Communications and IT Minister Kapil Sibal has joined a small but growing list of high profile politicians who have decided to engage with their constituencies in cyberspace.
On Friday, Mr. Sibal launched his website, which, he says, will be “interactive and a source of exchanging ideas.” The Minister also plans to use other social media instruments in the future to engage with stakeholders, who have questions about the working of his ministries on the one hand, and political constituencies and his voters, on the other.
Mr. Sibal has been regularly emphasising the need for and increased engagement with multi-stakeholder groups including the private sector, civil society, the academia and technical communities in the decision-making process on various issues related to Internet governance, both within India and at an international level.
The National Telecom Policy released in 2012, and the Cyber Security Policy released earlier this year were products of online consultation launched by the Communications Ministry. At a recent conference held in New Delhi, Mr. Sibal said that inter-governmental solutions for Internet governance or regulating the Net can’t work given the lack of agreement and difference in ideologies between governments themselves.
Speaking exclusively to The Hindu, Mr. Sibal emphasised that stakeholders “like the private sector play a far more important role than the government in cyberspace. The multi-stakeholder model of Internet governance in the 21st century is exceptionally important, because a vast majority of the infrastructure and services, including government services, are provided, or will be provided, via the private sector.” He argued that if the government’s objective was to empower people, then “while making decisions it must not just recognise the significance of the private sector, but also take into account its input as a part of a multi-stakeholder process”.
Mr. Sibal believes that civil society is equally important. “Issues will be raised and solutions will come from the civil society, and interaction between government and civil society will increase exponentially.”