Thursday, January 20, 2011

Finally PMO Is Taking Interest In Technological Issues

Technology related issues were kept out of the scrutiny of prime minister’s office for many years. However, after 2G scam it became imperative to have regular and better PMO scrutiny. Now almost all the decisions are referred to PMO and its opinion is sought for those decisions.

The PMO recently directed the department of telecom (DoT) to examine whether 2G licences issued to Etisalat DB and other new players should be cancelled because of security concerns.

Similarly, in a communiqué to the PMO, DoT has proposed the imposition of a penalty between Rs 1 lakh and Rs 2 crore for breaches under different sections of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885.

Now the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh has launched nation-wide mobile number portability (MNP), a service that allows subscribers to change service provider while retaining the number. This may be a beginning of consumer friendly telecom policies in India that was absent till now.

However, one area that is still not touched by PMO pertains to cyber law. There is an urgent need to enact effective and strong cyber laws in India. The present information technology act 2000 (IT Act 2000) is a very weak and cyber criminals friendly legislation.

Another related area pertains to legal enablement of ICT systems in India. This has resulted in a complete failure of use of ICT for legal and judicial purposes in India. Even almost all the e-governance projects of ministry of communication and information technology (MCIT) have failed in the absence of accountability and time bound performance. It would be a good idea if PMO also considers these issues on a priority basis.