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Regulatory priorities for driving India s digital agenda

Though internet users are increasing in urban centres it is yet to reach a vast majority of people living in villages

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Everyone supports net neutrality but all have their own definitions of the issue, said Arvind Gupta, National Technology Head, BJP during a debate at the Digital Bharat conference in New Delhi.

Speaking at the two-day event organized by FICCI, Gupta said the content on Internet should reach all. “Given the unique circumstances in India, we need to create a new definition of ‘Net Neutrality’, by which all the stakeholders are benefited. There should be no discrimination between access, cost, speed and content,” said Gupta.

Mahesh Uppal, director of ComFirst also said that net should be neutral.Though internet users are increasing in urban centres, it is yet to reach a vast majority of people living in villages. Focusing on this, Rajat Mukarji of Idea Cellular said ‘the real question to be asked is how are we going to take internet to rural India.’ “The Net Neutrality Debate will remain in discussion because it is an amorphous and growing organism that defies definition. Many more conversations are needed to reach a consensus. At FICCI we would be happy to create the environment for a healthy debate,” said Mukarji.

The discussion should focus on increasing internet reach, said Rajesh Chharia, president, ISPAI.
NASSCOM president R Chandrashekhar held the view that the user should have the unfettered right to what he wants to see. “The debate on Net Neutrality is complex because it involves commercial, innovation, rights, security and other dimensions which may sometimes be conflicting. It is important in the Indian Context to address this issue, keeping in mind the imperatives of unshackling innovation in IT and preserving viability of broadband infrastructure,” said Chandrashekhar.

Sanjay Goyal of ACL Mobile Ltd said, “The more you try to control the net, the more the problems will be.”Earlier, delivering the keynote address at the session titled “Regulatory priorities for driving India’s digital agenda’, former TRAI chairman Rahul Khullar spelt out the challenges for the government in its digital drive. “There are institutional problems. The digital projects should not see the fate as we have done to other services like healthcare in the last 60 years. He also said digital targets should be realistic, so that they can be completed on time.

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