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Internet Governance Forum- 2019 kicks off in Kathmandu



Kathmandu, Sept 27 : Nepal Internet Government Forum-2019 kicked off in the capital city in a bid to augment the debate and discussion on multifarious issues around the internet.

The national annual event is hosted by the Internet Society Nepal Chapter with the support of dozens of non-government and government institutions.

Bringing together the people working in the policy, research, rights advocacy, cyber security, digital economy, e-governance, data protection, media and regulation, ICT and freedom of expression, among others, the two-day event exchanges knowledge and new development on internet and IT related environment in the country and abroad.

In the inaugural session on Friday, Secretary at the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, Mahendra Man Gurung, said the digital Nepal framework would prepare a base for holistic development of the country.

However, only government efforts are not enough to realize its benefit.”Cooperation and collaboration between government, private sectors and academia is important to boost the internet environment in the country” he stressed.

Secretary Gurung shared that government had recognized ICT as a major pillar of economic growth. Meaningful connectivity is kept in priority, he underlined, pointing out the need to take ICT as a game changer.

Similarly, Chairman of Nepal Telecommunications Authority, Purushottam Khanal, shared the information that 18 broadband projects were underway to connect community schools and hospitals across the country.

He hoped that the expansion of the optical fibre network would complete in two years. However, he informed that Nepal was still low on global ICT index.

Former Minister and Nepal Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) Goodwill Ambassador, Ganesh Shah, urged the government to ensure availability, accessibility and affordability of internet to citizens.

“At a time when the world is undergoing the fourth industrial revolution, Nepal too needs to work much in ICT sector.

If anyone is left behind in the race to the industrial revolution, it would be difficult to take him/her on board,” he stressed, arguing that Nepal spent much on political revolution, so the youths now must engage on digital revolution.

However, Vice-Chairperson of CAN Federation, Sunaina Ghimire Pandey, expressed worry over rising tax on internet, reasoning it would obstruct affordability of internet to citizen. She suggested the government that it brought separate policy to ensure affordability of internet to all people.

ICT expert Manohar Bhattarai also wondered how Nepal would grab the fourth industrial revolution while it missed the agricultural and ICT revolutions.

“Connectivity is the most important indicator of the digital Nepal campaign.

In order to go for 5G and artificial intelligence, Nepal needs to produce skilled human resources,” he suggested.

On the occasion, the people living with disability complained why the digital infrastructures were not built in a disabled- friendly manner.

In the event run on the theme ‘one world, one net, one vision’, Director of the Asia Pacific Regional Bureau of Internet Society, Rajnesh Singh, expressed hope that Nepal IFG would be useful to shape future of internet governance in Nepal.