Digital Samvad – Policy Environment for Digital Agenda in Nepal

Digital Samvad - Policy Environment for Digital Agenda in Nepal

May 22, 2020, Kathmandu

Nepalese society had been acquainted with computing technology from the early 1970s. In 2000 (AD), Nepal adopted its first Information Technology (IT) Policy as a concrete milestone to “place Nepal in the global IT map of information revolution with formulating knowledge-based society”.  A lot of hope continues to be pinned on the transformative potentials of digital technologies. As a result, the digital landscape in the country has witnessed pronounced dynamism over the years.

This week on May 23, 2020 (Jestha 10, 2077), the Digital Samvad team plans to host an open discussion on the topic “Policy Environment for Digital Agenda in Nepal”. It strives to transform this forum for initiating this discourse towards developing the digital ecosystem in Nepal through Digital Samvad.

Introduction:

Over the last two decades, Nepal has been attempting to nurture benefits and leapfrog the development challenges with ICTs and innovations. Not least during this current COVID-19 pandemic that seems to have further underscored the importance of functioning and reliable digital platforms and service delivery channels – giving all new meaning to virtualization, online management of critical information, and delivery of essential services.

Marked improvements have been witnessed over the years along some of the key elements of a strong digital ecosystem here in Nepal – connectivity, in general, is on the rise, the digital payments landscape is beginning to take shape, public sector receptivity to ICTs and digital is on the increase and a host of policy frameworks are in place.

The question nonetheless remains, however, does Nepal have a coherent national strategy and an ecosystem conducive to the growth in the adoption of digital technologies in the country? What would it really entail to secure the effective implementation of the Digital Nepal framework with its implied promise of transformation? Can COVID-19 provide a backdrop against which transformative adoption of digital technologies acquires meaningful urgency?

Objective:

In this backdrop, this session of Digital Samvad will attempt to:

  1. Understand the existing status and stocktaking of Nepal’s Digital Agenda and overall policy environment.
  2. Understand how Digital systems can serve a common citizen and proper digitalization to inclusive development.
  3. Creating a foundation for the policy discourse on Digital Agenda in Nepal.
  4. Chart out possible frameworks and mechanisms to enhance the Digital Agenda to a higher priority in Nepal.

The question to be raised/addressed:

  1. Why for some, policies are important instruments for planning however in developing countries like Nepal, policies are often critiqued as an instrument developed by a handful of people who are out of touch with ground reality – especially the execution part creating a serious disconnect.  What seems to be the missing middle?
  2. Why are policies such as digital policies, IT bills never get a chance for a multi-stakeholder discussion though these play an important role in every citizen’s life? Are citizens totally disengaged in policy debates or the Government does not give any heed to it?
  3. Inclusiveness is key to any digital initiative.  How should digital ecosystems handle citizens with no smartphones or who is not educated through digital systems?
  4. What are the mistakes that can be learned from, and not be repeated while aspiring for digital transformation?
  5. Digital Governance ought to be a key focus in defining the digital environment. But, we have deliberately shied away from addressing this issue and have severely limited ourselves to the App development environment without investing in creating building blocks for the digital agenda. How do we get back on the track and in the right direction?
  6. Amidst the current COVID-19 pandemic response and recovery stages, how do we define digital and what does a real digital agenda for Nepal look like?
  7. How can we ensure the development of open digital ecosystems for an open and secure delivery platform anchored by transparent governance mechanisms enabling communities to unlock innovative solutions to transform societal outcomes?
  8. What should be the role of the public sector and the private sector to attract investors and aggregators to build on this foundation?
  9. How do we develop more citizen-centric digital services rather than just financial digital services?

Key Takeaways 

Develop a message that leads to Action on the ground from the Government.           Resource Person/ Contributors:

  1. Mr. Manohar Kumar Bhattarai, ICT Expert
  2. Mr. Birendra Kumar Mishra, Former Joint Secretary, MoCIT
  3. Mr. PurusottamKhanal, Chairperson,  Nepal Telecommunication Authority (NTA)
  4. Mr. Vivek Rana, Enterprise Architect – Digital Systems, InfoAssure Pvt. Ltd.
  5. Ms. Sunaina Pandey, Managing Director, General Technology Pvt. Ltd.
  6. A representative from the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, GoN-  (TBC)

Perspective Participants: (Proposed)

Stakeholders from:

  •  Public Administration
  •  Public Policy Research Institutions
  •  Think Tanks

Representatives from: ICT member-based organizations, Associated Organization, Domain Champions (Better to include organization than names) 

CAN Federation, ISOC, CSRI, npCert, Universities – professors

An open round table on “Policy Environment for Digital Agenda in Nepal” this Saturday, May 23, 2020  (Jestha 10, 2077), from 1:00 – 3:00 PM via Zoom as a Resource Person.

Program Details:
Topic: Digital Samvad – Policy Environment for Digital Agenda in Nepal
Date: May 23, 2020 (Jestha 10, 2077), Saturday
Time: 13:00 – 15:00 (NPT), Zoom Room opens 12:45 PM onwards. Kindly provide your proper display Name and designation/location participating from Zoom.
Venue: Online @ Zoom – https://nren.zoom.us/j/62946712627
Meeting ID: 629 4671 2627

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here