Minister of Communications & IT Ravi Shankar Prasad has said that India will support the multistakeholder model of Internet governance. Prasad said that the Internet must remain plural and must be managed by a multistakeholder system, during ICANN’s recent public meeting. He also mentioned that India not only supports the multistakeholder model, but also encourages other countries to support it. This is a significant step forward, because India has rarely expressed its stance on Internet governance on a global platform, and more importantly not really been clear regarding what its stance is.

In a multistakeholder process, all stakeholders such as individuals, groups, organisations, including businesses, governments, research institutes, and NGOs among others are actively involved. The decision making process is based on consensus, and transparency and accountability are the key.  

 

ICANN, which manages the Domain Name System (DNS) and is also responsible for introducing new generic top-level domains (TLDs), is currently in the process of transferring IANA stewardship from the United States to a global multistakeholder group. The US government approval of the transfer process is expected to be completed by early next year. ICANN has been managing the database of TLDs since 1998, under contract with the US government. The current contract expires in September this year, though it’s likely to be extended by another year.

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), an agency within the US government Commerce Department, has so far been the one overseeing the operations of the world wide web. In March last year, NTIA proposed that the stewardship of IANA be transferred from it to a multistakeholder model group. However, the US government hasn’t been able to reach a consensus yet.

Also Read: What Ravi Shankar Prasad said about Net Neutrality in Rajya Sabha today