May 26, 2020, Kathmandu
Center for Cyber Security Research and Innovation (CSRI) handed over a letter to the Ministry of Finance on May 25 (Monday). The presented letter comprises suggestions on government policies, programs, and budget in the field of cybersecurity. CSRI wishes to go hand in hand with all kinds of cybersecurity and Information Technology programs that need attention in the immediate, medium, and long term.
General Secretary of CSRI Nepal, Er. Shaligram Parajuli handed over the letter to the respected Secretary – Ministry of Finance, Mr. Shishir Dhungana. Other receivers include IT consultant to the Prime Minister of Nepal, Er. Asgar Ali and PM Development Advisor, Er. Gajendra Thapaliya.
From the very beginning, the association has been focusing to develop a resilient cybersecurity framework in Nepal. Immediate Past President of CSRI, Mr. Chiranjibi Adhikari says, “This organization was found to enhance research in cyberspace and develop a cybersecurity framework in Nepal. In association with the government, CSRI aims to address cybersecurity issues in Nepal and deliver quick responses against cyber threats.”
Newly appointed President of CSRI Nepal, Prof. Dr. Subarna Shakya prioritizes to develop a national cybersecurity think tank and advise the government regarding policies, plans, and budget in the ICT and cybersecurity sectors. The major aim is to turn research into reality in the field of cybersecurity of Nepal.
Proposed Policy Programs by CSRI Nepal
To formulate and implement policies required for a detailed program related to the Digital Nepal Framework concept
The Digital Nepal Framework is a blueprint that provides a roadmap to lead the nation to solve challenges and prosper with digital initiatives. Eight sectors – digital foundation, agriculture, health, education, energy, tourism, finance, and urban infrastructure have been identified under the framework.
To conduct training, seminars, exhibitions and public awareness programs for skill development
Similarly, it focuses on prioritizing awareness campaigns and skill-development training on a policy level and hardcore technical level. CSRI is ready to contribute to research, awareness, and consultation for industry, entrepreneurs, and public and government organizations. Seminar and workshops are important for the reform of ICT policy and strategy.
To conduct Knowledge Transfer Programs in collaboration with National and International Coordination on Information Technology and Cyber Security
Coordination and collaboration with government and non-government national and international institutions regarding cybersecurity are also deemed important.
Implementing a program to prepare security experts in the concept of Cyber Army
There are plans to prepare around one thousand security experts in the concept of Cyber Army by making policy arrangements related to the use of information technology and cybersecurity. It is urgent to deal with growing cybercrime in the nation. In association with the government and other cybersecurity organizations, CSRI hopes to deliver immediate response against cyberthreats.
To conduct studies, research, and publication related to cybersecurity
It is important to speed up studies, research, and publication related to cybersecurity. Turning these into reality and acting upon them comes next.
To prepare robust/resilient infrastructure and implement infrastructure co-use policy
Developing resilient infrastructure for cybersecurity and data privacy has always been a priority for CSRI.
Implementing all preparation programs for the development and use of the latest technology
In an advancing world, Nepal needs to be ready with the latest tech to remain competent in cybersecurity. For this, CSRI suggests conducting preparation programs for the development of technologies like 4G/5G, IoT, Cloud Computing, Big data, AI, NG Technology, Digital Transactions, and Cashless society. Similarly, to establish a secure E-governance system using cloud computing technology, optimum budget allocation is necessary.
To bring organizations working in the field together with the concept of cybersecurity research innovation hub
CSRI suggests promoting it as a center of cybersecurity research innovation hub. Also, to enhance quick and effective collaboration, implementing the concept of cybersecurity research innovation hub will bring all organizations working in the field together.
Industry Automation Program: Health, Education, Agro and other industries
Conducting industry automation programs with app development on health, education, and agro is also mentioned. Consequently, it uplifts standards for employment and income generation.
To establish a low skill, high skill labor bank under a large organization
In addition, establishing low skill and high skill labor banks under a large organization is vital with the capacity to manage its records using information technology. The government needs to monitor this labor bank as well.
Planning of agriculture and IT village
Planning of agriculture and ICT industrial village concept from the government for the IT-based industry is another point of advice. Similarly, arranging production for internal and external use comes next.
To cooperate with IT and agro-industry for job creation and income generation
The ICT and agro-industry are two of the most financially stable sectors in Nepal The government should cooperate with these industries for job creation and income generation.
To make a qualitative leap in the security situation of Nepal by equipping the Nepal Army with High Tech
Government policies should also include making a qualitative leap in the security situation of Nepal. For this, ample research is essential to make cutting edge technologies available under the disposal of the Nepal Army.
Implement robust/resilient ICT infrastructure preparation program
Likewise, it proposes budget provision for resilient ICT infrastructure and proper investment in the health and education sector.
To operate at least one large hospital and educational institute with high-quality information technology in every province
Plans addressing the operation of such large institutes equipped with high-quality resources in every province are crucial. It facilitates both the centralization and dissemination of technology and resources effectively.
To implement quality tracing, tracking, and treatment systems
Quality tracing, tracking, and treatment systems are important to make a quality leap in health and education. For this, setting and implementing standards including cybersecurity is urgent.
To implement the Presidential Educational Restructuring Program for Capacity Building, Public Awareness, and Innovation
It is another area that needs attention from the government while allocating budget and preparing policies in the field. It is urgent to address, not only digital online education but secure digital learning with highly secured internet services. The promotion programs for this involve software development, training, high-speed internet, and ICT lab.
To establish the National IT Security Council for regular ICT Sector monitoring and regulation
Likewise, CSRI requests to release funds to establish a National IT Security Council for regular ICT Sector monitoring and regulation.
To establish a local seed/food business bank equipped with information technology
Establishment of online monitorable food/seed bank, innovation center, integrated MIS, and marketing in each local body.
Implementing a single door system with IT to regularly monitor and regulate activities including land purchase and sale
Land purchases and sales can also be monitored and regulated by implementing a single door system. Moreover, the establishment of ICT embedded single-window service centers for national and international investors will be essential.
To develop and implement a government mechanism to address cybersecurity issues through URL tracking
To avoid cybersecurity concerns, CSRI suggests implementing a government mechanism to provide the URL of VPN’s destination/source. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) should be capable of tracking such URLs in case of cybersecurity emergencies.
Implement Broadband Internet penetration program at all local levels including health and education sectors
Likewise, it urges to implement a Broadband Internet penetration program. There is still room for improvement when it comes to broadband internet in Nepal. In fact, the total broadband penetration is around 72 percent (according to NTA). The mobile broadband penetration among this is about 55 percent.
To integrate national identity cards, bank accounts, and mobile SIM cards
CSRI also requests on maintaining transparency in all monetary transactions by integrating national identity cards, bank accounts, and mobile SIM cards. Furthermore, cashless transactions and secure online payment should involve more research and standardization.
To prepare research guidelines for adequate research, to arrange the budget for its standardization and to conduct programs
CSRI requests to arrange a budget for its standardization and to conduct programs. The establishment of the “National IT Security Council” will facilitate this task.
To implement Integrated Secured Citizen Apps and Secure E-passport
Finally, it also advises on implementing integrated secured citizen apps and E-passport. Also, secure online transactions and E-Governance implementation programs should also be a priority. With the right focus in enhancing broadband internet facilities, access to government services through the internet will be accessible from any part of the nation.