Saturday, May 2, 2009

Political Agendas, Lies And Gullible Indians

Indian elections drama is once again unfolding. Political parties are covering all the aspects of economic development as well as launch pads of political mileage. What is surprising is that the issues covered by these agendas and manifestos are so broad and important that no political party of India can give effect to them at all. All of us are aware that not even 10% of these promises would see the light of the day. Still Indian population is gullible in nature and we would give our future in the hands of those who least care for us for another 5 years. The fact remains that neither BJP nor Congress can move away from their traditional political promises as they have been used time and again to fool Indians. I would not go into the details of all the promises, agendas and manifestos but would confine myself to those issues that cover Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

While BJP has come up with an IT Agenda, Congress seems to be indifferent towards ICT once again. The truth of these agendas and manifestos cannot be ascertained till we are made fool once again by a collation government. However, there are some very absurd events taking place in India in the meanwhile.

Firstly, the Parliament of India passed the Information Technology Amendment Bill, 2008 (Bill 2008) without any debate or discussion. All laws, including the Bill, 2008, are prima facie unconstitutional but neither our Judiciary nor the President of India found any problems with that. The Bill 2008 got President’s approval on 5th February, 2009 without the President even thinking once about its ill effects. Except Mr. Praveen Dalal none seems to have protested about this situation. Fortunately, as a result of this the proposed Bill 2008 seems to have been “withdrawn”.

Secondly, ICT must be used as a tool of development rather than as a means of harassment. Excessive and illegal e-surveillance eliminates the chances of effective use of ICT on the one hand and operates as an opponent of e-governance on the other. E-governance presupposes a free, fair and transparent public dealing in the cyberspace. Of late India has been treading on the wrong path of becoming an excessive surveillance State rather being a technology knowledge driven society. The recent example of mandating the e-mail companies to maintain their e-mail servers in India is a very novice decision. It only shows the ignorance about cyber security and ICT management issues in India. It is not clear whether Congress led government has come up with this idea or it is a work of government departments like Department of Information Technology (DIT) or Department of Telecommunications (DOT). Whoever has suggested this idea has no knowledge how Internet works and cyber security is ensured.

India needs good legal framework for technology, sound cyber security and effective cyber forensics expertise. The fill in gaps actions would only ridicule India in front of the entire world. It would be better if India come up with good ICT strategies and policies that are not only sensible but also possible to be implemented.