ICT Policies and Strategies

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Information about ICT Policies and Strategies
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Published on March 30, 2008

Author: Isab

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ICT Policies & Strategies aimed at implementing the UNMDGs and the WSIS Objectives:  ICT Policies & Strategies aimed at implementing the UNMDGs and the WSIS Objectives Shailendra Hajela Consultant WSIS Follow-up Regional Workshop, Bangkok, 29-31 May 2006 WSIS Plan of Action Objectives (1):  WSIS Plan of Action Objectives (1) Build an inclusive Information society; Put the potential of knowledge and ICTs in the service of development; Promote the use of information and knowledge for achieving (internationally) agreed development goals including MDGs; Address new challenges of the Information society at the national, regional and international levels. WSIS Plan of Action Objectives (2):  WSIS Plan of Action Objectives (2) Establish specific targets as appropriate at the national level in accordance with e-strategies and policies; Taking into account national circumstances, such targets to serve as useful benchmarks for actions and evaluation of progress made on internationally agreed development goals to connect with ICTs: - villages and community access points; - universities, colleges, secondary schools and primary schools; WSIS Plan of Action Objectives (3):  WSIS Plan of Action Objectives (3) - scientific and research centres; - public libraries, cultural centres, museums, post offices and archives; Health centres and hospitals; All local and central government departments and establish websites and email addresses; To adapt schools curricula to meet the challenges of Information society; WSIS Plan of Action Objectives (4):  WSIS Plan of Action Objectives (4) At international level: - ensure that all of the world’s population have access to TV and Radio services; - encourage content development and facilitate the presence and use of all world languages on the Internet; - ensure that more than half the world’s inhabitants have access to ICTs within their reach. UN Millennium Development Goals:  UN Millennium Development Goals 1 Eradicate extreme poverty & hunger (50% of 1995 by 2015) 2 Achieve universal primary education (all complete Pri. Edu.) 3 Promote gender equality & empower women (upto secondary education Level by 2005 and all levels by 2015) 4 Reduce child mortality (by 2/3rd among children upto 5 years age) 5 Improve maternal health (reduce by 3/4th the mortality rate) 6 Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria & other diseases (Halt and reverse) 7 Ensure environmental sustainability (integrate in policy) 8 Develop a global partnership for development – in cooperation with private sector, make available the benefits of new technologies, particularly ICTs ICTs in the development process:  ICTs in the development process By their very nature Information and Communication technology industries serve the society in a way no other industry does; as fast growing industry by themselves generating employment and wealth, and in the other avatar as enablers of social and economic activities; ICTs serve as tools for planning and development of all sectors and improve their efficiency, productivity and management; ICTs allow participation of all stakeholders: Government, private sector, Civil society in programmes/projects regardless of their physical distance, as long as they have access to the ICT network infrastructure; ICTs can be applied in governance, business, education, health, agriculture, environment, science, etc. to provide benefits in all aspects of life. (C7 WSIS Action Plan) Impact of ICTs on Economy:  Impact of ICTs on Economy The Economic Survey 2006 conducted by UNESCAP cites several instances of IT boom or IT downturn that has resulted in significant economic impact on countries like Singapore; Hongkong, China; China; India; Philippines; Rep. of Korea, etc.; IT s/w and ITES industry rely on human capital, thus generating employment for highly skilled staff that in turn gives rise to employment of support staff. As an example, the number of IT professionals employed in India in IT/ITES services exceeded 800,000 in 2004, besides a large number of indirect support staff down the line and development of other sectors like housing, retail, etc. IT/ITES and Telecom sector account for a significant% of the GDP in several countries of the region; ICTs play a vital role in all sectors: public administration, planning, finance, business, education, health, industry, trading, etc., within the framework of national E-strategies. Partnerships of stakeholders:  Partnerships of stakeholders The governments have a leading role to play in developing and implementing comprehensive, forward looking and sustainable national e-strategies. The private sector and civil society, in dialogue with governments, have an important consultative role to play in devising national e-strategies. The commitment of the private sector is important in developing and diffusing information and communication technologies (ICTs) for infrastructure, content and applications. The private sector is not only a market player but also has a role in a wider sustainable development context. Partnerships of stakeholders (contd.):  Partnerships of stakeholders (contd.) The commitment and involvement of civil society is equally important in creating an equitable Information Society, and in implementing ICT-related initiatives for development. International and regional institutions, including international financial institutions, play a key role in integrating the use of ICTs in the development process and making available necessary resources for building the Information Society. Partnerships of stakeholders (contd.):  Partnerships of stakeholders (contd.) UNMDG 8: Develop a global partnership for development , Target 18 states: “In cooperation with the private sector, make available the benefits of new technologies, especially information and communication technologies”. The WSIS objectives and Plan of Action (C7) and the UNMDGs (8) are convergent in their strategy for cooperation between public and private sector in the application of ICTs for benefit in all aspects of life. Relevance of ICTs to UNMDGs:  Relevance of ICTs to UNMDGs  MDG 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger ICTs provide increased access to market information and reduce transaction costs for poor farmers and traders. ICTs create employment and increase wealth. Tele-work allows gainful work from home. ICTs increase skills and productivity resulting in increased incomes MDG 2 : Achieve universal primary education ICTs increase supply of trained teachers though ICT-enhanced distance training. Distance learning helps in educational and literacy programmes in rural and remote areas. MDG 3 : Promote gender equality and empower women ICTs deliver educational and literacy programmes specifically targeted to poor girls and women. Studies show females outnumber males in E-learning programmes. ICTs also empower women to steelwork from home.   Relevance of ICTs to UNMDGs:  Relevance of ICTs to UNMDGs MDG 4,5,6 : Health (Child mortality, maternal health – reduce by 2/3 and 3/4, HIV AIDS, Malaria, etc. - Halt and reverse ) ICTs increase access of rural care-givers to specialist support and remote diagnosis. ICTs enhance delivery of basic and in-service training for health workers. ICTs increase monitoring and information-sharing on disease and famine. MDG 7 : Ensure Environmental stability Remote sensing technologies and communication networks permit more effective monitoring, resource management, and mitigation of environmental risks. Steelwork obviates the need to travel, saves energy and reduces pollution. Strategies & Policies to meet WSIS objectives (contd.):  Strategies & Policies to meet WSIS objectives (contd.) Telecom sector reform: policy, regulatory and legal framework; shift from Govt. monopoly to private sector entry in Telecom to promote competition; independent regulator to create level playing field, investor friendly climate, ensure quality and consumer protection; Joint efforts by Government and IT industry to garner global market for s/w, h/w, and BPO – ITES, a burgeoning industry; IT Act dealing with cyber security, cyber crime, and other information security related legal aspects; Broadcasting and Entertainment sectors Reform; Promote access to Internet, Broadband and wireless technologies; Set up Internet Exchange and Root Servers; Establish with public/private partnership high speed national IP backbone network for IT education. Strategies & Policies to meet WSIS objectives (contd.):  Strategies & Policies to meet WSIS objectives (contd.) Remove restrictions on foreign direct investment (allow 100% in export oriented units) and facilitate technology transfer; Abolish licensing requirements for Industry, only intimation filing; Provide fiscal incentives: no or low customs duty and excise duty, exempt profits on exports to Export oriented units, Software technology parks, Electronic Hardware technology parks, and Special Economic Zones; Dividend Income or long term capital gains of a venture capital fund from investments made in equity shares in ICT sector to be excluded in computing total income; All ICT products for civilian use, in general, to be freely importable and exportable; Strategies & Policies to meet WSIS objectives (contd.):  Strategies & Policies to meet WSIS objectives (contd.) Human Resource Development - ICTs are technology intensive and their success depends on the availability of highly skilled, trained and productive manpower; IT HRD policy has to address the needs of the IT industry togeher with its growth potential; IT-HRD (IT Education and Training) institutions in formal or non-formal sectors to be treated on par with IT Service industry for fiscal concessions; Floating of special bonds by FIs and Banks for capital investment in IT HRD sector to be allowed Strategies & Policies to meet WSIS objectives (contd.):  Strategies & Policies to meet WSIS objectives (contd.) Allow Public/private tie-ups between Universities, colleges, polytechnics to float IT Training company to jointly offer IT training to be allowed; Allow IT HRD companies to seek affiliation of state/private or a recognized foreign universiity to award degrees; Delicense satellite/cable TV based Broadcasting educational and training programmes. Strategies and Policies for women in ICT sector:  Strategies and Policies for women in ICT sector Facilitate the association of professionally qualified women in ICT by telecommuting if they are unable to attend the job in office due to family constraints and such women to be given loans/grants by their employer to set up necessary facilities; Direct Banks & FIs to offer financial packages to support enterprising and professionally qualified women to set up home based ICT services. Poverty alleviation, Health and Education improvement strategy:  Poverty alleviation, Health and Education improvement strategy Poverty is characterized by low income (<US$1/day), and can be addressed by attaining sustained high rate of growth so as to increase incomes and the demand for labour; The policies and strategies for poverty alleviation should: Ensure that the pattern of output is as labour intensive and capital saving as possible to maximize demand for labour; Give top priority to primary education enrollment and attendance; Emphasize primary healthcare and adequate nutrition, especially to children and women; ICTs’ role in employment/income generation - poverty alleviation :  ICTs’ role in employment/income generation - poverty alleviation Several countries in the region have found that ICT (IT Software, Hardware) sector, particularly the IT-enabled services present commercial opportunity as they help to lower the cost of information access, increase service orientation of world class organization, automate customer support, counter cultural barriers, outsource non-core competency services. More important of these services include: Call centres, Medical transcription, Back-office operation, Insurance claims processing, Legal databases, Content development and services, and logistics management. Many Asian countries have the advantage rendered by a large number of English speaking, computer literate young manpower. Strategies & Policies:  Strategies & Policies Aim to achieve consistently high rate of economic growth; Undertake economic reforms – delicense ICTs, remove controls and taxes; Harmonize public, private sector and civil society programmes aimed at poverty alleviation, education, health and environment; Encourage technologies like ICTs, which are more labour and knowledge intensive; Encourage FDI and FII; Encourage Telework, especially for women. Thank You:  Thank You For Your Attention

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