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Minister of State for Communications and Railways Manoj Sinha today said that ICT connectivity is a key factor for a diverse country like India for creating an inclusive society and fostering holistic development.
Addressing a Conference on “Building ICT - Infrastructure: Connect the Unconnected” in New Delhi, Sinha emphasised the Government’s commitment for creating a strong ICT infrastructure and bridging the digital divide in rural and urban India. He outlined conducive policy and administrative measures including facilitation of spectrum sharing and trading, Right of Way (RoW) policy, creating optic fiber networks, mobile infrastructure and shared mobile towers.
The Minister also mentioned the need for deploying eco-friendly infrastructure and using renewable energy for sustainable growth and development of this sector. He urged the telecom industry for the upgradation of mobile networks.
A White Paper on “Building ICT Infrastructure - Connecting the unconnected” was also released on the occasion.
RS Sharma, Chairman, TRAI said that India has reached unforeseen benchmarks in many areas of technology like software and Aadhar. A new thrust has been laid upon transforming India into a digital economy and a cashless society. All these call for robust base infrastructure on which transformative, newer initiatives can ride.
He further added that the Digital India Mission calls for improving the digital infrastructure, demand of software and services and digital empowerment of citizens. The common duct policy by the TRAI is a measure in that direction.
N Sivasailam, Additional Secretary, Department of Telecommunication, highlighted the Government’s focus in connecting villages and districts and creating fiber ways, much like highways and roadways. He said that the Government of India is keen to work with the state governments in facilitating this all over India, right up to the municipality level.
Mritunjay Kapur, National Head of Risk Consulting, KPMG, said that India’s telecom sector has achieved tremendous growth in 2G & 3G, riding on the back of passive infrastructure. The sector is poised to set off to even higher growth trajectory with technologies like Internet of Things (IoT), M2M, wireless broadband, digital payments, which call for a stronger digital infrastructure ecosystem.
Umang Das, Chairman, CII Committee on Telecom Infrastructure, said that the infrastructure is based on cost optimization and rapid infrastructure deployment in far flung areas. The model needs to be expanded to achieve broadband for all. He also said that there should be alignment of policies between central and state governments, licenses must be reviewed and revisited and issues arising out of GST need to be addressed.