A policy window is about to open

Introduction & overview
Rohan Samarajiva
Policy windows
• “Unpredictable openings in the policy process
that create the possibility for influence over
the direction and outcome of that process.”
• “These windows sometimes open regularly
(e.g., cabinet shuffles and budget speeches),
but who makes successful use of them or not
is a matter of chance and skill.”
– Kingdon, John W. 1995. Agendas, Alternatives, and Public
Policies, 2nd ed. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan
When broadband decided an election:
Australia 2010
• Hung Parliament
• Three independents decided who won
• One each went to contending parties; third
went to Labor solely on basis of broadband
policies  broadband decided who formed
the government
Internet/broadband continued as election
issue: Australia Liberal position 2013
Relevant excerpts from Aam Aadmi
Party manifesto
• Creating world-class infrastructure, in both urban
and rural areas, for ensuring a dynamic economy;
participation of private sector in infrastructure
• We will promote the use of information
technology to promote transparency and reduce
corruption in government functioning.
• Use technology and e-governance to extensively
administer all government services.
Indian National Congress
• The Indian National Congress will give a renewed
thrust to use of Information and Communication
Technology (ICT). Under the Indian National Congress’s
leadership, the country is moving towards
transformation through ‘Democratisation of
Information’. Efforts are underway to use ICT tools to
herald transparency, efficiency . . . In fields such as
agriculture, financial services, commerce, education
and health, this ICT-led Democratisation of Information
is revolutionising service delivery, citizen interface and
accountability through innovative practices. New tools
under this will be the biggest game changer for
bringing about larger systems reform.
• The Indian National Congress will connect all
2.5 lakh Gram Panchayats with high-speed
broadband connectivity within 18 months,
with a view of improving public delivery
mechanism. The vision is to transform
governance and service delivery in areas such
as health, education and agriculture, and
unleash local innovation capacity.
Bharatiya Janata Party
• BJP aims to nurture a Digital India - making every household and every
individual digitally empowered. Information Technology has made it
possible to make information and services reach to the ordinary men
and women even in remote areas, easily and effectively. Availability of
information is the key to empowerment of the stakeholders. This also
reduces the scope for discretion and manipulation.
• We will:
– focus on increasing the penetration and usage of broadband across
the country. Deployment of broadband in every village would be a
thrust area.
– leverage technology for e-Governance and engage proactively with
the people through social media for participative governance and
effective public grievance redressal mechanism.
Selected excerpts
• Would set up Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) and virtual
classrooms to make it convenient for working class people and
housewives to further their knowledge and qualifications.
• Use technology to reduce the burden of books on children. Make all
institutions and schools e-enabled in a phased manner. Digital
learning and training to be used extensively.
• Pursue a mission mode project under the 'National Rural Internet
and Technology Mission' for use of telemedicine and mobile
healthcare for rural healthcare delivery; use of IT for agriculture for
real-time information; Self Help Groups; retail trade and SMEs; and
rural entrepreneurs, etc.
• Initiate a National e-Governance Plan to cover every Government
office from the centre to the panchayats. The 'E-Gram, Vishwa
Gram' scheme in Gujarat to be implemented nationwide.
• All parties want to use e-based services
• All agree e-connectivity is essential
• Can they assume broadband will be available
to all?
• After the election, policy window will open for
deciding best ways to deliver adequate e
connectivity to 1.2 billion people
“Evidence” will be in demand
• Other country experiences, e.g.,
– Broadband initiatives from Australia, Malaysia,
– Mexico’s plan for common use of 700MHz band
• Policy relevant research from India, e.g.,
– App economy
Just-in-time, when you need it
How developed
• Using LIRNEasia expertise and Ford Foundation support
• Improved through expert input (e.g., at Expert Forum on 12 March
2014 in New Delhi)
– Arvind Kumar (Advisor, Networks, Spectrum and Licensing Division,
Telecom Regulatory Authority of India)
– Jaipal Singh Tomar (Joint Advisor, Telecom Regulatory Authority of
– Sanjeev Banzal (Advisor Networks, Spectrum & Licensing, Telecom
Regulatory Authority of India)
– Rajendra Kumar (Joint-Secretary (e-Gov), Department of Electronics
and Information Technology, Govt. of India)
– K. K. Minocha (Deputy Director General (Broadband) Universal Service
Obligation Fund)
– Anil Bhargava (Director Operations, Bharat Broadband Network
– Bijoyananda Mishra (Chief General Manager (Tech & Mktg) Bharat
Broadband Network Limited)
– Bukhari Yahya (Head Broadband Strategy, Malaysian Communication and
Media Commission)
– Mohd Faizal Nizam (Malaysian Communication and Media Commission)
– Reg Coutts (Member Australian Communications and Media Authority)
– Satyen Gupta (Secretary General, NGN Forum, India)
– Payal Malik (Competition Commission of India)
– Harishankar Thayyil Jagadeesh (Economist, Competition Commission
– Sunil Abraham (Executive Director, Centre for Internet and Society)
– Tushar Kanti Roy (Director, Business Development, Opterna)
– Ravina Aggarwal (Program Officer for Media Access and Rights, Ford
– Deepak Maheshwari (Public Policy Professional)
– Martin Cave (Deputy Chairman, Competition Commission, UK)
– Ernesto Flores (Associate Researcher, Centro de Investigacion y
Docenia Economicas - CIDE, Mexico)
– Rajat Kathuria (Director and Chief Executive at Indian Council for
Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER))
– Sugandha Srivastav (Junior Consultant for the Indian Council for
Research on International Economic Relations ICRIER)
– Vignesh Illavarasan (Associate Professor, Indian Institute of Technology
– Ibrahim Kholilul Rohman (Research Fellow, European Commission Joint
Research Centre)
– Rohan Samarajiva (Chair, LIRNEasia)
– Sabina Fernando (Research Fellow, LIRNEasia)
– Roshanthi Lucas Gunaratne (Research Manager, LIRNEasia)

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