Maran For Telecom Policy Revamp

New Delhi | Updated: May 27 2004, 05:30am hrs
Minister of communications and information technology (IT) Dayanidhi Maran has promised to revamp the Natio-nal Telecom Policy. He claimed that his policies would focus on facilitating cheaper and quality telecom and Internet services, apart from increasing computer, telecom, Internet and broadband penetration.

I would like to revamp the telecom policy so as to take the countrys communication sector forward in a big way, he told the media just after assuming his office on Wednesday. He, however, did not elaborate on what changes he was planning in the policy. I have just assumed charge. I need to first study and discuss with the concerned officials, he added.

When asked about disinvestment plans in government owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL), he said, They are off the disinvestment list.

Echoing his predecessors, Mr Maran said there is a need to increase the teledensity levels to go beyond the current level of 7 and all efforts would be made to provide further fillip to the growth of the telecom sector. He also repeated the former ministers policy to promote the indigenous manufacturing in telecom and IT sector.

ITs all smiles: Dayanidhi Maran takes over as communications and IT minister in New Delhi on Wednesday Photo by Raaj Dayal
On outsourcing of skilled manpower to India, Mr Maran stated that efforts would be made to make India the worlds hub for outsourcing skilled manpower in the IT sector. He said the Digital Divide is minimised and efforts would be made to connect 50,000 villages which do not have telephone facilities, preferably during the current year. Mr Maran observed that the spread of Internet in India has not been commensurate with the growth of the telecom sector.

Apart from focusing on access and quality, issue of convergence of data, voice and image would be studied at an appropriate time, he added.

He said he would be studying the recent recommendations of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India on broadband and Internet.