New Delhi, August 2, 2017: India is not just following but setting best practices in many areas in terms of New Telecom Policy 2018, Ms Aruna Sundararajan, chairperson, Telecom Commission and secretary, Department of Telecommunications said at an ASSOCHAM event held in New Delhi today.
“I think as we go in to the New Telecom Policy, we must remember, is part of a much larger vision that the PM and 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 addressing the 10th ASSOCHAM Summit.
“This is something where India is in many areas is actually ahead of the rest of the world,” said the Telecom secretary.
She also said that NTP is going to be a key building block in achieving the vision to grow at about 10 per cent from current rate of about 7.6 per cent.
“What is the set of policies that need to be put in place for us to be able to make that transition that is the larger question,” said Ms Sundararajan.
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.”