Starting October 20, 2021, India will host its first-ever ‘Internet Governance Forum’, an Internet Governance policy discussion platform, which aims to bring together representatives from various platforms to discuss internet policy issues.
Announcing the launch of the forum in a press conference, Anil Kumar Jain, the CEO, National Internet Exchange of India (NIXI) and the Chairman of Coordination Committee, India Internet Governance Forum 2021 (IIGF) said the forum will be planned for three days in October this year.
The coordination committee of India Internet Governance 2021 features Anil Kumar Jain as Chairman, TV Ramchandran as Vice-Chairman, Jaijeet Bhattacharya as Vice Chairman, Dr Rajat Moona as Vice-Chairman and approximately 12 members representing Government, Civil Society, Industries, Trust, Associations etc.
Scheduled between October 20 – 22, this year, the theme of the forum is ‘Inclusive Internet for Digital India’. With more than 10,000 expected participants, the 3-day event will conduct over 25 workshops in domains such as Digital Economy, Digital Governance, Trust, Security, Stability, Sustainability, among others.
With this announcement, the Indian chapter of the United Nations-based forum namely the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) has begun. The Indian Internet Governance Forum will work towards bringing various stakeholders together from different groups, considering all at par to discuss public policy issues related to the Internet.
The prime objective of the forum is to generate discussions about policy formation related to the Internet. Further, the forum will also become a starting point for identifying something that retards or halts the free movement and progress of Internet policies and trying to resolve this one by one.
The multi-stakeholder model of Internet
The multistakeholder model of Internet governance is referred to as the best mechanism for maintaining an open, resilient, and secure Internet as it is informed by a broad foundation of interested parties.
This mode of engagement has been the imperative feature for the Internet’s success and the concept is well adopted by IGF (Internet Governance Forum) under United Nations and by Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).
“India is the second-largest broadband subscription country in the world and also has the highest data consumption per user per month. Therefore, the aspirations of the Indians should be reflected in International policy formation and stakeholder discussion,” the Chairman of Coordination Committee Anil Kumar Jain informed during the announcement of the forum.
As per the IIGF website, as a region with enormous internet economy potential (800 million Internet users and over 1.2 billion mobile users), India comes with the most diverse internet-related stakeholders and issues (e.g. cybersecurity, net neutrality, online rights, youth, and digital innovation).
In a global setting, following such a need to include, consider, and invite these stakeholders’ perspectives, the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) initiated the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in 2006 and has since been holding the Forum annually.
Further, starting August 2021, multiple Pre-IIGF engagement events will be conducted at several colleges and universities, as a precursor to the IIGF 2021. The idea behind this is to engage the youth and students for their participation in the October event and prepare the next generation to be part of policy formation.