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NDCP will bridge rural-urban digital divide: Manoj Sinha

National Digital Communications Policy 2018 seeks to propel India to digital leadership and support India’s transition to a digitally empowered economy and society by fulfilling the information and communication needs of citizens and enterprises

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Speedy implementation of NDCP (National Digital Communications Policy) will help bridge the existing digital divide between rural India and urban India and help transform lives of 1.3 billion citizens of India by delivering a Digital Future to All, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Communications, Manoj Sinha said at an ASSOCHAM event held in New Delhi Friday.

“Telecom sector is the pivotal force driving India’s digital transformation. Surge in data consumption and rapid adoption of new technologies continue to re-define connectivity and digital engagement dynamics in India,” said Sinha while inaugurating ASSOCHAM 11th Telecom India. He also said that as the largest data consumer and the second largest smartphone market, India is carving a new digital identity globally.

“Government led initiatives like Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, which is the world’s largest financial inclusion programme, the recently launched Ayushman Bharat scheme, which is the largest social health insurance scheme in the world, Smart Cities Mission, National Skill Development Mission, Digital India, Make In India, and others are today catering to the needs of all sections of our society,” said the minister.

It is now critical to maintain the developmental momentum by strengthening the telecom sector, a core enabler for the socio-economic progress of the country, he added.

In her address at the summit, Aruna Sundararajan, secretary, Ministry of Communications and chairperson, Telecom Commission said, “The newly announced National Digital Communications Policy 2018 seeks to propel India to digital leadership and support India’s transition to a digitally empowered economy and society by fulfilling the information and communication needs of citizens and enterprises by establishing a ubiquitous, resilient and affordable digital communications infrastructure that will help India become a trillion-dollar economy.”

She said that the policy seeks to attract US$100 billion in investments over next four years and create four million additional jobs, enhancing the contribution of the digital communications sector to eight percent of India’s GDP and propel India to the Top 50 Nations in the ITU ICT Development Index.

“Given the critical role of the policy and its execution, we are happy to engage with industry stakeholders to drive the policy objectives and its speedy execution,” added Sundararajan.
Addressing the conference, RS Sharma, chairman, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) said, telecommunications is the backbone for achieving desired digital transformation and future technologies like 5G, big data analytics, cloud, Internet of Things (IoT) and machine to machine (M2M) will play a key role in implementing the Digital India vision.

“Investments in 4G and beyond and quick adoption of and adaption to technology changes, artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, virtual reality (VR) will yield quantum benefits. Leveraging these technologies will also dovetail into key government initiatives such as smart cities and Make in India. The stimulating discussions today with all stakeholders will provide impetus to policy implementation,” said Sharma.

P. Balaji, chairman of ASSOCHAM National Council on Telecommunications & Convergence said, “The NDCP 2018 is a progressive, holistic and forward-looking policy. It is designed to empower Indian telecom sector to fulfil its designated role of being the critical enabler to achieve the larger vision of a truly Digital India and rightly considers all aspects vital for the development and growth of the sector.”

Uday Kumar Varma, secretary general, ASSOCHAM said that a robust broadband infrastructure to provide seamless backbone connectivity will be critical to unleash M2M potential in India.

Prashant Singhal, Emerging Markets TMT Leader, EY said that NDCP 2018 is a progressive policy that aims to attract US$100 billion investment in the digital communications sector by 2022.

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