Friday, May 22, 2009

Seminar on ICT Measurement and Indicators concluded in New Delhi

The Indian Department of Information Technology (DIT), in collaboration with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), organized a Seminar on ICT Measurement and Indicators in New Delhi (India) from 12 to 14 May 2009.The Seminar focused on issues related to measurement of ICT access, infrastructure and usage, as well as on the impact of ICT on the society in general, and on business, individuals, governance and education in particular. To take advantage of the rapidly changing information society, governments need to monitor and benchmark progress in order to design and review national policies and strategies. In order to do so, reliable data and indicators on the access and use of ICT, and their impact on development have to be defined and collected. Such data and indicators help governments design and evaluate ICT policies and strategies, compare their ICT developments with those in other countries, and adopt solutions to reduce the digital divide. Different agencies need to work together to identify priority areas, to examine ways of coordinating activities, to maximize available resources and to achieve optimum results. The Seminar was addressed to national ICT policymakers, regulatory agencies, national statistical offices, industry associations and academia. It covered issues related to: indicators for infrastructure and access, households, business, education and e-government; benchmarking the information society; measuring impact; measuring ICT and gender; security and trust in the online environment; statistics on ICT-enabled services; and capacity building for ICT measurement. During the session 'Indicators on ICT in Education' Mr S. Venkataraman, of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS), briefly introduced concepts of information literacy indicators, media development indicators and literacy assessment, as well as the Monitoring Programme (LAMP) of UIS, which are very useful for measuring the information society. The participants of the Seminar extensively consulted the following documents and publications in order to better understand concepts and methodologies:
* Revisions and Additions to the Core List of ICT Indicators. Partnership on Measuring ICT for Development, 2009;
* Manual for Measuring ICT Access and Use by Households and Individuals, International Telecommunication Union, 2009;
* Manual for the Production of Statistics on the Information Economy, revised edition, UNCTAD, 2009;
* Measuring ICT: the Global Status of ICT Indicators, Partnership on Measuring ICT for Development, 2005;
* Measuring the Information Society: The ICT Development Index, International Telecommunication Union, 2009;
* Report of the Partnership on Measuring Information and Communication Technologies for Development: Information and Communications Technology Statistics, Economic and Social Council, 2009. The Seminar provided a platform for national experts, policymakers, practitioners and stakeholders to discuss ICT indicators and topics that are important to national policymaking. The following suggestions were made to improve the availability of ICT statistics in India:
* Harmonising and scaling up statistics available at ministries, national statistical offices and other agencies;
* Bridging the data gap between available statistics and those required by the Revised Core List of ICT Indicators;
* Adapting international statistical tools and guidelines related to gathering, analysing and presenting statistical data;
* Building the capacities at the national level in order to maintain the quality and the reliability of data.

India launches Online Petition for Patent Information

India launches online petition for patent information
T. V. Padma
[NEW DELHI] An Indian online forum dealing with intellectual property rights has launched a petition to Indian patent authorities, calling for more transparency in the country's patent system and for information to be more easily accessible.The online petition was launched this week (28 April). It follows an earlier petition submitted at the end of 2007 following which Indian patent authorities said that the complete database with searchable patent information, including patent specifications and decisions, would be available online by March 2009.But the deadline was not been met, prompting the new petition, Shamnad Basheer — a professor in intellectual property law at the National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata, who initiated the petition — told SciDev.Net.The second petition calls for more patent-related information to be made public. This includes all correspondence between a patent applicant and the patent office; clear patent titles and abstracts; patent office circulars that impact patentability; corresponding patent applications elsewhere; and amendments made by the applicant from time to time to address issues raised by opponents challenging a patent.A key piece of information being sought by the petition relates to 'working' statements — whether a firm that has been granted a patent for a drug is actually making the drug — which are supposed to be filed by the patentee with the Indian patent office. According to Indian patent laws a firm that has been granted a patent for a drug in India must also make it in India for the next three years. Otherwise the drug is eligible for compulsory licensing.This information is often withheld while filing an application, says Basheer. "Since most of the drug patents in India are by MNCs [multinational corporations] and many of these patents are not 'worked' in India (the patented drug is not manufactured in India, but only imported into India), many of these patents become susceptible to compulsory licenses," he says. The groups are also requesting that the Indian government build public-private partnerships with the ICT sector in India to build a better e-filing system and other innovative ICT tools to aid a more efficient administration of the Indian patent office.Basheer says the petition attracted 100 signatories after the first day, including patent attorneys, pharmaceutical companies, students from the Carnegie Mellon Institute and the Max Planck Institute, and global not-for-profit organisations such as the Initiative for Medicines, Access and Knowledge that promotes technical assistance on IPR issues to governments, campaigns against unsound pharmaceutical patents and promotes access to drugs.

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