computers were placed in the village centre and connected to the Internet through which regular weather reports of the Indian meteorological office could be accessed. The weather report is then broadcasted by loudspeakers and also through Very High Frequency (VHF) radios enabling the fishermen to determine low and high tide before sailing off to the sea.

Integrated citizen services in Karnataka
The Government of Karnataka (GoK) has been striving to leverage ICTs to provide global standard services to the citizens of the state. Bhoomi and Rural Digital Services are two such initiatives that have touched the lives of the people in the state’s rural areas. Bangalore One (B1) is another initiative of GoK that aims to redefine citizen-government interaction through its focus on integrated citizen-centric services. B1 has been funded mainly by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MOCIT) and the United Nations Development Programme funded ICTD Project being implemented by the National Institute for Smart Government (NISG). Where governments have mostly been associated with endless waits and tangled red-tape, Bangalore One’s objective is to make government transactions a hassle-free exercise. Implemented on a Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) model and run by a private consortium of CMS Computers Ltd. and Ram Informatics, the vision of the B1 Project is ‘to provide to the citizens of Karnataka, all G2C and G2B one-stop services and information of departments and agencies of Central, State and Local Governments in an efficient, reliable, transparent and integrated manner on a sustained basis,

with certainty, through easy access to a chain of computerised Integrated Citizen Service Centers (ICSC’s) and through multiple delivery channels like electronic kiosks, mobile phones and the Internet’. Modeled after the highly successful e-Seva project of Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, B1 aims to build on the success of the project. The B1 project was launched on 2nd April 2005 with the inauguration of 14 centres in Bangalore. With the opening of these centres, the citizens will not have to stand in long queues to pay monthly or other bills at conventional or manual counters. They will be able to complete transactions in 10-15 minutes at the e-Kiosks in air-conditioned facility. Payments for other services such as stamps and registration, passport applications, birth and death certificates, license renewal and traffic fines will also be available at the e-Kiosks, with each centre having 15 counters. To make the e-Kiosks customerfriendly, the centres have been installed with a TV set, coffee/tea vending machines, Internet facility, an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) and a well-stacked collection of newspapers, magazines and books. B1 aims to bring all G2C and G2B services under one roof to reduce the laborious interface between citizens or business people and the government offices, except for specialised or complex services.

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Credit: NISG

Bangalore One Centre - Vijaynagar

Various departments of GoK like Bangalore Water Supply and Sewage Board (BWSSB), Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (BESCOM), Regional Passport Office (RPO), Regional Transport Office (RTO), Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP), Stamps and Registration and Commercial Taxes are actively involved in the project. The project is initially providing approximately 25 services of 7 government departments and would eventually provide almost all the simple day-to-day services (about 100 G2B, G2C and B2C services) citizens require. Some of the main objectives of the project are as follows: • To provide 25 G2C services in a convenient and efficient manner through B1 service centres; • To scale up the operations to cover eventually all the G2C services throughout Bangalore; • To enhance the accountability, transparency and responsiveness to citizen’s needs; • To provide cost-effective methods of service provision; • To manage the service provision through partnership with a consortium of service providers to be selected through a competitive bidding process; • To ensure speed and certainty of providing the services through

enforcement of a service level agreement with the selected partner; • To enable the government departments and agencies to focus on their core functions and responsibilities by freeing them from the routine operations like collection of revenues and accounting, issuing of certificates etc, and thereby enhance the overall productivity of the administrative machinery. B1 project will be evaluated periodically through independent agencies to ascertain whether these objectives are being achieved, adopting an appropriate structured methodology like the e-Governance Assessment Framework (EAF) designed by the Department of Information Technology, Government of India. The purpose is to ensure that the project satisfies the basic tenets of an e-Governance project like people-orientation, scalability, replicability and costeffectiveness in providing the services.

The implementation of Integrated Citizen Services requires extensive work by the government. But, it is undoubtedly a boon to the residents of any country. The Government of India has recognised the potential of this medium in service delivery and has made it part of its National e-Governance Plan. The plan envisages the creation of over hundred thousand Common Service Centres across the country, and predominantly in the rural areas. Integrated Citizen Services not only present the opportunity for governments to offer its services to citizens in a better way, but also helps citizens to reach out to the government which is often considered elusive and indifferent. This will change forever the way people view, respond and interact with government.

References
• Guillermo, Lilia C., BIR Takes Lead In E-Gov’t Program, http:// www.mctimes.net/Special_Reports09162002-BIR%20Takes%20Lead%20 in%20E-Govt%20Program.html • http://nisg.org/projects/project_ICTD/ ictd_pilot_projects_info.htm • http://nisg.org/projects/ project_bangaloreone/bangaloreone.htm • http://www.bangaloreone.gov.in/public/aboutbone.aspx • http://www.egoia.sp.gov.br/pub/folderegoia-final.pdf • http://www.iccs-isac.org/eng/ISD.htm • Rao, T.P. Rama, ICT and e-Governance for Rural Development http:// www.iimahd.ernet.in/egov/documents/ ict-and-egovernance-for-ruraldevelopment.pdf • Shahid Uddin Akbar, ICT and Social Transformation in Rural Bangladesh http://www.iimahd.ernet.in/egov/ifip/ dec2004/article6.htm

The future
In the next phase, the number of Bangalore One service centres would be scaled up to 50. The scope of the services provided would also be expanded to about 200 services which would include G2B and B2C services. Bangalore One is envisaged to move to the smaller cities, towns and finally cover all the rural areas of the state of Karnataka.

NISG and i4d reserve the right to reprint articles produced for the ICTD section of the i4d magazine and website, with due credits to NISG and i4d. Please write to the editor for any request of reprints.

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Rendezvous
E URO -I NDIA ICT C O - OPERATION , 2-3 J UNE , M UMBAI , I NDIA

Development through co-operation
Advanced capabilities in engineering and management of software systems, services and applications, especially to support the competitive position of the European software industry, notably the small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) is the thrust of the IST Call 5 of Framework Programme Six of Euro India ICT Cooperation (FP6). International co-operation is a core dimension of the European Community’s effort in research and technological development. In the field of Information Society Technologies (IST), typically a global issue, international co-operation is a critical mean towards strengthening the competitiveness of the European industry. It is primarily achieved through participation of organisations based outside the European Union in the various activities of the IST Priority of the 6th Framework Programme. The Euro-India ICT Co-operation in Open Source Software and Embedded Systems Workshop and Training programme was held in Kanwal Rekhi School of Information Technology (KreSit), Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Mumbai on 2-3 June 2005. It was a part of a series of workshops on selected themes being conducted as a part of the Project Monsoon under the Euro-India ICT Co-operation projects. Project Monsoon aims to bring better international co-operation among the partners in Europe and India. The Euro-India ICT Co-operation Initiative is currently a network of over 1500 European and Indian ICT community members worldwide. The Euro-India portal www.euroindia-it.org is an extensive and well organised resource for institutions to find partners, offer expertise and look for collaborative proposals. The series of workshops that are being organised by Euro-India ICT Cooperation provide an excellent opportunity to learn the bid process, understand the priority areas and identify co-operating partners both for European proposers and Indian proposers. Specialists from the thematic areas also shared ideas and tried to develop these concepts into project ideas, which could be built up into proposals for fund-raising. Over 85 participants attended the workshop in Mumbai. In the opening plenary session, Hilary Hanahoe, Euro-India ICT Co-operation Project Co-ordinator, welcomed the delegates on behalf of the Euro-India ICT Co-operation Project. Krithi Ramamritham, Head, KreSit, welcomed them on behalf of the host
June 2005 | www.i4d.csdms.in

organisation. Klaus Pendl, Directorate General of the Information Society and Media (International Relations) of the European Commission presented an introduction to the IST FP6 initiatives. Neeraj Suri, Professor, dependable embedded systems and software, TU Darmstadt, Germany gave a European perspective on embedded systems and opportunities for Euro-India co-operation. Anand Patvardhan, Executive Director, Technology Information Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC), provided insight to the core group on automotive research, which is an example of public-private relationship in ICT. The experts and reviewers provided valuable insights on important points that need to be considered for making a successful bid. Two parallel interactive workshops were held on embedded systems and open source software. The workshops were an enriching learning experience where the atmosphere was open sharing of ideas, expertise, and sessions that sought to clarify doubts of priority areas and bidding processes. In the closing plenary session, Indraneel Ghose, Science and Technology Advisor, delegation of the European Commission to India, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka, presented co-operation opportunities with the European Union. Subramaniam Vutha, Technology Law Forum, India, presented the perspective of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in the fast evolving ICT domains. Ashok Kar and Surbhi Sharma both presented on the co-operation opportunities between Europe and India. The workshop finally ended with the closing remarks of the Euro-India ICT Co-operation Consortium and KReSIT. e-Gov and i4d (www.egov.csdms.in and www.i4d.csdms.in), both initiatives of CSDMS (Centre for Science, Development and Media Studies) are media partners in this cooperation, besides INSEAD (www.inseadnovasia.com ). Readers are welcome to write to info@euroindia-it.org to learn more or understand the process or to become a registered member of the online community (registration is free of cost). The call for proposals is open up to September 21, 2005 at 1700 hours in Brussels time. The total indicative budget of the programme is 638 million Euro.
Reported by Jayalakshmi Chittoor jchittoor@csdms.in

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Rendezvous
N ATIONAL W ORKSHOP
ON

R IGHT

TO I NFORMATION

A CT 2005, N EW D ELHI , I NDIA

Preparing to implement successfully
Introduction
On 12 May 2005, the Rajya Sabha (upper house of Parliamment) finally passed the keenly awaited Right to Information Bill. With the President’s assent, the Bill will finally come into force as the new national Right to Information Act 2005. To assist Central and State Governments to prepare for implementation of the new Act, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) organised a conference on ‘Effective Implementation: Preparing to Operationalise the New Right to Information Act 2005’ from 24-26 May 2005 in New Delhi. The conference was designed to bring together government officials from the Centre and the States, as well as civil society representatives to focus on some of the key implementation issues that all stakeholders will have to consider. To facilitate discussions and share experiences on challenges and good practices, CHRI also invited international experts on RTI and its implementation from Mexico, UK, Canada, Jamaica and South Africa to act as resource people. The first day was devoted to civil society consultation, while the next two days involved all stakeholders. The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) is an independent, non-partisan, international non-governmental organisation, mandated to ensure the practical realisation of human rights in the Commonwealth countries. Right to Information is one of its important areas of work. practical processing of applications and complaints by public officials in the States. Some felt that some conflicts would have to be decided by the courts. There was also some sense that if the Central Act was well implemented, State Acts might eventually simply fade away. Comparatively, it was noted that in Canada, Mexico and Australia, each State has a separate Act with exclusive jurisdiction and the national access laws cover only national public bodies. It was agreed by participants that it would be very helpful for the Central Government to clarify the position on how to implement the Central Act in the States, particularly in those States that already have an Act.

Identifying key partners
Throughout the Conference, resource people and participants repeatedly stressed the importance of institutionalising collaborative and strategic partnerships. Aylair Livingstone, Director of the Jamaican Access to Information Unit gave the example of Jamaica where immediately upon commencement of the RTI Act, the Access to Implementation Unit (ATI) sent out introductory letters to MPs, the Opposition, civil society groups, human rights organisations, educational groups and the media. Phil Boyd, Assistant Information Commissioner from the UK Information Commissioner’s Office said that in the UK, the Commission also recognised that building strategic relationships is the key to successful implementation.

Conference theme
The focus of the conference was the new all India Right to Information law (RTI) which is probably one of the most important laws to be passed since independence. The successful implementation of the law is directly linked to the level of commitment within government especially the commitment of the political leadership and the bureaucracy. This in turn directly correlates with their knowledge and their understanding of the beneficial effects the new RTI Act will have on overall governance. It is, therefore, imperative that there be immediate and wide scale dissemination of knowledge about the law. The burdens and enormity of the tasks ahead will be much ameliorated when civil society and government collaborate through strategic initiatives designed for effective implementation.

Developing an Action Plan
The experience of both the national and international participants who have been involved in implementing a new access law was very illuminating. The new law contains a provision, which explicitly states that the Act will come into force within 120 days of enactment. In Mexico, the UK and Jamaica, the implementing agencies were given a time lag of 1-5 years to prepare for implementation. So in real terms, implementation possess a huge challenge to both Central and State governments of India. A key point emerging from the discussions was the importance of a participatory process when developing an Action Plan.

Clarifying responsibilities and commitments
It was noted at the onset of discussions that the government envisaged that Central and State Acts could co-exist and that citizens would have an option to apply under either Act. Where there is a conflict, the Central Act will prevail. Some participants felt that this approach could lead to complications, particular in terms of

Implementing proactive disclosure
Two themes dominated the discussion: • Effective implementation of the proactive disclosure requirements; • Publication of the information.
i4d | June 2005

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Juan Pablo Guerrero Amparan, Information Commissioner with the Mexican Federal Institute for Access to Public Information (IFAI) noted that, after poor initial implementation of the proactive disclosure requirements under the Mexican law, some Ministers actually asked the Commission to help them deal with the situation and this gave the Commission an opportunity to standardise information disclosure approaches. Mothusi Lepheana, Director of the Access to Information Unit in the South African Human Rights Commission noted that it is important to at least publish information on what information is available from government and where it could be found. Marc Aurele Racicot, Assistant Adjunct Professor, University of Alberta, Canada advised that immediate work should begin for developing a department directory of Public Information Officers (PIOs). This will be a very useful instrument for all citizens because it is like a map of Government, which at least tells a citizen where he/she need to go to find a particular information. The Chairperson of the Delhi Public Grievances Commission noted that they have been very active in using the Internet, with almost every departments putting up information on the web. Some participants were concerned that too heavy a focus on the Internet was not appropriate considering the conditions of rural India today, where connectivity is low.

Participants of the workshop

Credit: CHRI

Setting up of Information Commission
The new law provides for the establishment of a Central Information Commissions as well as State Information Commissions throughout the country. There was considerable discussion regarding how the structure for each of the different Indian Commissions would be decided. The Mexican resource person stressed that essential to real independence was budget autonomy. The UK resource person specifically noted that the Office of the UK Information Commissioner has seen its role as a regulator facilitating good practice rather than as a tough enforcer of the law.

In Canada, there is a quite sophisticated monitoring system, whereby all Departments are required to send the nodal agency monthly reports. These are all collated and published on the Internet. In Jamaica, the ATI Unit requires Departments to submit monthly and quarterly reports, which the Unit reviews. In South Africa, the South Africa Human Rights Commission has a similar responsibility to the Indian Information Commissions, because it provides an annual report based on other department’s annual reports.

Raising public awareness
It was recognised that ideally civil society and Government could work together to raise public awareness and demonstrate the relevance of the law. Participants and resource people alike recognised that the media is an important group, which needed to be exploited to stimulate dialogue and raise the public awareness of the usefulness of the Act.

Running an information regime
Participants discussed a range of relatively technical issues, many of which appear minor but could have a serious impact on accessibility in practice. The crux of the issue is that very simple procedures need to be developed in terms of payment, receipting and actually accessing information. It was strongly recommended that a written receipt be provided to all the requesters.

Recommendations
The recommendations that came up from the conference: • The nodal agency responsible for implementation of the Act must design an implementation process that is inclusive and therefore should work in collaboration with multiple stakeholders, including State nodal agencies, other key departments, Administrative Training Institutes, civil society, the media, academics and international RTI officials; • The Action Plan should identify what systems and tools need to be developed to support implementation; • The Information Commissions should be empowered to make their own procedural rules; • Records management and archiving need to be reviewed and improved as necessary; • A directory of PIOs and other key officials responsible for implementing the Act should be collated and published as a matter of absolute priority; • Rural people are the most critical target and so strategies need to be developed for outreach in both the short and long term.
Reported by: Charmaine Rodrigues charmaine@humanrightsinitiative.org

Training/Capacity building
A consistent theme across all three days of the conference was that the training and capacity building for the officials responsible for providing information to citizens is an essential pre-requisite for an effective access regime. In Maharashtra, Yeshwantrao Chavan Academy of Development Administration (YASHADA), the state training institute, has played a very important role in the implementation of their access law, by providing effective training courses for Government officials, especially PIOs.

Monitoring
The RTI Act clearly gives both Information Commissions and Departments responsibility for monitoring implementation of the law.
June 2005 | www.i4d.csdms.in

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Bytes for All...
May 2005 at BytesforAll discussion group, as usual, was another exciting and happening month with very interesting and insightful discussions, thanks to resourceful contributors. The following is the brief summary of various discussion threads. 100 $ Laptop The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab is launching a new research initiative to develop a $100 laptop. This technology could revolutionise the education of the world’s children. The idea was announced by Nicholas Negroponte, Lab chairman and co-founder, at the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland in January 2005. http://www.media.mit.edu

ICT4D
Introducing ICT4D project of SEBA Society for Economic & Basic Advancement (SEBA) of Bangladesh has initiated a new project titled ICT for Development Programme, Bangladesh (ICTDP’B) to carryout various ICT4D initiatives. Under the new endeavour, SEBA is designing a business model for Multipurpose Telecentre (MPTC) and piloting one centre at Sonagazi, Feni. The MPTC is offering integrated services including education, communication, citizen services, health, business information, advisory services, etc. to the local communities. www.sonagazi.info Rural India’s rough road to computer literacy In a pilot installation in a village near Mumbai, India, students use PCs, donated by Via Technologies, to perform geometry homework, while local women use computers to track their savings in a micro payment program. Later this month, college teachers from around India will take a three-week training course that will allow them to replicate the program in other regions. http://news.com.com/Rural%20Indias%20rough%20road %20to%20computer%20literacy/210\0-1047_3-5700701. html?tag=nefd.lede

Open Source
India eyes own open source license In the seemingly never ending quest to balance openness with profits, one of India’s more influential professors is devising yet another open source licensing programme. http://news.zdnet.com/2102-3513_22-5701861.html?tag=printthis Cuba to switch to open source software Cuba will gradually switch to the open source Linux operating system for its state computers, eliminating its exclusive use of Microsoft Windows, the government daily Juventud Rebelde reported. Roberto Del Puerto, director of the state office of information technology, said that Cuba already has about 1,500 computers using the Linux system. http://uk.news.yahoo.com/050517/323/fj0v3.html Toasted open source The Shuttleworth Foundation has distributed Freedom Toasters around South Africa so that anyone can copy open source software. Freedom Toasters are open source distribution points that allow anyone to burn, or toast, software to a CD legally and for free, says Shuttleworth Foundation project manager Jason Hudson. http://www.sdnp.undp.org/perl/news/articles.pl?id=7739&do=gpage bridges.org publishes software comparison study bridges.org study identifies harsh realities of using Free/Open Source Software (FOSS) and proprietary software in public computer labs in Africa. The study was conducted by bridges.org in collaboration with the International Development Research Council, the Open Society Institute, and SchoolNet Africa. http://www.bridges.org/software_comparison/report.html Open Admin for Schools 1.80 released Open Admin for Schools is a freely available web based school administration programme. It now includes an online grade book, and allows parent viewing of attendance, report cards, and grade book, if desired. This is being developed by both the Battlefords School Division and the North West Catholic School Division in Saskatchewan, Canada. http://richtech.ca/openadmin Free software for digital library collections Greenstone, a UNESCO supported suite of software for building and distributing digital library collections provides a new way of
i4d | June 2005

ICT accessibility
Indian firm plans cheap desktops worth $230 Encore Software Ltd has plans to launch a range of cheap desktops costing around $230 to $280, three years after it launched the $200 Simputer. These desktops are targeted mainly at the basic users like students, small shop owners and educational institutions. http://in.news.yahoo.com//050510/137/5yhow.html Indian language computing The Department of Information Technology, Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, Government of India’s mission is to proliferate the use of Indian languages on computers, to overcome language barriers that restrict the nation’s path to knowledge and development. The DIT has invited individuals, public, private agencies and academic institutions to participate in a national initiative in public-private partnership to launch and distribute applications, tools, utilities and products developed for Indian language computing. http://www.cdac.in http://www.ildc.gov.in

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for for for for for for for

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Bytes for All...
organising information and publishing it on the Internet or on CD-ROM. Greenstone is produced by the New Zealand Digital Library Project at the University of Waikato, and developed and distributed in cooperation with UNESCO and the Human Info NGO. It is open source, multilingual software, issued under the terms of the GNU general public license. http://www.greenstone.org/cgi-bin/library

Studies
The drover’s wife logs on This study explores the Internet experiences of women living in rural and regional Australia, their motives for Internet uptake and use, the benefits they gain from using the Internet, the difficulties they encounter in using it and whether the benefits are affected by technical factors, such as computer equipment and telecommunication infrastructure, availability of opportunities for developing online skills, and perceptions of the Internet. http://rights.apc.org.au/gender/2005/05/the_drovers_wife_logs_on.php Who benefits more from e-Governance: Public authorities or citizens? The finding of an important study commissioned by European Union and carried out by Capgemini, Netherlands and TNOStrategy, Technology and Policy, is that e-Government does pay off and that back office changes are required to achieve results. The study selected and studied in detail eight European exemplary public services from Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Slovenia and Spain. http://www.eupan.org/cms/repository/documentDoes_e_gov_pay_off.zip

Events and Announcements
$60,000 award for research on development The medals for outstanding research on development carry cash prizes of $60,000 plus travel expenses to the Global Development Network’s seventh Annual Development Conference. Two prize medals will be granted for complete research papers in each of five topic areas corresponding to the themes of the conference. http://www.gdnet.org International 2005 ICT Student Competition The International 2005 ICT student competition is sponsored by the International Council for Caring Communities (ICCC) in co-operation with the United Nations ICT Task Force, the United Nations Programme on Ageing, the UN’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the Swiss Agency for Development and other partners. www.international-iccc.org IPDC-UNESCO prize for rural communication The International Program for the Development of Communication (IPDC)-UNESCO Prize is intended to recognise a meritorious and innovative activity in improving communication in rural communities, mainly in developing countries. The prize will be awarded during the twenty-fifth session of the Intergovernmental Council of the IPDC. http://portal.unesco.org/ e-Content award 2005 The e-Content Award 2005 has been introduced to select best eContent for the World Summit Award 2005, scheduled at Tunisia on coming November. This award is jointly sponsored by Ministry of Science and ICT, Government of Bangladesh in association with International Center for New Media (Austria). www.e-content.org

Miscellaneous
India is all set to become the new knowledge process outsourcing (KPO) hub India is all set to become the new knowledge process outsourcing (KPO) hub, according to paper ‘India in the New Knowledge Economy’. The paper has revealed that KPO would grow at 46% to reach a staggering US$ 17 billion by 2010. Besides, the study points that the growth of services sector would be more than 8% and its contribution to India’s GDP would be more than 51%, affirming that India’s transition from being a BPO destination to a KPO destination is imminent. http://www.ciionline.org/news/newsMain.asp?news_id= 592005103415AM&comment=posted Euro-India ICT co-operation The Euro-India ICT Co-operation initiative has published the European and Indian ICT market background documents. Each document has been compiled to offer European & Indian players a brief yet comprehensive overview of the European & Indian economies, their marketplaces, and prospects in the ‘digital era’, the respective ICT markets - evolution, present status, performance indicators, future outlook and much more. http://www.euroindia-it.org Bytes for All: www.bytesforall.org or www.bytesforall.net Bytes for All Readers Discussion: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ bytesforall_readers To subscribe: bytesforall_readers-subscribe@yahoogroups.com Compiled by Farah Mahmood, Bytes for All, Pakistan

Site Watch
Reliefweb.int This is a new website designed to help the international aid community improve the speed and effectiveness of relief efforts by making it easier for decision makers to access critically needed information on global emergencies and natural disasters on a 24/7 basis. http://www.reliefweb.int/
June 2005 | www.i4d.csdms.in

43

D ISASTER F EATURE

MDGs and disaster
Disasters have always been identified as an obstacle to achieve the development goals. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) touch upon areas like poverty, education, health, etc. which are closely linked to vulnerability to natural hazards. and can also face targeted gender-based violence and exploitation in the aftermath of disasters. Women are often left out of formal planning and decision making for disaster recovery affairs.

Strategies proposed by the Millennium Project
The report entitled ‘Investing in development: A practical plan to achieve the Millennium Development Goals’ of the UN Millennium Project has recommended the following five-fold strategy for reducing losses from disasters: • Strategies to reduce disaster losses need to be mainstreamed in poverty reduction strategy papers; • Infrastructure investment to incorporate disaster risk reduction efforts; • Social safety nets for the vulnerable, particularly through government provisions; • Early warning capacities and information campaigns supported by governments; • Pre-crisis emergency and contingency planning. directly to less access to resource-based livelihoods and migration to marginal and often more hazard-prone areas. Strategies like prior environmental impact assessments of all developmental projects, participatory management of biodiversity and ecosystem resources can contribute to break the chain of accumulated risk.

GOAL 1: Eradicating extreme poverty and hunger
Extreme poverty and hunger lead to consequences like increasing the likelihood of populations living in more hazard prone areas, having less protection against disaster impact and lowering coping capacity during and after the hazardous event. Thus, eradicating extreme poverty is harmonised with reducing risk of potential losses from disasters like drought, floods, cyclones and earthquakes. For this, the microfinance institutions can offer its members a variety of micro insurance packages as Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) of India has done in the aftermath of the Gujarat earthquake in 2001.

GOAL 4: Reducing child mortality (children below the age of five)
Infants and young children are among the most vulnerable segments of any given population. In the aftermath of disasters, interrupted basic infrastructure, stretched emergency and health care facilities, the outbreak of disease epidemics, and the loss or injury of care givers and income earners, make young children even more susceptible to physical and emotional trauma.

GOAL 5: Improving maternal health
In households where basic needs are hardly met, the pressure of post-disaster impact can eliminate the possibility of adequate maternal care. Pregnant woman are often at high risk from death/injury in disasters. Increased responsibilities and workloads create stress for surviving mothers.

GOAL 2: Achieving universal primary education
Disaster occurrences greatly hamper the education process in many ways, with human loss and injury, social upheaval, school property damage and closings, and often with children having to leave school for long periods in the recovery period. Some of the children do not get another chance to attend school, which deepens the vicious cycle of lack of education and vulnerability. In many earthquakes around the world, school buildings collapsed, causing severe setback to primary education. So countries like Turkey, Colombia, India and Indonesia have started to incorporate seismic safety standards into new school building constructions.

GOAL 6: Combating HIV/ AIDS, malaria and other diseases

GOAL 8: Developing a global HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases of partnership for development
epidemic proportions make infected populations more vulnerable in the wake of disaster. With basic infrastructure being damaged and interrupted, water-borne and insect vector diseases can escalate rapidly, which severely hampers recovery and development efforts. Additionally, overburdened health care facilities can make regular treatments impossible. Mainstreaming disaster risk reduction continues to gain momentum at all levels with development efforts increasingly including risk reduction considerations and risk reduction initiatives further incorporating wider development viewpoints. The World Summit for Sustainable Development (WSSD) process has formally linked disaster risk reduction with global development efforts. Disaster reduction has also been a part of the national, regional and global meetings of the Programme of Action for Small Island Developing States (SIDS).
Source: http://www.unisdr.org/eng/mdgs-drr/ review-8mdgs.htm
i4d | June 2005

GOAL 3: Promoting gender equality and empowering women
Women are frequently, disproportionately and negatively affected by disaster impact

GOAL 7: Ensuring environmental sustainability
The link between environmental degradation and disaster occurrence is well recognised. Degradation of the resource base leads

44

What’s on
Botswana
31 August-02 September, 2005 World Information Technology Forum Gaborone
www.witfor.org

Tanzania
12-14 August, 2005 WYDI 2005 World Youth, Development and ICT Conference Arusha
http://www.wydi2005.tk

Nigeria
25-28 July, 2005 Conference on Bridging the Digital and Scientific Divide, Abuja
http://www.fmst-nnvs.com/

Tunisia
16-18 November, 2005 WSIS: World Summit on the Information Society Phase 2, Tunis
http://www.itu.int/wsis

Canada
27 June-02 July, 2005 ED-MEDIA 2005, Montreal
http://www.aace.org

Republic of Korea
23-24 June, 2005 WSIS Thematic Meeting on Multi-Stakeholder Partnerships for Bridging the Digital Divide, Seoul
http://www.itu.int/osg/spu/ni/wsisbridges

24-28 October, 2005 E-Learn 2005 Vancouver, British Columbia
http://www.aace.org/conf/eLearn/call.htm

United Kingdom
22-24 June, 2005 First International Conference on e-Social Science Manchester
http://www.ncess.ac.uk/conference_05.htm

Slovenia
19-21 October, 2005 e-Challenges e-2005, Ljubljana
http://www.echallenges.org/2005

China
06 July, 2005 IEEE 3 rd International Workshop on Technology for Education in Developing Countries, Taiwan
http://ifets.massey.ac.nz/tedc2005

South Africa
04-07 July, 2005 8th World Conference on Computers in Education, Stellenbosch
www.wcce2005.org.za

10-12 July, 2005 Euro Conference on Mobile Government Sussex University Brighton
http://www.icmg.mgovernment.org/ europeanmg.htm

Finland
27-29 June, 2005 Landscapes of ICT and Social Accountability, Turku
www.cs.utu.fi/ifip/WG9.2_Conference_2005

24-26 August, 2005 CIRN2005 The 2nd Annual Conference of the Community Informatics Research Network Cape Town
http://www.cirn2005.org

14-16 July, 2005 6th International Women into Computing Conference Greenwich
http://www.wic.org.uk/conference

Italy
11-15 July, 2005 OSS2005 International Conference on Open Source Systems Genova
http://oss2005.case.unibz.it

United States
14-17 July, 2005 EISTA ’05 3rd International Conference on Education and Information Systems: Technologies and Applications Orlando, Florida
http://www.confinf.org/eista05/website/default.asp

Spain
06-08 July, 2005 7th ISKO-Spain Conference Barcelona
http://www.bd.ub.es/isko2005

27-28 October, 2005 Lesser Used Languages & Computer Linguistics Bolzano
http://www.eurac.edu/Org/LanguageLaw/ Multilingualism/Projects/Conference2005.htm

Switzerland
28 June-01 July, 2005 ITU WSIS Thematic Meeting on Cybersecurity, Geneva
http://www.itu.int/osg/spu/cybersecurity

23-25 September, 2005 33rd Research Conference on Communication, Information and Internet Policy Arlington, Virginia
http://www.tprc.org/TPRC05/2005.htm

Get your event listed here. www.i4d.csdms.in/events
June 2005 | www.i4d.csdms.in

45

I N F ACT

Policy panorama
A coherent national ICT policy is necessary for the development of sustainable and effective infrastructure and also for reducing waste of resources. Most of the Asian countries have distinct policies of their own to ensure that they can take the full advantage of the technical opportunities available to them and exploit them for economic development.

India
In May 1998, the Prime Minister of India formed a National Taskforce on Information Technology and Software Development to formulate a long term National IT policy for the country. The Taskforce submitted three key reports to the government. IT Action Plan - I: Software IT http://www.nasscom.org/download/action_plan_1.pdf Action Plan - II: Hardware IT http://www.nasscom.org/download/action_plan_2.pdf Action Plan - III: Long Term National IT Policy http://www.nasscom.org/download/action_plan_3.pdf

Afghanistan
The Ministry of Communications, Government of Afghanistan has prepared ‘Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) - Policy Paper’ to enable Afghanistan to draw benefit from ICT by fully becoming part of the global information society. The government wants to use ICT to improve government and social services and foster the rebuilding process. http://www.export.gov/afghanistan/pdf/ict_policypaper.pdf

Indonesia
Ministry of Communication and Information (MCI), Government of Indonesia has drafted ‘Promoting Internet Policy and Regulatory Reform in Indonesia’ to facilitate the growth of Internet in the country. In most parts of the country, there is a problem of accessibility. http://www.internews.fr/documents/ICT_Dev_Indonesia_2003.pdf

Bangladesh
The Ministry of Science and Information and Communication Technology, Government of Bangladesh has drafted National Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Policy. This Policy aims at building an ICT-driven nation comprising of knowledge-based society by the year 2006. http://www.bccbd.org/html/itpolicy.htm

Japan
The Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications has designed ‘Vision 21 for Info-Communications’ to evolve a more sophisticated system of info-communications. Japan is highly developed in information and communication technology. http://www.soumu.go.jp/joho_tsusin/policyreports/english/telecouncil/ v21-9706/v21-9706-e.html

Bhutan
The ‘Bhutan Information and Communications Technology Policy and Strategies (BIPS)’ of the Royal Government of Bhutan was drafted with the overall policy objectives to use ICT for good governance, to create a Bhutanese info-culture and to create a ‘High-Tech Habitat’. http://www.dit.gov.bt/guidelines/bips.pdf

Pakistan
The guiding theme for the IT policy of Pakistan drafted by IT and Telecom Division is that the government has to be the facilitator and an enabler to let the private sector drive the development in IT and Telecommunications. http://www.pakistan.gov.pk/divisions/ContentListing.jsp?DivID= 9&cPath=81_85_237

Cambodia
The Government of Cambodia through the ICT policy want to narrow the digital divide. The advancement in technologies has pushed the disparities between different geographical regions of the country broader. While the cities like Phnom Penh have mobile telephones, Internet access and other value added services, remote provinces are still not having enough basic analogue telephone systems. http://www.apdip.net/projects/2004/kh-la-epolicies/kh/DraftPolicy.pdf

Philippines
The ‘National Information Technology Plan 2000’ (NITP2000) of Philippines documents an overall strategy to spur the country to global competitiveness through information technology diffusion. http://www.sdnbd.org/sdi/issues/IT-computer/policy/philippines.pdf

Hong Kong, China
Legislative Council Information Policy Panel of Hong Kong has prepared ‘Development of Information Infrastructure in Hong Kong’ for the development of the physical infrastructure and touches on the promotion of the effective use of that infrastructure for possible applications. http://www.ofta.gov.hk/mis/rp97a231.html

Thailand
The National Information Technology Committee has drafted ‘Social Equity and Prosperity: Thailand IT Policy into the 21st Century’ to harness the full potential of IT for the socio-economic development of the country. http://www.nitc.go.th/it-2000/full.en.html
i4d | June 2005

46

Map India 2006
30 January – 2 February, New Delhi www.mapindia.org

Map Middle East 2006
26-29 March, Dubai www.mapmiddleeast.org

Map Asia 2005
22-25 August, Jakarta www.mapasia.org

Can you afford to miss these?
www.GISdevelopment.net info@GISdevelopment.net

e

e

e

Conflux
e
The e-Government Conference

2005

The Grand New Delhi 17 - 19 October, 2005

e-Government: Evolution or Revolution?
About Conflux 2005
Conflux 2005 is a three day conference and exhibition being organised by Centre for Science, Development and Media Studies (CSDMS) and GIS Development, in collaboration with Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi. The objective of the event is to showcase e-Government developments in India and other parts of the world and learn from the successful practices in the region. The conference will serve as a platform to bring experts from various countries, key government representatives, industry, academia and grassroot NGOs all together to discuss and bring forth the key issues related to the e-Governance.

Key sectors to be addressed
• • • • • Land records Registration services Transport Municipal e-Government Passport department • • • • • Income tax/Commercial tax Treasuries automation Police departments Postal department Citizen services

Key topics
• • • • • Open Source Benchmarking tools and evaluation methodologies Public private partnership models International best practices National e-Government Action Plan

Participant profile
Key administrators/e-Government practitioners from the following bodies: ! Central Government ! State Governments ! Local authorities ! Government agencies and other relevant government organisations ! Corporates providing e-Government services ! Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) including ICT companies providing e-Government and e-Commerce solutions ! Politicians ! Bureaucrats ! Chambers of commerce and other associations ! Community leaders ! Community-based organisations

Key sessions
• • • • • Rural governance models Citizen service centres Local content for local governance Role of civil society organisations in e-Government Right to information vs. duty to publish

Paper submission deadline
Abstracts Acceptance Full paper July 30, 2005 August 07, 2005 August 30, 2005

Important contacts
General enquiry/Information Abstract/papers submission Registration Sponsorships/exhibition info@conflux.csdms.in papers@conflux.csdms.in registration@conflux.csdms.in sponsorship@conflux.csdms.in

Organisers

Host state

Supported by

knowledge for change

Government of NCT of Delhi

ISPAI
Media partners

Internet Service Providers Association of India

Co-organisers

Department of Science and Technology

SPG e

ov
The bimonthly magazine on e-Governance
w w w. i 4 d . c s d m s . i n

Commonwealth BUSINESS

Promoting Global Trade & Investment

For more details, please contact: Conflux Secretariat G - 4, Sector - 39, Noida - 201 301, India Tel +91-120-2502180 to 87, Fax: +91-120-2500060 Web www.conflux.csdms.in, E-mail info@conflux.csdms.in

Institutional partner

www.conflux.csdms.in