[fosscomm] URGENT: Need to lobby with NASSCOM, MAIT and MCIT
vinay at itforchange.net
Tue Jul 7 01:38:06 PDT 2009
> I would request you to send letters/ mails to the following, presenting
> your organization's views on the Draft policy that is being forwarded:
> 1. Chairman NASSCOM at chairman at nasscom.in
> 2. Chairman MAIT at Vinnie Mehta <vinnie at mait.com>
> 3. Secretary, Ministry of Communications and Information Technology,
> Department of IT, secretary at mit.gov.in
Please find below (and attached) the review comments sent from IT for
Change to MCIT.
Dated:7^th July, 2009
Shri Shankar Aggarwal
Department of IT, GoI.
Reg: 'National policy on open standards for e-governance' - comments on
We thank you for providing us an opportunity to comment on the draft
'national policy on open standards for e-governance'. The following is
submitted on the behalf of IT for Change, a Bangalore based NGO.
Setting up appropriate open standards is basic both to collaborative
development of technology and its mass use. The nature of ICTs use by
government agencies can by default determine society-wide standards, and
hence an 'national policy on open standards for e-governance' has a
special significance far beyond ensuring interoperability of different
governmental systems. It should therefore be strongly informed by long
term public interest and not merely short term expedience. In this
respect we find the present draft of the proposed policy a very
progressive document which can help shape the new ICT paradigm in a
manner that ensures the best democratic and development-oriented
possibilities in the emerging information society.
Two central features of the draft policy are, single and royalty-free
standards. However, we understand that there is a lot of pressure from
vested interested to dilute these key aspects of the policy by sneaking
in provisions for 'multiple standards' as also possibilities of allowing
revenue streams from some 'proprietary standards'. We consider both
these concepts – 'multiple standards' and 'proprietary standards' – as
oxymorons. A standard is by definition 'single' and fully 'public', and
therefore 'non-proprietary', – things like weights and measures, and the
shapes of electric plugs.
These new forms of 'standards' - multiple and proprietary - are being
constructed with the sole purpose of setting up illegitimate
rent-seeking positions in the emerging digital infrastructure of our
societies. Including them in our e-governance policy will, perhaps
irretrievably, set the basis for a flawed architecture of our emerging
social systems, compromising the immense potential we see in ICTs for
greater democracy, equity and social justice.
It is important that the issue of 'open standards' is seen in the light
of this wider societal significance and a commitment is made to
completely public, free and single standards for e-governance in India.
We strongly recommend that the present draft policy is not diluted on
these counts. It is also important that the policy is finalized at the
earliest since a lot of e-governance activity in taking place right now
all across the country.
Parminder Jeet Singh
IT for Change, Bangalore
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