Internet Inclusion: Advancing Solutions — Delhi

An outcome of the 13 April 2016 Global Connect Stakeholders: Advancing Solutions event—where 150+ engineers, scientists, development professionals, industry leaders and others from an array of technology and industry domains globally gathered with global policy experts in Washington, DC, USA to explore real-world opportunities that exist now to extend affordable internet access in underdeveloped and underserved communities and regions—was to hold similar events in other regions or countries around the world. The intent of such events is to provide a platform for a deeper dive into challenges, barriers, and opportunities to hasten efforts to connect the unconnected within the local context and perspective.

To fulfill this outcome and intent, IEEE will be hosting an event in India involving government officials and leaders from development banks, industry, the technical community, NGOs/CSOs, and others in a day of collaborative development across industry sectors, technology domains and disciplines, generations, and cultures. There is a need to continue the trend from vertical development to cross-functional collaborative development, and to bring stakeholders together to discuss synergies and overlaps, strengthen cross-sector and cross-discipline collaboration, and identify new approaches and resources to advancing solutions.

This full-day event will feature interactive discussion and working sessions with a focus on finding sustainable solutions and models for digital inclusion as framed by the ambitious Digital India program, envisioned by the Prime Minister Modi. The framework of discussions would include:

  • Connectivity: Infrastructure, equipment, tools, and software
  • Capacity: Trained professionals and well-informed end users
  • Community: Peoples’ needs and potential for innovation
  • Content: Local language and relevance to local needs and use
  • Finance: Investment in infrastructure, capacity building, education, local content development, etc.
  • Conducive Policy and Regulation: Supporting a framework for affordable and ubiquitous internet access, an enabler for economic and social inclusion
  • Technology: Affordable, user-friendly, and accessible

The event focuses on the integration of advancing solutions for internet access and adoption via:

  • Effective and open coordination and interaction
  • Sharing of knowledge, experiences, and resources
  • Exploration of synergies
  • Identification of gaps and overlaps
  • Development of collaborative approaches

Download the Agenda

Download the Executive Summary

Download the IIAS Delhi, India, 15 September 2016 Report

Watch Event Videos

For more information contact Mary Lynne Nielsen.




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20 September 2016 - Internet Inclusion: Advancing Solutions India - hosted by IEEE found government officials and leaders from development banks, industry, the technical community, NGOs/CSOs, and others, address the need to continue the trend from vertical development to cross-functional collaborative development, and to bring stakeholders together to discuss synergies and overlaps. Delivering the keynote address, US Ambassador to India, Richard Verma, spoke about the common challenges that the United States and India face, addressing disruptions brought on by the digital revolution…




Javed Abid

Javed Abid

Mr. Abidi is a pioneer of the cross-disability movement in India, having founded the Disabled Rights Group in 1993 to work specifically on cross-disability issues. Mr. Abidi was instrumental in setting up the National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP) in 1996 and has been its director since 1997. Mr. Abidi is also the convener of the National Disability Network, India.

As an impassioned advocate of “Nothing About Us, Without Us,” Mr. Abidi has given voice to an "invisible minority"—a voice that has been denied to them for decades—by catalyzing path-breaking changes in the policy and legislative spaces. As the global chair of Disabled People’s International (DPI), Mr. Abidi has successfully focused the world’s attention on the needs of people with disabilities in the global south. Under his leadership, DPI hosted the Global Forum on Disability, the first and only such initiative for voices so far unheard in the global disability movement. Mr. Abidi has also been instrumental in promoting cross-disability civil society participation from the global south at multi-lateral platforms, such as the Conference of State Parties to the CRPD.


Parry Aftab

Parry Aftab

Parry Aftab was one of the first cyberlawyers in the world. Since 1995 she has advised social network, digital game, mobile, and internet platform leaders on digital best practices, privacy, safety, and risk management. Parry created the world’s first cybersafety help group, now known as WiredSafety, and StopCyberbullying Global. She is a member of Facebook’s and MTV;s advisory board and a recipient of the FBI’s Director’s Award, the RCMP’s Child Recovery Award, and the White House President’s Service Award and was appointed by UNESCO to oversee its internet crimes against children effort for North America.

As the IEEE-featured SXSW Privacy by Design speaker in 2015, she shared best practice pointers with the audience. Now, as the founder of the new Indian trust, Cybersafety India, she is creating the first national cybersafety program for India in 31 languages, all 29 states, and in both urban and the most rural locations: all pro bono, all Indian values, and all free.


Dr. Sarbani Banerjee Belur

Dr. Sarbani Banerjee Belur

Dr. Sarbani Banerjee Belur holds a PhD in demography from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. She earned a MA in Sociology from the University of Hyderabad. Currently she is a Senior Project Research Scientist in the TV White Space project at the Department of Electrical Engineering, IIT Bombay. Prior to this, she was a visiting research fellow at Indira Gandhi Institute for Development Research (IGIDR), Mumbai and Future Ideas, Mumbai. She has also taught courses in Sociology and development as a guest lecturer at IIT Bombay and Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai.

She has been published through international conferences, contributed book chapters, and authored a book on the topics of demography and social issues. Her current work involves increasing digital outreach to remote and rural areas of India, deploying new technology alternatives for the middle- and last-mile internet connectivity, and developing sustainable models supporting public-private-panchayat-partnership (4-P model).


Leslie D'Monte

Leslie D'Monte

A journalist with over two decades, specializing in technology and science writing, Leslie D’Monte has worked with leading media groups like HT Media Ltd. (Mint), Business Standard, The Times of India, The Indian Express, Jasubhai media group, and ZdNet India (now part of the CBS media group).

He is currently National Technology Editor of Mint, the business publication of HT Media Ltd.  It is the second-largest English financial newspaper in India. Leslie is also part of Mint’s Leadership team.

He was an MIT Knight Science Journalism Fellow (2010-11) and in his other avatars, he is the curator and liaison for global and local speakers for EmTech India—an iconic platform where science, technology, business, and culture converge. The event is co-hosted by Mint and MIT Technology Review. Leslie also has moderated panels for many events in India, including those conducted by Mint, Cebit, National Geographic, Nasscom, and Assocham.


Parag Kar

Parag Kar

Parag Kar is Vice President, Government Affairs of Qualcomm India and South Asia and has been the company’s key regulatory and policy interface for the Indian subcontinent and the region since January 2005.

His role includes forging lasting relationships with regulators, industry, and the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), apart from helping establish Qualcomm’s leadership position as a pioneer and innovator in mobile wireless technologies globally and in India by creating a sphere of influence among key government, industry, media, and civil society champions.

Mr. Kar is a key member of Qualcomm India’s leadership team and works closely with all stakeholders to realize the company’s vision to take the benefits of mobile broadband to a larger base of Indian consumers, in particular to a billion Indians and beyond with advanced mobile wireless technologies like 3G and LTE.

Mr. Kar has over 20 years of experience in the telecommunications industry. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in electronics and telecommunication engineering from the Regional Engineering College Bhopal and a Master’s degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi. As an expert and thought leader in the industry, Mr. Kar is also quoted extensively by key media and has written in several newspapers and magazines.


Lalitesh Katragadda

Lalitesh Katragadda

Lalitesh is a pioneer in crowdsourcing and building products for the underserved. His creation, Google Map Maker, tripled the world's digital maps corpus, mapping 2 billion people in 187 countries. The UN and aid agencies have used these user-generated maps to assist and rescue millions.

Lalitesh is now focused on India’s nation building as the founder of Swaja Labs, Indihood, as an architect of Digital India’s Open API and AP Government’s Fiber Grid.

Lalitesh received his PhD and MS from CMU in Robotics and Computer Science; a MS from Design Division, Stanford, as well as a MS in Aerospace, Iowa State; and a B-Tech from IIT-Bombay.


Deepak Maheshwari

Deepak Maheshwari

Deepak Maheshwari is director of government affairs for Symantec across India and ASEAN region. A public policy and regulatory affairs professional, he has a keen interest in the interplay of technological innovation with socio-economic development. An oft-invited speaker, author and columnist, he has played a pivotal role in evolution and development of Internet policy and digital ecosystem as an industry spokesperson and thought leader. He served two consecutive terms as elected secretary of ISP Association of India (ISPAI) and co-founded the National Internet eXchange of India (NIXI). He is a charter member of IEEE Experts in Technology and chairs the BSA Asia-Pacific Policy Committee.  An engineering graduate from Indian Institute of Technology as well as a law graduate, he has previously worked with Microsoft, MasterCard, HCL and Sify.


Osama Manzar

Osama Manzar

Osama Manzar, founder and director of Digital Empowerment Foundation and chair of Manthan and mBillionth awards

Mr. Osama Manzar is an entrepreneur, author, speaker, editor, columnist, and new media specialist who is spearheading the mission to overcome the information barrier between India's rural sector and the so-called developed society through Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF), the not-for-profit organization founded to accomplish the mission.


karen mccabe

Karen McCabe

At IEEE, Karen McCabe leads efforts to build and connect communities working in the technology policy ecosystem and where her focus is on the development and promotion of collaborative strategies that produce impactful outcomes among mulit-stakeholders to help advance technology for society and humanity benefit. Karen has over 20 years experience working at the nexus of mission-driven organizations, industry, NGO and government bodies to raise awareness, to educate and build capacity among stakeholders in the technology sphere. 

Through her career, Karen has focused on projects and initiatives to expand global footprint, build communities, develop and execute integrated communications and global outreach programs and build and nurture relationships.  During the last 20 years, Karen has held various leadership and senior management positions in the technology sector, with a specific focus in the global standards and technology development domain that is rooted in openness, transparency and inclusiveness. After graduating from Kean University, degreed in Communications, Ms. McCabe initiated her career working in the engineering and technology space as a communications professional.

Today, Ms. McCabe is engaged in efforts in Internet governance, ethics and technology and global standards in trade and policy. Ms. McCabe is a member of the OECD Internet Technical Advisory and the Internet Society, and works with an array of organizations and bodies to connect technologists, industry leaders and policy makers.


Rajat Mukarji

Rajat Mukarji

Rajat Mukarji is the Chief Corporate Affairs Officer of IDEA Cellular Limited and has been with the company since its inception in late 1995, when he joined the erstwhile Birla AT&T. Since then he has headed various functions in marketing, business development, and customer operations, before taking charge of corporate affairs in 2003.

In a career spanning over 30 years, he has witnessed the hurly-burly of the telecom regulatory environment in India, and he is happy to have been part of the continued growth in the sector.

As the head of corporate affairs and the company spokesperson, Mr. Mukarji is responsible for managing the company’s relationships with external stakeholders such as government departments; regulators; media; and industry bodies such as COAI, GSMA, FICCI, etc.


Dr. Shashank Ojha

Dr. Shashank Ojha

Dr. Shashank Ojha heads the ICT GP/e-Government team of the World Bank in India and is a Senior e-Government Specialist with the Transport and ICT Global Practice of the World Bank. He specializes in the areas of project finance, ICT policy & reforms, and management of technology adoption projects. He has been involved in policy and advisory support to over fifty ICT/e-Government projects in India, the Middle East, and the South Asia region. He has also been responsible for the finance, country portfolio management, and information technology functions within the World Bank. He holds a doctorate in Business Administration and is a Chartered Accountant from India. Before joining the World Bank, Dr. Ojha worked as a senior management consultant with Ernst & Young and as general manager-corporate finance with National Panasonic Group.


Deepa Prahalad

Deepa Prahalad

Deepa Prahalad is an author and innovation/design strategy consultant with an emphasis on emerging markets and social innovation. She has worked with start-ups and large multinationals, and she researched and co-authored the book Predictable Magic: Unleash The Power of Design Strategy to Transform Your Business, which was selected by Fast Company as one of the “Best Design Books of the Year.” She is also a frequent blogger for The Huffington Post, Harvard Business Review, and other magazines.

Deepa has a BA in economics and political science from the University of Michigan and an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. She also mentors social entrepreneurs and serves on the advisory boards of the Global Peter Drucker Forum and Arogya World, among others. She is an elected member of the International Academy of Management and the Center for Digital Transformation at University of California (Irvine) and was ranked #34 on the inaugural Thinkers 50 India list.


Shailendra Kumar Sharma

Shailendra Kumar Sharma

Shailendra Kumar Sharma has had rich and varied experiences in the telecom field, covering operations, planning, development, and management of telecom services coupled with design and sales and distribution of telecom products. He has worked in different capacities for more than 30 years in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab. He is currently Deputy Director, General Cyber Security for TEC, DOT in the government of India.

In his current role and with his work in the telecom field for the last 30 years. Mr. Sharma is well versed with the developments in this field and also with the aims and objectives of India national telecom policies.

Mr. Sharma received his BE (with honors) in electronics and electrical engineering as well as his Msc (with honors ) in physics from BITS Pilani in 1983, followed by an MBA in financial management in 2007 and a PG Diploma in international business operations from IGNOU in 2011. Mr. Sharma is also holds a certificate of proficiency in French from the School of Foreign Languages, Ministry of Defense.


Richard Verma

Richard Verma

Richard Verma serves as the 25th United States Ambassador to India. Ambassador Verma oversees one of the largest US missions in the world, including four consulates across India and nearly every agency of the US government.

As a former Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs in the Obama Administration, he led the US State Department’s efforts on Capitol Hill and served as a senior member of Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton’s team.

Ambassador Verma previously worked in the US Senate as the Senior National Security Advisor to the US Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, and in the US House of Representatives for the longtime Chair of the Defense Appropriations Committee, Jack Murtha. He is veteran of the US Air Force, where he served on active duty as a Judge Advocate.

The Ambassador has had a distinguished career in the private sector, serving as partner at the global law firm of Steptoe & Johnson LLP, and as a senior counselor to the Albright Stonebridge Group. His practice focused on international law and regulatory issues, with a specialization in Asia and emerging markets.

Ambassador Verma is the recipient of the US State Department's Distinguished Service Award, the US Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellowship, and was ranked by India Abroad as one of the 50 most influential Indian Americans. His military decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal and Air Force Commendation Medal. Ambassador Verma holds degrees from the Georgetown University Law Center (LLM), American University's Washington College of Law (JD), and Lehigh University (BS).