Will formulate forward-looking policies to sustain telecom growth: PM

Manmohan Singh also emphasised on the need for promoting domestic telecom equipment manufacturing and R&D in the sector.

hidden December 07, 2011 11:47:05 IST
Will formulate forward-looking policies to sustain telecom growth: PM

New Delhi: Amid telecom operators seeking lower levies and early resolution of a dispute over 3G roaming, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said the government will look into their concerns and formulate forward-looking policies to sustain growth in the sector.

"I am aware of some concerns of the telecom industry regarding government policy in the telecom sector. I wish to reassure the industry of the government's full commitment to sustainable growth, creativity and enterprise in this vitally important sector of our economy," he said, inaugurating the India Telecom Summit here.

Will formulate forwardlooking policies to sustain telecom growth PM

Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters

Singh's statement comes in the backdrop of a recent meeting of the CEOs of top telecom firms, including Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Reliance Communications, seeking his intervention to sort out differences between them and the Telecom Ministry over issues ranging from one-time spectrum charges to 3G roaming and a uniform licence fee.

Noting that the two National Telecom Policies of 1994 and 1999 were major initiatives to propel growth in the sector, the prime minister said the government is working on the NTP-2011 with a special emphasis on affordable and quality telecom services in rural and remote areas of the country.

At the same time, he asked the industry to look ahead in giving a new sense of momentum to the sector. He also emphasised on the need for promoting domestic telecom equipment manufacturing and R&D in the sector.

The India Telecom Summit is organised jointly by the Telecom Ministry and industry chamber Ficci.

India's telecom sector is one of the fastest growing in the world, he said, adding, "Keeping in view strategic and security interests, there is an urgent need to give impetus to domestic R&D and manufacturing in the telecom sector."

"A thriving telecom manufacturing industry would have a large positive impact on many other elements of the electronics manufacturing value chain, apart from generating other benefits like additional employment," the prime minister said.

He added that the government is committed to achieving success in this vital sector of the country's economy.

"We will work closely with all stakeholders to build upon what we have achieved," he said.

Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal, while unveiling the draft National Telecom Policy-2011 (NTP-2011) in October, had set a target for meeting 80 percent of the India's telecom sector requirement for equipment through domestic manufacturing by 2020.

As per the draft NTP-2011, domestic telecom equipment demand is estimated to be of the order of Rs 2.5 lakh crore by the end of 12th Five-Year Plan (2012-2017).

According to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, only 12-13 percent of all locally made products produced with the aid of foreign vendors in 2009-10 were used in the sector.

However, purely India-made products formed just 3 percent of the total market, as the Indian telecom sector is largely dependent on imports.

Speaking at the event, Sibal said, "The Indian telecom sector will require an investment of Rs 6.5 trillion in the next five years."

He added that a stable policy regime and regulatory environment helped the telecom sector shine in the Indian economy.

PTI

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