‘India must follow strategic approach to protect telecom ecosystem’

New Delhi | Updated on July 16, 2021

Should consider engaging in technology transfer

India must follow an inclusive and strategic approach to protect its telecom ecosystem, without compromising on the growth of markets, or the enthusiasm for flagship schemes which can give impetus to private investments, Telecom Equipment and Services Export Promotion Council (TEPC) has said.

“To this end, India can do well by obtaining technology transfer from friendly countries instead of going for research and development work. Further, the government needs to incentivise the domestic telecom industry by giving various benefits like PLI, Make-in-India and tax benefits, so that Indian industries can compete with Chinese,” Sandeep Aggarwal, Chairman TEPC, told BusinessLine.

Telecom exports

Aggarwal recently took over as the Chairman TEPC, set up by the government to promote and develop export of telecom equipment and services. TEPC plays a critical role in furtherance of telecom export from India and assists Indian member companies in easy facilitation of their respective exports.

Its members include Bharti Airtel, BSNL, MTNL, Ericsson India, Nokia Solutions India, Foxconn India, Lava Mobiles and Nokia India.

On the latest Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme for telecom and networking products, which was approved by the Cabinet with an outlay of ₹12,195 crore, Aggarwal said the industry feels that the government should ensure reservation for procurement of ‘Made In India’ products for domestic consumption.


“We have also requested the government to include specialised service sectors like submarine cable laying and maintenance under the PLI. We have also demanded extension of tax benefits for telecom industries covered by PLI scheme,” he said.

Through this policy, India will move towards self-reliance and by incentivising large scale manufacturing in India, domestic value addition will increase gradually. Provision of higher incentive to micro, small and medium enterprises will encourage domestic telecom manufacturers to become part of the global supply chain, he said.

Talking about BharatNet project, wherein the PM had announced to connect six-lakh villages in 1,000 days on August 15, last year, Aggarwal said that to make this a success the government should ensure that free right-of-way for laying the cable is provided.

“Wherever possible, a separate dedicated corridor should be earmarked for the BharatNet. Domestic companies need to produce the optical fibre cables and the related telecom equipment to decrease dependency on imports. The government should implement it on turnkey basis and maintenance agencies need to be finalised in advance for faster execution of the project. The core transmission network also needs to be upgraded,” he added.

The Cabinet on July 1 had approved public private partnership mode for the rollout of BharatNet project in 16 States with viability gap funding of ₹19,041 crore.

Published on July 16, 2021

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