Commerce Ministry opposes national IT policy

On the IT Ministry’s objective to make at least one person in every family “e-literate”,the Commerce Ministry has said that “general functional illiteracy and lack of electricity” in various parts of the country will have to be kept in mind.

Written by Shubhajit Roy | New Delhi | Published:September 14, 2012 1:14 am

The Communications and Information Technology Ministry,led by Kapil Sibal,has proposed to design and create a “citizen engagement framework” on social media in its ambitious National Policy on Information Technology. This has been strongly opposed by the Commerce Ministry,headed by Anand Sharma,as it has said that “the government should not try to get into making policy in the social media segment,except for a few broad guidelines on obscenity or well-defined national security… lest,it would be construed as censorship”.

The national policy on IT is listed on the agenda for a Cabinet meeting on Friday.

While the policy aims to provide an ecosystem for Internet and mobile-driven service industry as well as service delivery through e-governance,the Commerce Ministry has said that government’s efforts need to focus on “creating an electronic highway or a backbone through optic fibre or wireless links (through wi-fi spots)… unless digital penetration is increased,the policy will fail to fructify”.

On the IT Ministry’s objective to make at least one person in every family “e-literate”,the Commerce Ministry has said that “general functional illiteracy and lack of electricity” in various parts of the country will have to be kept in mind. The Commerce Ministry has also taken on the IT Ministry’s plans to increase the number of IT professionals and engineers,pointing out imbalance between pure sciences and basic engineering streams and saying that the “stress needs to be on quality,rather than on numbers” or else such a policy will lead to “unemployed” professionals.

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