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IAFI hosts World Telecommunication and Information Society Day

ITU-APT Foundation of India (IAFI) celebrated the World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) on 17th May 2023 by hosting a round table discussion. IAFI is delighted to join with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the global community in celebrating World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD). IAFI recognizes the tremendous impact of information and communication technologies (ICTs) have in shaping our societies and fostering inclusive development.

Every year since 1969, ITU celebrates World Telecommunication and Information Society Day, which marks the founding of ITU on 17 May 1865, when the first International Telegraph Convention was signed in Paris. With each passing year ITU helps to raise awareness of the possibilities that the use of Internet and ICTs can bring to societies and economies.

This year’s theme, “Digital transformation in the Least Developed Countries (LDCs)” highlights a deepening digital divide in the world, which is a reality that threatens to deepen the disparities between countries, particularly the least developed ones. Over the last decade, progress towards closing this gap has been slow, and the world’s least developed countries continue to lag behind in terms of connectivity and access to information and communication technologies.

Speaking during the inaugural of the event, Mr. Bharat Bhatia, President IAFI said that India has made significant strides in its own digital transformation and India is well-positioned to provide support and assistance to the LDC countries in their digital transformation. He elaborated on several ways in which India could contribute to the digital transformation of the least developed countries, for example, India can offer its expertise in building digital infrastructure in LCDs. India has made significant investments in building its digital infrastructure, including fiber-optic networks, data centers, and cloud computing. These investments have enabled India to leapfrog into the digital age, and the country can share its experience and expertise with the least developed countries to help them build their own digital infrastructure. Mr. Bhatia further explained that India can provide capacity building and training programs to help build the skills and knowledge of the workforce in the least developed countries. India has a large pool of skilled IT professionals, and it can leverage this expertise to train and empower the workforce in these countries to participate in the digital economy.

T R Dua, Chairman IAFI and DG DIPA in his welcome address said that India can facilitate partnerships between its own technology companies and those in the least developed countries. India’s technology sector is thriving, and the country is home to several world-class technology companies. By facilitating partnerships between these companies and those in the least developed countries, India can help these countries access the latest technologies and solutions and support them in their digital transformation journey.

Gulab Chand Joint Wireless Advisor, WPC explained the “importance of digital technologies to revolutionize telecom services in the least developed countries.”

Revathi Mannepalli, Member ITU Radio Regulatory board and Joint Wireless Advisor, WPC brought out the importance of digital transformation in the least developed areas of India, which till lag basic connectivity.

An opening message by the Secretary General of the ITU, Ms. Doreen Bogdan Martin emphasized on the fact that “Only 1/3rd population in the least developed countries is connected to the internet, and it is our collective responsibility to connect to support LDC’s on their journey to realize their potential and to achieve prosperity through technology.”

During the event, IAFI also welcomed the new Advisor finance of the DOT Ms. Anuradha Joshi Durgapal and felicitated recently retired Advisor Mr. Shailendra Kumar Mishra. Mr. Mishra has recently been nominated as chairman of the newly created ITU Focus group on costing models for affordable data services in the Asia Pacific Region. He will continue to perform this new role as a member of the IAFI.

The event also put forth a panel discussion on “how India can support the digital transformation in the LDCs” The panel members consisted of DoT officials and industry representatives such as Qualcomm, Ericsson, TCIL and DOT. Qualcomm also explained about an LDC programme that is launched by them known as a wireless outreach programme for Fishermen using the fisher friend’s application with simple mobile connectivity. Smt. Aprajita Sharrma DDG, DoT also expressed her views on LDC and how Financial and Gender inclusion plays a crucial role in the development of LDC’s.

WTISD is an opportunity for the nations to continue to push for digital transformation by promoting national strategies on ICT development, smart policies to encourage investments, cooperation, and partnership. IAFI believes in the deployment of technologies in a software defined network and in taking active participation for the promotion of technology outreach to furthest corners of the country to provide adequate inclusion methods.

CT Bureau

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