The National Planning Commission (NPC) is nearing completion of an Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) strategy, which comes alongside a separate Information Technology policy being drafted by the Ministry of Science and Technology.
The NPC strategy focuses on six sub-themes: human resources development, information and communication infrastructure, e-commerce, e-governance, universal access to information and software development and production.
It seeks to address two major goals-using the available means to tackle Nepal's widespread poverty and the creation of an environment conducive to the emerging needs of the communications and information technology sector, says
Rameshananda Vaidya, NPC member.
Among the approaches suggested one would make information and communication technology widely available, first to institutions such as schools, hospitals, etc, and then to local communities and eventually to families. "That's the only way we can avoid creating another digital divide within the country," says Vaidya.
NPC Vice-Chairman Prithvi Raj Legal tried to brush off charges that there was lack of co-ordination between NPC and the Ministry of Science and Technology, saying the two documents would complement each other. IDRC-Canada and the Kathmandu-based International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) provided financial support for the preparation of the strategy.