Stakeholders emphasize on the need to improve the policy level to protect the rights of digital consumers
Stakeholders have emphasized that reforms should be made at the policy level to protect the rights of digital consumers. On the occasion of the World Consumer Rights Day on Monday, the speakers who spoke at a program organized by the Nepal Telecommunication Authority said that the rights of digital consumers should be clarified in the law.
In the same way, he stressed that infrastructure development and expansion should be made environment and consumer friendly. In the program organized at Yellow Pagoda Hotel in Kathmandu, various ministries, governing bodies, service providers, consumer rights workers, experts, stakeholders and consumers were present in the program. The program was focused on context.
Arjun Ghimire, director of the Telecommunication Authority, welcomed the presence in the program and said that consumer rights should be talked about not only on World Consumer Rights Day but also on other days.
Member of National Planning Commission as chief guest. Ram Kumar Phuyal said that emphasis should be placed on making the use of technology systematic and consumer-friendly from all sectors including consumers, service providers, producers, controllers.
He said that now that green digital conversion practices are being carried out, now Nepal should also pay attention to this and create programs and emphasize on its implementation from all sides. He has asked for suggestions to include this matter in the upcoming budget and five-year program.
Speaking at the program, Netra Subedi, Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, said that public awareness is necessary to protect the rights of consumers. Subedi also informed that the ministry is drafting new laws and reviewing the existing laws keeping in mind the latest technological developments.
In the program, Jyoti Bania, President of Consumer Interest Rights Forum, said that consumer rights should be talked about throughout the year and said that the complaint process should be made easier. He emphasized that the compulsion to rush to an office in Kathmandu to file a complaint should be removed.
Similarly, while giving his speech in the program, former minister Ganesh Shah expressed the opinion that the World Consumer Rights Day should be celebrated on a week-long basis. Giving an example of increased violence against women with the use of technology, Shah emphasized that consumer awareness should be focused on every local body.
Shah emphasized that the technology should be green and eco-friendly along with AI and 5G, so we should go ahead and plan and work towards it.
2 working papers were also presented in the program. Sudip Acharya, managing director of Dishhome, while presenting a paper on clean digital transition from the point of view of a digital service provider, emphasized on policy reforms.
Acharya mentioned in his presentation that the service providers insist on reusing, recycling and making the technology devices environmentally friendly and policy reform is also necessary in this regard.
Presenting a paper on clean digital transition from the point of view of digital consumers, advocate Pravin Subedi pointed out the need for strict laws to protect personal data, saying that digital pollution has increased. Subedi informed through the presentation that we need to address the issue of content filtering and data privacy immediately.
A panel discussion on ‘Empowering the Consumer through Clean Digital Transition’ was also held in the program. As speakers in the panel discussion, Director of Telecommunication Authority Arjun Ghimire, Deputy Managing Director of Nepal Electricity Authority Tara Pradhan, Director of Nepal Telecom Minu Pradhan, President of Internet Service Providers Association (ISPAN) Sudhir Parajuli and Assistant Professor of Kathmandu University Dr. Sudhamshu Dahal was there.
Speaking in the panel session, Assistant Professor of Kathmandu University Dr. Sudhamshu Dahal said that the laws were not effectively implemented and emphasized on digital education and public awareness.
Arjun Ghimire, director of the authority, said that telecommunication has been used in every sector recently and said that control of digital pollution cannot be done by NTA alone. ‘We have worked as long as the law gives authority to the authority. We have emphasized on co-use of telecommunication infrastructure for digital clean transition,’ he said.
Speaking in the panel discussion, Director of Telecom, Pradhan, held the view that Nepal Telecom has moved forward for the co-use of its infrastructure and that there should be digital cleanliness in physical form.
Stating that infrastructures have been started underground, Tara Pradhan, Deputy Managing Director of Electricity Authority, informed that a subsidiary company is going to be set up under Electricity Authority for co-use of infrastructure. Although work is being done in this direction, it is not easy to organize all the wires, he said.
Likewise, President of ISPAN Parajuli said that there is a need for a separate infrastructure company for the telecommunication sector. He also informed that the internet was blocked due to lack of coordination of the concerned agencies.
Stating that 70 percent of internet problems are caused by consumers, Parajuli said that service providers are emphasizing on the use of clean digital.
In the same program, Director of Information Technology Innovation Center Prof. Dr. Suvarna Shakya, former Executive Director of Local Development Training Institute. Shailendra Giri, Executive Director of National Information Technology Center Pradip Sharma Paudel, General Secretary of CAN Federation Chiranjeevi Adhikari, Former Managing Director of Nepal Telecom Sugat Ratna Kansakar and others were present.
Concluding the program, the chairman of the program and Chairman of Telecommunication Authority, Purushottam Khanal, said that those who pollute should also work to minimize it. Pointing out the need for a framework that works in an integrated manner, Chairman Khanal said that there is a need for public awareness on the rights of digital consumers.
Khanal said that consumers should also be aware of themselves and by strengthening the laws in this regard, consumer rights can be further ensured.
The World Consumer Rights Day, which was started to be celebrated globally on March 15 since 1983, is also being celebrated by organizing various programs in Nepal.
This year’s theme was Clean Energy Transition. Last year, programs were conducted at Fair Digital Finance. Since last year, Nepal Telecommunication Authority has been conducting programs and raising awareness about digital consumption in all seven provinces. The program organized today was coordinated by the Global Spark organization.
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