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India, US to collaborate on ‘Digital India’ initiative

India and the US have agreed to strengthen collaboration between the two governments and the private sector in the field of information and communications technology (ICT) that would help in implementation of the ‘Digital India’ programme.

The meeting of the US-India ICT Working Group, which promotes development in the ICT sector for mutual benefit, was held in Washington Jan 14-15.

Ambassador Daniel A. Sepulveda, coordinator for international communications and information policy at the Department of State, and R.S. Sharma, secretary of the department of electronics and information technology under India’s communications and information technology ministry, led the US and Indian delegations.

The participants agreed to continue discussion of policies that stimulate rapid diffusion and use of ICT products and services and facilitate cross border trade that reduces costs to consumers and businesses.

“In this context, the US side noted the Indian 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. In addition, the Indian side noted the US concerns relating to equipment testing and certification, and agreed to engage on issues relating to equipment testing,” an official statement said.

“The participants agreed to continue to explore the opportunities for collaboration on implementing India’s ambitious ‘Digital India’ initiative, with the goal of enhancing digital infrastructure, deploying e-governance and e-services, and expanding the diffusion and use of ICT as a tool to expand economic opportunity, boost productivity, create jobs, and empower citizens.”

During the two-day meeting, US and Indian government representatives 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.

They also discussed issues relating to the international mobility of Indian skilled professionals.

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.

The US and India plan to hold the next US-India ICT Working Group in India later this year.(IANS)

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