December 21, 2005
E-commerce in India never took off in the way in which policy makers intended. Apart from the abyssmally poor internet penetration (3.5% of the population), no-one really wanted to buy televisions and refrigerators over the internet when they could haggle a better deal with Kaku Seth from down the road.
But everyone who is using the internet is reasonably pleased with the way things are working out. No-one, in my personal acquaintance has ever felt that the lack of digital signatures has held him back from experiencing the web in full. I have not and I use many more e-commerce services than the average Joe.
Still, every now and then the issue of India’s Information Technology Act and the lacunae in its digital signature provisions are brought up. In Part II of his series on online shopping, Leslie D’Monte has quoted Pavan Duggal as saying that our legal infrastructure cannot cope with projected growth because we have too few digital signatures. I wish they would let this lie. I have seen no evidence to suggest that the use of a digital signature has helped curb the rise of identity theft or made the net a safer place to be. I am happy to be corrected.
December 6, 2005
There appears to be a storm brewing over the Government of Andhra Pradesh’s attempt to introduce e-procurement into its tendering process. Granted the news of the “scam” is being broken by someone engaged in the same space and who is quite evidently an interested party, there is some merit in the arguments made. However, all the blame can hardly be foisted on the Government of AP. Much of what is being questioned revolves around the shoddy implementation of the Information Technology Act, 2000 and the gaps in the certification process.