Minister of state for IT, Communications and Shipping, Milind Deora, hosted a live session Google+ Hangout about the future of IT and Communication in India yesterday. The questions for the Hangout were sourced via the internet – the very medium whose future was discussed during the hour long session.
Beamed live on the Google India+ page, the Hangout saw the minister replying to a volley of questions by the participants belonging from various parts of the country and even some from abroad. The Hangout session was moderated by TV anchor Cyrus Broacha and saw Deora sharing his perspectives on a wide range of topics from tower radiation to content on the Internet, from rural poverty to electoral funding.
Milind Deora in conversation on Google+ Hangouts
Seven individuals from across the globe participated in the Hangout seeking the Minister’s views on various socio-political issues that concern them. Talking about bridging the “digital divide”, Deora, during the Hangout said that as a country we have embraced the wireless telephony, increasing the teledensity to 75 percent in the last decade. He also said that the ministry is working towards bridging the digital divide between urban and rural India by developing infrastructure to ensure that the rural areas of the country usher in a “data revolution”.
Speaking about how the government has realised the importance of social media, the Minister stated that the country has been witnessing more and more of Indian politicians embracing the platform for citizen engagement. The Electronics Service Delivery Bill, currently being tabled in the parliament, will help eliminate the various human interface layers making the government services more accessible to the Indians, Deora said.
Responding to the concern over cell tower radiation, the Minister said that the department will be issuing an advisory to all state governments regarding it. This advisory will ask the governments to create a policy in line with the already existing regime, in order to make sure that everyone adheres to the guidelines. Additionally, the Ministry has already been conducting an India centric study to decide the permissible limits.
In response to another question on the recently launched Central Monitoring System, the Minister said that the system is being set up precisely to safeguard an individual’s privacy and the national security of the country. He also emphasised that the Section 66(a) of the IT Act is being used to proliferate the use of Internet in India.
The Hangout feature of Google+ has become a neat platform for ministers from across portfolios to interact with the youth of India. Earlier, there have been Hangouts sessions with Shashi Tharoor about education in India, with Finance Minister P. Chidambaram regarding the year’s budget session and even with Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Dr. C.P. Joshi, for suggestions regarding safer highways.