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First India Internet Governance Forum announced, 16 members from government and industry part of coordination committee

The digital economy, digital governance, emerging technologies, and internet accessibility are some of the issues that are on the cards for discussions at the event. 

The government on Monday announced the launch of the India Internet Governance Forum (IIGF) and said that it will be held in October this year. The theme for the event, according to a press release, will be ‘Inclusive Internet for Digital India’ and members of the coordination committee for the event have also been revealed.

Why it matters? The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) is a United Nations platform on which stakeholders discuss internet policies from across the world. This will be India’s first national chapter of the IGF.

Who will be a part of the organisation committee?

The committee will be headed by NIXI CEO Anil Kumar Jain as chairperson.

Along with vice-chairpersons:

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  • T.V. Ramachandran, president of Broadband India Forum
  • Jaijit Bhattacharya, founder of the Centre for Digital Economic Policy Research (CDEPR)
  • Rajat Moona, former director-general of Centre for Development of Advanced Computing

The following 12 members from government ministries, civil society, and industry associations are also involved:

  • Amrita Choudhury, Director of Cyber Café Association of India
  • Ajay Data, Founder of iSpirit
  • T Santhosh, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology
  • Seema Khanna, Deputy Director General at NIXI
  • Anupam Agarwal, Chairman of India Internet Foundation
  • Satish Babu, founding director of International Centre for Free and Open Source Software
  • Bhanupreet Singh Saini, Public policy head at Internet and Mobile Association of India
  • Deepak Mishra, CEO at ICRIER
  • Sarika Gulyani, Director of FICCI-ILIA division
  • Mahesh Kulkarni, former director of Centre for Development of Advanced Computing
  • Santanu Acharya of NIXI
  • Shubham Saran of NIXI

Likely topics for discussions

On its website, the IIGF lists the following sub-themes for discussion; however, it does provide any further details.

  1. Digital Economy
  2. Multi-stakeholderism
  3. Digital governance
  4. Accessibility and diversity
  5. Trust, security, stability, sustainability
  6. Progressive emerging technologies

The government has also said that there would be ‘Pre-IIGF engagement events’ held at several colleges and universities.

Other Indian involvements at IGF

India is among the two South Asian countries represented at the IGF and has previously hosted its 2008 annual meeting, with the theme ‘Internet For All’ in Hyderabad. Then-Minister of Communication and Electronics Thiru Andimuthu Raja had addressed the forum which also saw participation from various members of the NIXI, Prime Minister’s Scientific Advisory Council, Karnataka state government, and so on.

In November 2020, three Indians were appointed by the UN Secretary-General to the 2021 Multistakeholder Advisory Group (MAG) of the IGF. They were Amrita Choudhury, director of Cyber Café Association of India; Rajesh Chharia, president of the Internet Service Providers Association; and T. Santosh of Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.

In a statement, the UN had said that “The main task of the Advisory Group is to provide advice on the preparations for the sixteenth meeting of the Internet Governance Forum in 2021, to be hosted by the Government of Poland.”

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I cover health technology for MediaNama, among other things. Reach me at anushka@medianama.com

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