HYDERABAD: At a time when the Indian government is planning to gag social networking websites for posting alleged objectionable content, the visiting UK minister of state for foreign affairs Jeremy Browne emphasized the need to protect freedom of expression and right to privacy in a democracy.
Addressing a two-day workshop for district collectors being organised at the Administrative Staff College here on Wednesday, the UK parliamentarian drew parallels between governance and its challenges in India and his country. “The need to ensure that prosperity is fairly distributed, improving the provision of government services to public and determining the appropriate scope of governance are some challenges faced by both the UK and India,” said Browne, who is on his second visit to Hyderabad.
The importance of technology and its role in decentralising governance was highlighted by the Liberal Democratic Party representative. “In UK, the government has set up a system of e-petitions where anyone can file petitions online about anything for which the government is responsible. If the petition gets one lakh signatures, it becomes eligible for debate in the House of Commons,” he said. He mentioned the Unique Identification Number project of the Indian government as an effective measure to render services to public using technology. The UK minister also spoke of the need to tap into new sources of energy due to soaring prices of petro-products and to incentivise conservation of energy.