Prime Minister of India Dr. Singh, Mr. Sibal, Dr. Killi, Mr. Chandrashekar, Dr. A Didar Singh (Secretary General, FICCI)
DOT officials, Members of FICCI and Industry, Distinguished Guests,
I would like to welcome you all to the India Telecom Inaugural Ceremony and would like to congratulate the organizers – FICCI and DoT – for setting a pertinent agenda for India Telecom 2012, titled “New Policy Framework: Envisioning the next Telecom Revolution”. I am especially grateful to our Prime Minister for consenting to be here and for setting the agenda for this year’s deliberations.
India’s telecommunications sector is still at a nascent stage in its development. I say this because although almost 80% of our country has access to voice services, we are continuously evolving, both in terms of a policy and technological framework.
The UPA Government has taken important decisions to provide impetus and stability to the sector. Some of these have been outlined in NTP 2012, which aims to achieve 100 % rural teledensity and broadband for all villages and habitations by 2020. To achieve this, we are working with industry to make high-speed internet available to all Indians, regardless of where they live, their economic background, how old they are or which language they speak.
The Government is simplifying the existing licensing regime by moving towards a Unified License, establishing a simplified M&A policy and ensuring that adequate spectrum gets allocated transparently, through market dynamics. We also want to incentivize telecom equipment manufacturing in India in order to create employment opportunities and increase exports. These are all initiatives that should fuel optimism towards the future of the sector.
Moving ahead though, we’re confronted with a newer set of challenges and questions. With a data revolution that’s already underway, how should we develop the data ecosystem so that we build a world-class distribution network and create a market for affordable Customer Premise Equipment and content? Are industry and government working collectively on future challenges like green telecom as well as debunking misconceptions relating to BTS radiation, so that we restore faith amongst the public that we’re doing all that’s needed? And most importantly, is India’s telecommunications industry truly united in representing its challenges?
I am hopeful that India Telecom 2012 will discuss all these issues and more, including opportunities such as Broadband on Demand, IPV6 and the roadmap ahead for making India an Electronic System Design and Manufacturing hub.
I must commend the efforts and steps taken by the Prime Minister, Mr. Sibal, our Secretary Mr. Chandrashekhar and all DoT officials in providing clarity for government and industry alike.
I hope India Telecom 2012 will tell the world that India’s telecom sector continues to remain vibrant, full of growth opportunities and that we are united in our quest to connect every Indian to voice and high-speed data services at affordable prices.
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