BRICS draws action plan for cooperation in ICT arena

Bengaluru, Nov 11 (IANS) The BRICS Ministers of Communications, as the five-member association of the emerging national economies, on Friday drew an action plan to institutionalise cooperation in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) arena.

“The action plan envisages digital partnership to institutionalise cooperation in ICT through identifiable goals and objectives for developing knowledge societies in the group,” said a communique issued after the second meeting of the BRICS Communications Ministers in this tech hub.

Briefing the media on the two-day meeting in which Communication Ministers of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) participated, Union Minister of State for Communications Manoj Sinha said the group had decided to take forward the theme of the Goa declaration at the 8th BRICS summit in Panaji on October 15-16.

“In accordance with the theme of the Goa declaration, the members have decided to adopt Building Responsive, Inclusive and Collective Solutions (BRICS) in the ICT arena,” Sinha told reporters after the meeting.

Endorsing the working group’s ICT development agenda and the action plan, the meeting has decided to develop content in local languages and enhance digital skill sets for participation in the digital economy.

“We need to enhance the ICT research and development (R&D) expenditure to develop multiple paths for innovation and new technologies for value addition in exports and generate employment for youth,” asserted Sinha, who chaired the summit as India heads the 8th summit this year.

Asserting that joint efforts in new mobile technologies offered immense potential for the members to strengthen cooperation, Sinha said the world was characterised by an increase in the volume of information flows, which can be observed in industry, commerce, finance, banking, health and education and public administration.

“New technologies and applications through IoTs (Internet of Thins) and M2M (Machine to Machine) provide opportunity for collaboration to drive programmes under various sectors in line with the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) and objectives of WSIS (World Summit of the Information Society),” said Sinha.

The ministers agreed to support openness of internet where businesses, citizens, and governments can innovate and develop services and applications to empower people and society.

“We recognise that it is critical to develop trust and security in the use of ICTs, services and applications to enable their widespread use while protecting privacy and consumer rights,” the communique reiterated.

Observing that the ICT framework had become a great facilitator and source of collaboration in connecting individuals, organisations and governments to translate ideas and opportunities, the meeting recognised the role of ICT in improving the quality of life and governance for its citizens.

“We encourage joint efforts toward promoting e-government systems among members and stress the catalytic role of digital economy in all sectors, including health, education, transport, commerce, entertainment and power,” added Sinha.

Communication Ministers Andre Muller Borges of Brazil, Nikolay Nikiforov of Russia, Liu Lihua of China and Siyabonga Cyprian Cwele of South Africa participated in the meeting.

The first meeting of the BRICS ICT was held at Ufa in Russia on July 8-9, 2015 and the third meeting will be held in China in 2017.