Expanding its REACH
The New Telecom Policy 2018, expected in near future will ensure quality services at affordable rates. The policy aims to address the current challenges like call drops, giving internet access to masses and a boost to telecom manufacturing, among others.
While addressing the ASSOCHAM's 10th Telecom Summit on August 2, 2017, Ms. Aruna Sundararajan, Chairperson, Telecom Commission and Secretary, Department of Telecommunications said that India is not just following but setting best practices in many areas in terms of New Telecom Policy 2018.
"I think as we go in to the New Telecom Policy, we must remember, it is a part of a much larger vision that the PMand the government have articulated for India because India is attempting to do nothing short of charting a new digital strategy for growth," said Ms. Sundararajan.
She also said that NTP is going to be a key building block in achieving the vision to grow at about 10per cent from current rate of about 7.6 per cent.
She further said that while telecom which contributes about 6.5 per cent to the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) is a huge market which is still tremendously under-penetrated and there is indeed scope to go up significantly.
"But if we look at the larger digital pie as part of India's GDP, today Digital India contributes about 16.5 per cent to the GDP, which is absolutely not trivial from any perspective and it is expected that this may go up to 25 per cent," she said.
Talking about the trillion dollar digital economy, she said that it is almost 25 per cent of India's GDP which we are hoping will be enabled directly by these two sectors - telecom and IT.
"Of the two, telecom is the underlying platform on which digital growth can happen, so it is extremely important to get the policy on this absolutely right" said Ms. Sundararajan.
She also said that providing affordable and quality internet and broadband for all must be the vision, so that every India is enabled to join the economic, political and social mainstream.
Thus it is important to ensure that the requisite investments flow in the telecom sector over next 10-15 years. For this she said it is also imperative to ensure a viable rate of return for industry, progress towards harnessing new technologies, spur innovation, build deep competencies, and accelerate domestic manufacturing and robust cyber security.
Hailing the very progressive and substantive reforms ushered in by the present government in the telecom sector over the last three years, she said "For the first time India now has spectrum available, so that operators are able to step up service and coverage, there have been whole lot of initiatives around ease of doing business, trading, spectrum harmonisation, a number of measures have been taken, on BharatNet there has been very substantive progress, we have already reached optic fibre to one lakh Gram Panchayats and by the end of the year we hope that these Gram Panchayats will actually start delivering services and be lit."
Adding that on all these fronts, there has been good progress, Ms Sundararajan said, "We see the new NTP as part of continuing ease of doing business, of building a Digital India towards achieving the larger vision of a prosperous India."
In his address, Mr. Manoj Sinha, Hon'ble Minister of State C), Ministry of Communications, said, "India has one of the fastest growing telecommunications sector with over 1.1 billion connections. It is the second largest in the world while continuing to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19.6 percent from FY'07-17. Driven by an exponential surge in data consumption in the recent few years, India ranks among top five countries across the world in the highest internet users. The Indian Telecom Market is expected to cross the INR 6.6 trillion revenue mark by the year 2020".
The achievements of the government in the last three years have been phenomenal. The government is catering to all sections of the society, be it pro-poor schemes like "Pradhan Mantri J an Dhan Yojana", which is the world's largest financial inclusion programme, Mudra Bank, Housing for all, or pro-youth as My Gov online, Make in India, Digital India, or pro-development as Smart City program, National Urban Development Mission Skill Development etc. NTP 2018 is also a step in this direction.
"But if we look at the larger digital pie as part of India's GDp, today Digital India contributes about 16.5 per cent to the GDp, which is absolutely not trivial from any perspective and it is expected that this may go up to 25 per cent,"
Mr. Manoj Sinha, Minister of Communication and Ms with Mr. D. S. Rawat, Secretary General, ASSOCHAI National Council on Telecommunications & Converge Prakash Sawhney, Secretary, Ministry of Electronics Telecom Commission & Secretary (T), Department ol>/e ASSOCHAM National Council on Telecommunicatior& National Head, Strategy and Markets, Leader - Tech' Dr. Mani Manimohan, Senior Director, Public Policy, 5 Chairperson, Telecom Commission & Secretary (T), fAa Sharma, Chairman, TRAI Mr. P Balaji, Chairman, AS.C Convergence, Mr. Mritunjay Kapur, Partner and Nsn; Media and Telecom, KPMG in India.
Mr. R. S. Sharma, Chairman, TRAI in discussion with the Industry representatives.