India, US to team up for Digital India initiative

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India and the United States have agreed to collaborate on implementing the ambitious Digital India initiative ahead of American President Barack Obama visit to India.

During the two-day meeting of the US-India Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Working Group, the Indian delegation was led by R S Sharma, Secretary, Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY), and the American side was led by Daniel Sepulveda, State Department Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy.

According to a joint statement, India and the US agreed to continue to explore the opportunities for collaboration on implementing ambitious Digital India initiative with the goal of enhancing digital infrastructure, deploying e-governance and e-services.

They also agreed to expand the diffusion and use of ICT as a tool to expand economic opportunity, boost productivity, create jobs and empower citizens.

The two delegations held extensive discussions on ICT and telecommunication policy issues, focusing on accelerating broadband deployment, aligning spectrum policy for the mobile era and exchanging views on internet governance and best practices in ICT and telecommunications regulatory policy, the statement said.

They also discussed issues relating to international mobility of Indian skilled professionals. Indian officials expressed concerns with regard to mobility of skilled Indian professionals, and agreed that the US Government will continue to engage on visa issues for skilled professionals.

The Indian side also noted the US concerns relating to equipment testing and certification, it said.

Broad agreement was reached on the importance of policies that promote innovation in the ICT sector, facilitate the flow of data across borders and foster the global and open nature of the Internet as a platform for economic growth.

The joint government-and-industry discussions included panels on promoting manufacturing and investment, IT and telecom policy developments, Internet governance, mobility of skilled professionals and other issues related to trade, investment and the ease of doing business.

A panel of non-government experts also shared insights on strategies that may help India achieve the goals outlined in the ‘Make in India’ and ‘Digital India’ initiatives.

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