Policy briefs

This paper was contributed for a report prepared for the United Nations Global Alliance for ICT and Development (UN GAID) Global Forum on Access and Connectivity in least developed countries and small islands developing states in Asia/Pacific and innovative financing mechanisms for ICTD, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on 18-20 May 2008. This paper explores the meanings of women's empowerment and gender equality in the information society, looking at the opportunity for progressive change and critically unpacking the ICTD discourse on gender and development.

This policy brief was originally prepared as an expert input for the 'Regional Conference on Delivering Social Protection to Unorganised Workers', held in Bengaluru (India) in November 2010, and organised by the Department of Labour (Government of Karnataka) and GTZ (Germany). It explores the different ways in which Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) are used in social protection systems in India. It then builds upon different models to advocate for the transformative use of ICTs for social protection which would be community-centred rather than based on tactical choices.

India is known as an IT powerhouse but still has the largest number of poor people in any country in the world. India’s experience with policies for digital inclusion may thus offer some useful lessons for other developing countries. This policy brief looks at a range of initiatives in India including the ambitious Common Service Centres (CSCs) scheme of the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP). It looks at the challenges faced by the scheme in ensuring the delivery of development services in a socially inclusive manner using this infrastructure.

A number of state education departments in India are launching computer learning programmes in schools. The predominant model for this programme is to outsource the entire program to vendors. However a few states like Kerala have successfully in-sourced this program, by building in-house capacities to conduct this programme. This paper discusses outsourced versus integrated models in this area, drawing from our research in two states of India.

This paper is a contribution to the Second Administrative Reforms Commission on 'Citizen Centric Governance'. The paper introduces e-governance in the Indian context and provides suggestions both from the strategic level to implementation on how the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) can improve governance and service delivery. This document was made possible through research support by the PAN ASIA programme of UNDP-APDIP and IDRC (Canada).

IT for Change was at the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) Ministerial Meeting on 'The Future of the Internet Economy', an event held in June 2008 in Seoul (Korea). Parminder Jeet Singh was a panelist on the Civil Society - Organised Labour Forum on a policy round-table titled 'The future of the Internet: The human and political dimension', where he spoke about the democratic deficit in global Internet policy making.

IT for Change (ITfC) submitted a solicited paper on the role of Common Services Centres (CSCs) to the e-governance division of the Department of Information Technology of the Government of India. The paper briefly examines the CSC model of employing ICTs for community development, wherein one telecentre is being set up in every 6 villages around the country in a public private partnership (PPP) model.

The Department of Public Instruction, Government of Karnataka and Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India, have initiated a public software based ICT education programme imed at all the high schools of the state. This entire programme, including the classroom training, has been outsourced. However, preliminary implementation suggests that vendors are finding it challenging to impart an ICT based education in the selected schools.