Digital Divide Current Affairs - 2019
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The G20 Digital Economy Ministerial Meeting was held in Salta, Argentina from 23 to 24 August, 2018. It took place as part of Sherpa Track for 2018 G20 Leaders’ Summit, which is to be hosted by Argentina by end of 2018. The theme of the meeting was ‘Building consensus for fair and sustainable development‘. Its three key issues for the agenda were future of work, infrastructure for development, and sustainable food future. It concluded with adaptation of declaration that reflects G20’s commitment towards promoting policies and actions that catalyze digital transformations.
The meeting was attended by 33 heads of delegation- ministers, senior officials and representatives from invited countries and international organizations like EU, UNCTAD, ITU etc. India was represented by Union Minister for Electronics and IT & Law and Justice Ravi Shankar Prasad.
The participating delegates deliberated upon efforts to create conditions that help governments, private sector and civil society maximize benefits and confront challenges posed by technological progress. The other focus areas which were also deliberated included digital inclusion in particular gender divide, digital government, digital infrastructure and measuring digital economy.
Participating G20 member nations agreed to promote policies that will contribute to bridging all forms of digital divide with special attention to digital gender divide. They also agreed to promote digital government and digital infrastructure, strengthen digital skills of workforce, deepen analysis towards digital economy measurement and to share experiences and lesson learned.
Group of Twenty (G20) is premier forum for international economic cooperation and decision-making. It is a forum for governments and central bank governors from 20 major economies to focus on economic issues and other important development challenges.
The G20 comprises of total 19 countries plus European Union (EU), representing 85% of global GDP, 80% of international trade, 65% of world’s population. Its members include Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, India, France, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Turkey, South Africa, UK, US and EU.
It was started in 1999 as meeting of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors in the aftermath of the South-east Asian (Tiger economies) financial crisis. It was established for studying, reviewing, and promoting high-level discussion of policy issues pertaining to the promotion of international financial stability.
In 2008, the first G20 Leaders’ Summit was held in Washington DC, US. Prior to this, it was merely forum for meeting of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors. The group has played key role in responding to the global financial crisis.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has proposed concept of open architecture-based public Wi-Fi grid to bring down the cost of internet by 90%. It is much needed as broadband proliferation across country is important pillar of Digital India and Wi-Fi serves as cheapest option given low cost of equipment and free spectrum.
The Wi-Fi grid or mesh proposed by TRAI entails various providers coming together to address aspects like services, access, payment, and authentication. Its recommendations are backed by findings of pilot project conducted by regulator. TRAI’s pilot and trials were aimed at demonstrating proof of concept of such architecture. It has suggested that any entity – company, proprietorship or non-entities – should easily be able to set up a public Wi-Fi access point.
The latest recommendations of TRAI follow BharatNet project being pursued by Central government that intends to provde Wi-Fi services to village panchayats across the country. Government has completed its first phase and expects the project to be completed by 2019.
Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI)
TRAI is an independent regulator of telecommunications business in India. It was established in 1997 through Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997. TRAI also fixes or revises the tariffs for telecom services in India. TRAI also fixes or revises the tariffs for telecom services in India.