Working groups on new telecom policy this week: Ministry

PTI New Delhi | Updated on January 09, 2018 Published on August 02, 2017


The Communications Ministry will this week set up working groups to give inputs on the new telecom policy, which will seek to fuel India’s growth and raise the digital contribution to the overall economy, a senior official said today.

Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan said that the following discussions with the industry and academia over broad contours of the new policy recently, working groups will now be set up to look at multiple aspects like ease of doing business and new technologies.

“The working groups will now start...the orders will be out this week. Initially, we had thought of 11 working groups but we may compress the number of such groups,” Sundararajan said on the sidelines of a telecom conference organised by Assocham. She said the groups will work on aspects such as ease of doing business, affordable internet and broadband for all, new technologies and other areas for the new policy.

“Today, India is trying to see how to step up growth from 7.6 per cent...our aspiration is to grow at about 10 per cent. So what are the set of policies needed for making that transition. That is the bigger question,” she said at the event.

Stating that the new policy will be a key building block in achieving India’s vision, Sundararajan termed telecom the fundamental platform for digital growth of the country. “So it is extremely important that we get the policy on this absolutely right,” she added.

She stressed on aspects like affordable and quality internet and broadband which will be crucial in enabling people to join economic, political and social mainstream. Other aspects that will be looked at include ensuring investment inflows, viable rate of return for the industry, harnessing new technologies, encouraging innovation, domestic manufacturing and cyber security.

Sundararajan said Bharat Net project had already taken connectivity to one lakh villages, and hoped that service delivery on the platform will start in those Gram Panchayats by the year end. “We see the telecom policy as part of the continuum of ease of doing business, of building digital India and achieving larger vision of a prosperous India,” she added.

Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha said technologies such as health monitors and smart transport are projected to result in 21 per cent increase in machine-to-machine services. “These advances will result in significant growth of mobile data, and telecom operators will have to look at innovative avenues to monetise on this data opportunity,” he said.

He stated that the government is working “aggressively” to link 54,000 unconnected villages and the they will speed up efforts after getting report from all the states in this regard.

Noting the shift from voice to data-centric market, the minister said although voice still contributes a large chunk to operators’ revenue, data realisations have shown an “exponential growth”.

Published on August 02, 2017
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