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Sterlite pledges mega investment

NAVADHA PANDEY RONENDRA SINGH New Delhi | Updated on January 24, 2018 Published on July 01, 2015

Corporate backing: IT and Communications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad(standing) with (from left) Vedanta’s Anil Agarwal, Reliance ADAG’s AnilAmbani, Tata Group’s Cyrus Mistry and Wipro’s Azim Premji at the launchof Digital India Week, in the capital, on Wednesday - Photo: RAMESH SHARMA

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Vedanta arm ready to commit itself to govt’s Digital India initiative, says top management

Vedanta Group's Sterlite Technologies Limited is planning ₹20,000-25,000 crore worth of projects in a year as part of the Digital India programme. It is also looking at more partnerships, similar to the one with Ericsson, for smart city projects.

“Optic fibre is the most important ingredient for Digital India. The government is ensuring a transparent process, putting everything together and allowing large companies to participate on turnkey basis, I believe, to create this network,” Anil Agarwal, Founder and Chairman of Vedanta Resources Plc, told BusinessLine.

On what kind of investment the company was looking at with respect to the Digital India projects, Agarwal, sharing a ballpark figure, said, “We can execute ₹20,000 to Rs 25,000 crore worth of projects in a year.” The company operates in the areas of optic fibre, fibre optic cables, power conductors and HV / EHV power cables through its operations in India, China and Brazil.

Optic fibre products

As part of BharatNet’s National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN), the company is providing its products in laying optical fibres and will maintain and manage the network for 10 years, said Anand Agarwal, CEO, Sterlite Technologies.

The company makes these fibres at a facility in Aurangabad and another facility in China. From China, it supplies to the country and global markets, while Aurangabad supplies for Indian consumption. “We have 11-12 per cent of the global capacity. We are making the full network for defence forces in J&K,” Anand Agarwal added.

He said, “We have expanded the Aurangabad facility from 12 million kilometres to about 25 million kilometres in the last three years. Our capacity right now is 1.5 times of the Indian demand and it is more than sufficient right now. We will continue to upgrade as and when the demand grows.”

Recently, Sterlite Technologies signed an agreement with Ericsson to work together in driving Smart Sustainable City initiatives in India in line with Government's vision of Digital India.

Anand Agarwal said, “Ericsson is strong in the application area while we are strong in infrastructure sector. There will be many more such collaborations in the future. With respect to smart cities, we are involved in several proofs of concepts and we believe that it is going to be patches which will be developed and then gradually moving to cities.”

Big potential

On whether any synergies can be achieved with laying optical fibres next to gas pipelines, the Sterlite Tech CEO said, “The only synergies can be in right of way. In a greenfield city, fibre, electricity, water, gas, everything will go together. That’s the potential that wherever there is electricity cable going, fibre will need to go along with that. Today less than 2 per cent of the roads in any city have fibre. That needs to be 100 per cent.”

On what return on investment the company expects with respect to Digital India Mission, Anil Agarwal said, “We have not evaluated but normally we expect return on capital at 15 per cent for any project, but more exciting is the technology. Fund is not the constraint. People want simple policy. When we start, we must finish.”

Published on July 01, 2015
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