Friday, January 14, 2011

MCIT India Needs Overhaul And PMO Scrutiny

Ministry of communication and information technology (MCIT) is one of the most important ministries of Indian government. It consists of department of information technology (DIT), department of telecommunications (DoT) and department of posts (DoP).

Some of the areas that it governs include cyber law, cyber security, e-governance, e-commerce, telecom policies and strategies, spectrum allocation and management, telecom security, e-surveillance, etc.

As can be seen from this partial list, the functions of MCIT are of prime national importance and they deserve the scrutiny of prime minister’s office (PMO). Of course, every ministry/department deserves autonomy and independence so that it can run properly. However, non accountability, lack of transparency and defective policies and decisions can never be considered to be autonomy.

Of late, this is exactly what is happening in the name of autonomy. There is an urgent need that PMO must interfere and seek answers and provide direction to MCIT that is directionless presently.

For instance, we have a criminal friendly cyber law, no cyber security, missing cyber forensics capabilities, failed e-governance projects, surge in endemic e-surveillance activities, bad and anti Indian telecom policies, absence of telecom security, privacy violations through telemarketing, lack of data security and data protection laws, etc.

These are some of the examples that deserve immediate attention of our Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh. Even the Supreme Court does not seem to be happy with the MCIT and on one occasion or other notices are issued to it asking for explanations and answers.

In the present political turmoil and busy schedule of Indian government in general and PMO in particular, this demand of PMO scrutiny may not find favour. However, sooner or later this exercise must be done in the larger interest of India.