Thursday, July 6, 2017

2068QB3. IT policy has recently been revised in 2010. Explain the major amendments and focus areas stated in the revised IT-policy.

Major Amendments


  1. Announce IT as primary sector and make it practical use in official and non-official works
  2. Establish knowledge-based industries
  3. Support E-Governance
  4. Motivate to establish and operate Electronic Hardware Technology Park (EHTP)
  5. Expand and improve wireless network nation-wide
  6. Improve GIS, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information System

Focused Areas in IT Policy 2010

  • Outsourcing of IT enabled services, business outsources, remote maintenance and other concerned e-services
  • IT for e-governance and agencies that deal with health, education and businesses 
  • Intellectual  Property rights, e-trade, e-commerce, VOIP, security and data protection, wireless networks, broadband data network and free and open source software

ICT Policy 2015 and Way Forward

Meanwhile, the Government announced ICT Policy 2015 under Minister of Information and Communication which as a good features including the features of IT Policy 2010 too. The Policy has included the part of Information Communication too. But afterwards, as per the Cabinet's decision, the main implementing agency - Department of Information Technology departed from MoIC and the ICT Policy is owned by MoIC and there is no an implementing agency for IT. Hence, now the ICT Policy 2015 is like orphan and need either new organizational structure in the government or still new IT Policy needs to announce soon.

Videos





Reference Materials

ICT Policy 2015 (2072 BS)

IT Policy 2010 (2067 BS)

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Article: Relations between levels of government in a federal set up in Nepal

1. Legal perspective

USA: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by itto the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” (residual powers). Residual powersare with Federal level in Nepal

Download full article here


2. History/evolution/culture perspective

Important to look at how federalism has evolved in the country. In the US, for example, states are very powerful as they has come together to form the federation. Based on the US SC judgement, states can even secede if allowed by other states. 

There are “born federations” (states have together to form a Union), “created federations” (federalism has been adopted after wide participation of people and informed debates among them, or “imposed federations” (federalism introduced without enough preparation in terms of public debate and ownership).

3. Factors influencing inter-governmental relations include:

  • Constitutional/legal arrangements
  • Historical, cultural factors imp. for debate on federalism
  • Fiscal aspects/sources of revenue

These relations could be vertical (center and provinces) or horizontal (between provinces or other sub-national governments) 

It’s important to recognize that the relationship is influenced by three fundamental assumptions about the nature of center vs sub-national governments:
  • Center-dominated/hierarchical relations
  • Parallel/dual relations (center and states have clearly defined, non-hierachical powers)
  • Cooperative relations (where governments at different levels are required to cooperate)

4. Others (administrative etc)

Relationship between government agencies in multi-tier government is affected by several factors. Five of them are critical in the context of Nepal:

Information gap:  Information gaps between different levels of government can affect the design and implementation of public policy. Reluctance to share information proactively characterises both national and sub-national governments. For example, the national level does not share knowledge of the strategic picture. On the hand, the sub-national levels do not share their knowledge of what is happening on the ground. This tendency can affect both vertical and horizontal relationships.

Capacity gap: Different levels of government face capacity challenges in terms of human, financial, skills-based or infrastructure resources. Nepal’s history of centralised government has rendered sub-national governments weak and often unable to even exercise their legal powers.  There are persistent problems at the national level with regard to the capacity to manage relationships; coordinating policy approaches; allocating responsibilities/resources to relevant actors; innovating business processes; and managing risks.  

Fiscal gap: Shared understanding is often difficult to reach the sub-national government with regard to its  own revenues and their expenditure responsibilities (even if the constitution   defines a basic framework for this). Intergovernmental transfers (vertical or horizontal) can result in financial dependence for the sub-national level. On the other hand, the central government will have to depend on sub-national levels to deliver more and increasingly costly services so that both national and sub-national priorities could be delivered. 

Administrative relationships: The functions and responsibilities of the federal, provincial, and local governments are only notionally separate from each other. Functionally, all three levels have to interact with each other and work jointly to solve common problems. This requires joint planning and decision-making among all levels of government under what is referred to as “creative federalism”.  In practice, however, conflicts over jurisdictions affect relationships requiring, sometimes, legislative interventions for clarity of roles and responsibilities. 

Coordination in fundamental policies: Inconsistency between national policy initiatives and sub-national policy priorities makes policy coherence a challenging task. Intergovernmental relations can be strengthened by adopting a framework for division of labour in policy-making where each level sees itself as a policy partner with other levels of government.   

5. How these challenges could be addressed?

Legal arrangements: Legislation can be used to allocate competencies between levels of government. Where the constitution has already done this, legislation can be used to elaborate on constitutional provisions. Besides, resources for competencies devolved to provincial or local levels would have to be mandated through legislation. National legislation would also be required for human resources management in the public sector. For example, Spain’s Basic Statue for Public Employees requires all three levels of government to cooperate on human resources management. In Chile, the creation and elimination of civil service posts can only be done against arrangements specified in national legislation.  The Netherlands Law on Mutual Agreements regulates cooperation between sub-national authorities (e.g., Municipalities, Provinces). Brazil has similar legislative arrangements in place (e.g., Law on Consortiums).  Promotion of e-government across all tiers of government is mandated by national legislation in Austria, Hungary and Portugal). 

Service standards: In a federal set-up, it is important to establish the same level of service quality across all levels of government. National standards are especially important for essential public services such as health, education, or water. The   constitution provides for responsibilities regarding standards for important services at the federal level. But these need to be defined collaboratively between national and provincial levels. Given significant technical capacity needed for standards setting, a central body may have to be formed to promote and regulate compliance in relevant sectors. (eg. Food Safety and Standards Authority of India).

Inter-governmental contracts: The term ‘inter-governmental contract’ encompasses a large category of arrangements agreed between levels of government to achieve coordination within a federation. They may be transactional (where roles of all levels are specified in advance) or relational (where contracting parties agree to cooperate and then to design mechanisms). In many federations, the design of new government programmes requires collaboration between the federal and provincial levels. Inter-governmental subject-specific contracts   are becoming increasingly popular. In the USA, for example, 46 states have signed the ‘compact for education’ to provide for a common education policy forum. In Australia, combating terrorism is covered by a ‘compact’ between the federal and state levels.  In India, the use of shared water resources is often governed by interstate contracts (e.g., Upper Yamuna River Board). German governments have signed agreements to determine the number and distribution of university places for prospective students. 

Coordination mechanism: Political bodies such as Chief Ministers’ Conference (Canada), Policy Commission (India), Conference of the Heads of Governments of the Federation and the States (Germany) help to promote collaboration and co-operation between levels of government. They can also be a key factor for building capacity, disseminating knowledge, and sharing good practice at the sub-national level. Besides, they can act as forums for overcoming communication/information gaps and also coordinate and monitor multi-level initiatives and projects. 

Benchmarking (for performance): This is another tool used to improve the functionality of institutional arrangements at the national or sub-national level. At the outset, a limited number of sectors could be identified for measuring performance against pre-determined indicators. Examples of sectors are education, health, employment, or public security. One major advantage of performance measurement is that it enables meaningful comparisons of the performance of governments at all levels creating opportunities for mutual learning and experience sharing. This can also help to build capacity of weaker parties. However, the system involves some risks in terms of focus on quantity as opposed to the quality of services.

6. In Nepal:

The Constitution Part 20 elaborates on this:
  • Federal directives to be carried out
  • Provincial governments may be dissolved (federal rule)
  • Horizontal cooperation between provinces
  • Federal level will give instructions through provinces
  • There will be a dispute resolution mechanism consisting of PM, Home Minister, FM and Chief Minister

We should also note that there are two major drivers of federalism: identity and development performance. In discussions dominated by identity considerations, development performance does not always get the right profile. On the other hand, research on federalism/decentralization shows that federalism is no guaranteed for good development results. It is an opportunity (instrument) which will have to used properly to achieve good development outcomes. 

These issues need to be taken into account in shaping intergovernmental relations in a federal set up

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

2068QB5. Explain the Web Standards as explained by renowned International Organizations.

Web standards are the formal, non-proprietary standards and other technical specifications that define and describe aspects of the World Wide Web. In recent years, the term has been more frequently associated with the trend of endorsing a set of standardized best practices for building web sites, and a philosophy of web design and development that includes those methods.




Web standards include many interdependent standards and specifications, some of which govern aspects of the Internet, not just the World Wide Web. Even when not web-focused, such standards directly or indirectly affect the development and administration of web sites and web services. Considerations include the interoperability, accessibility and usability of web pages and web sites.

Web standards, in the broader sense, consist of the following:
  • Recommendations published by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) 
  • Internet Standard (STD) documents published by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)
  • Request for Comments (RFC) documents published by the Internet Engineering Task Force 
  • Standards published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 
  • Standards published by Ecma International (formerly ECMA) 
  • The Unicode Standard and various Unicode Technical Reports (UTRs) published by the Unicode Consortium
  • Name and number registries maintained by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) 

Common Usage

When a web site or web page is described as complying with web standards, it usually means that the site or page has valid HTML, CSS and JavaScript. The HTML should also meet accessibility and semantic guidelines. Full standard compliance also covers proper settings for character encoding, valid RSS or valid Atom news feed, valid RDF, valid metadata, valid XML, valid object embedding, valid script embedding, browser- and resolution-independent codes, and proper server settings.

When web standards are discussed, the following publications are typically seen as foundational:
  • Recommendations for markup languages, such as Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), Extensible Hypertext Markup Language (XHTML), Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG), and XForms, from W3C.
  • Recommendations for stylesheets, especially Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), from W3C.
  • Standards for ECMAScript, more commonly JavaScript, from Ecma International.
  • Recommendations for Document Object Models (DOM), from W3C.
  • Properly formed names and addresses for the page and all other resources referenced from it (URIs), based upon RFC 2396, from IETF. 
  • Proper use of HTTP and MIME to deliver the page, return data from it and to request other resources referenced in it, based on RFC 2616, from IETF. 

Web accessibility is normally based upon the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines[11] published by the W3C's Web Accessibility Initiative.

Work in the W3C toward the Semantic Web is currently focused by publications related to the Resource Description Framework (RDF), Gleaning Resource Descriptions from Dialects of Languages (GRDDL) and Web Ontology Language (OWL).

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