Delivered by ICC BASIS Chair Mr Subramanian Ramadorai, Vice Chair, Tata Consultancy Services
(Main dignitaries by name),
friends, ladies and gentlemen. On behalf of ICC BASIS, I would like to express
my deep pleasure at being here with you all today, and to participate in and
contribute to the CSTD deliberations.
Firstly, I am pleased to
share that ICC BASIS members from companies and associations across sectors
have been actively participating in the important events that took place during
the ‘WSIS week’, starting May 14th.
We also value the unique
opportunity presented by the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) each year for all
stakeholders to come together on an equal footing to discuss Internet policy
matters that affect us all. We were active contributors to the open consultation
and Multistakeholder Advisory Group’s preparatory work last week and look
forward to yet another successful IGF Conference in Baku, Azerbaijan later this
Our BASIS members
appreciate the WSIS week - including both the IGF preparatory meetings and the
WSIS Action Lines Forum - which allowed for business participation in both. We
strongly encourage the continuation of the present schedule of having the IGF
and WSIS Action Lines Forum in one week and the CSTD meetings in the following
week. This truly helps us to schedule ahead and participate. We are sure that
it helps many other stakeholders as well, as we strive to remain sensitive to
limited time and resources.
The WSIS Action Lines Forum
is another important WSIS outcome that provides us an opportunity to exchange
experiences and initiatives that are implementing the WSIS action lines. We
believe all stakeholders benefit from the exchange of action oriented
information and could use the experience of others to implement new initiatives
around the world on issues ranging from e-governance to capacity building. Our
BASIS members were very pleased to participate in this Forum.
On Friday of WSIS week, global
business was also actively engaged in the CSTD’s consultation on ‘enhanced cooperation’.
ICC-BASIS continues to believe that greater
cooperation among existing organizations does not require the creation of new
entities or processes, and that such actions would be counter-productive.
The WSIS - Tunis Agenda, signed by heads of state, recognizes the critical role
of all relevant stakeholders in Internet governance issues.
All efforts to
continue to advance ‘enhanced
cooperation’ should be based on the commitment to openness, inclusiveness,
and outreach. And we believe that governments and international institutions
should ensure their Internet policy related decision-making activities are open
and inclusive to all stakeholders on an equal footing role.
also continue to see, and be impressed, by how ‘Internet access’ is
transforming economies and industries, human societies and individual lives.
Its potential to empower the marginalized, and improve the lives of millions of
people remains undiminished, and it continues to be one of our most important
this context, I would like to share a couple of examples from India – a fast
growing nation, grappling with several challenges and inequities, but where our
government is focused on driving inclusive growth through Internet access.
first example is of ‘DesiCrew’. Desicrew is a ‘rural business process
outsourcing service (BPO)’, based on a pioneering vision to stimulate inclusive
growth. Started as an outcome of the Indian Institute of Technology - Chennai's
Rural Technology Business Incubator cell, this startup company has used
broadband technology to set up BPO service centres in the villages of the state
of Tamil Nadu. A majority of its employees are rural women. In addition to
giving them gainful employment, this company has also given them both computer
and English language skills.
centres today provide BPO Services in areas such as Insurance, Market Research
and e-governance. One of the interesting projects that they undertook was an
e-governance project for the Indian state of Rajastan, involving providing
smart cards to all women statewide.
scheme involved opening bank accounts, providing health insurance, and
disbursing a certain sum of money to all women in the state, who were below the
poverty line. A massive exercise was carried out to collate the names and
details of these women, to get them to sign insurance forms, etc. All the data
was digitized by DesiCrew. In terms of scale of effort, DesiCrew trained over
1,000 professionals, processed 4.1 million forms in English and Hindi,
coordinating 40 data entry centers and scanning centers.
truly remarkable example, in my view, where rural Indian women – hardly an
intuitive segment for such a task - with limited education and limited
resources, have leveraged a vibrant technology platform to help transform the
lives of other rural Indian women.
Another example I would
like to share with you today is that of a Citizens’ Portal called ‘MP Online’.
This is a joint venture between a private player - Tata Consultancy Services –
a company which I serve as Vice Chairman, and the Indian state of Madhya
This portal enables
citizens to avail of a wide variety of government services (such as copies of
land records, forms for professional examinations, birth or death certificates
etc) from designated kiosks of MPOnline, Common Service Centres (CSCs), or
through an individual’s Internet connection.
In a country where citizen services are often
prone to graft and inefficiencies this portal has been very successful in
allowing citizens access to government services from anywhere and at anytime.
It has also won several awards, generated employment, helped build capacity and
motivated IT literacy in the state.
These examples that I have shared with you could
only be possible because the necessary conditions----policy, legal and
regulatory----were in place for such initiatives to take root and flower. These
initiatives became a reality because government, business and all relevant
stakeholders partnered and cooperated towards meeting a common goal, with
measurable social benefits and outcomes.
therefore believe that the multistakeholder approach at the regional, national,
regional and international levels is key to successfully leveraging ICTs and
the Internet for the benefit of the countries’ economies, and for the benefit
of its citizens.