Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal has said “India is ready to improve the quality of life of the common through e-Governance services”. His remarks are, in part, due to the fact that India now has 845 million telecom subscribers, and this large subscriber base could potentially use this technological platform to engage with the government through e-Governance services. The next wave of technological progress is to increase the penetration of broadband connections across India which allow for faster connection speeds and would facilitate even more service delivery from the government.

NEW DELHI: Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal has said that ‘India is ready to improve the quality of life of the common through e-Governance services’ with more than 12 million broadband users and a ‘National Broadband Plan’ (aimed to cover all 2,50,000 Village Panchayats) on the anvil.

He said that with 845 million telecom subscribers and a teledensity of over 70 per cent, the Indian society is ready to launch ICTs services for the masses on this platform. With this, India is ready to improve the quality of life of common man through e-Governance services.

Addressing the session on “Working Together Towards 2015” at the High Level Opening Session of World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Geneva, Sibal said that during the past decade, information and communication technologies (ICTs) continued to spread throughout the world, and more and more people have now gained access to the Internet and its wealth of information and applications.

In the developing world, which is still facing infrastructure bottlenecks, mobile phones have revolutionised telecommunicationd and have reached an estimated average 49.5 per cent penetration rate by 2008– from close to zero only ten years ago.

Back in India, mobile tele-density has already jumped from 5.18 per cent in March 2005 to 67.98 per cent in March 2011. Such spread is faster than that of any other technological tool witnessed by human society in recent past. The number of Internet users, on the other hand, has grown at a much slower rate, in particular in the developing world, where at the end of 2007 only 13 out of 100 inhabitants used the traditional means of Internet (PC).

“I strongly believe that ICT could be a powerful tool of development and poverty reduction through empowerment of masses, and of achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Embedding ICT in the overall scheme of governance and public services is so vital for achieving Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) declared by United Nations on 8 September 2000, that we have identified ICTs as part of the MDGs”.

“Broadband connectivity is increasingly being seen as an integral driver of improved socio-economic performance. The Indian Government strongly believes that all citizens of India should have access to broadband and the transformative opportunities it offers. Broadband services empower masses. They allow individuals to access new career and educational opportunities, they help businesses reach new markets and improve efficiency and they enhance the Government’s capacity to deliver critical services like health, banking and commerce to all of its citizens,” said Sibal.