[fosscomm] URGENT: Need to lobby with NASSCOM, MAIT and MCIT

vinay ವಿನಯ್ 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

Dear All,

Please find below (and attached) the review comments sent from IT for 
Change to MCIT.


Dated:7^th July, 2009

Shri Shankar Aggarwal

Joint Secretary,

Department of IT, GoI.

Reg: 'National policy on open standards for e-governance' - comments on 
the draft

Dear Sir,

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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