World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) is celebrated annually on May 17 to celebrate the foundation of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

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  • This year’s WTISD theme is “Digital Innovation for Sustainable Development”. The purpose of the day is to help raise awareness of the possibilities that the use of the Internet and other information and communication technologies (ICTs) can bring to societies and economies, as well as of ways to bridge the digital divide. 

Background of the Day

  • The day marks the signing of the first International Telegraph Convention in 1865.
  • World Telecommunication Day has been celebrated annually on 17 May since 1969.
  • It was instituted by the Plenipotentiary Conference in Malaga-Torremolinos in 1973 as Resolution 46.
  • In November 2005, the World Summit on the Information Society called upon the UN General Assembly to declare 17 May as World Information Society Day to focus on the importance of ICT.

Significance of WTISD

  • Digital tools and solutions can help make significant progress towards achieving 70% of the targets outlined in the UN Sustainable Development Goals by the year 2030.
  • It provides a forum for discussing the difficulties and possibilities posed by the fast-changing digital world.
  • The day offers the chance to explore how digital innovation can help connect everyone and unlock sustainable prosperity for all. 
  • WTISD 2024 reminds the world of the progress yet to be made to ensure that everyone can benefit from digital technologies. 

India’s Celebration of the Day

  • Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DOT), the premier Telecom R&D Centre of the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), GoI announced the following special Initiatives: –
  • NIDHI:  Under it, the top 10 women-led startups (recognized by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade) will be provided with necessary support including funding and assistance. 
  • STAR Program: Under it, scholarships will be offered to PhD students one each from the top 20 NIRF (National Institute Ranking Framework) ranking engineering institutes.  

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