Economic Survey 2019: FM Nirmala Sitharaman eyes 5G to fast track Modi’s dream of $5 trillion economy

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New Delhi | Updated: Jul 04, 2019 6:41 PM

Budget Economic Survey 2018-19: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the vision for when the 5G network will roll out in India

Economic Survey 2018-19: In its fresh Economic Survey of 2019, the Modi government outlined the growth the telecom industry has seen under its watch. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman tabled the vision of what the Mod-led government has planned to make India a $5 trillion economy. The burning question of when the 5G services will be commercially available to the citizens has been addressed as the government is earmarking the year 2020 for when it mulls to make India 5G ready.

In the survey, the government has provided some data that is crucial to the maturation of the telecom sector, which is inclusive of the spur in the adoption of telephone connections. India registered a growth of 26.84 per cent, as of March 2019, as the citizens set out to use wireless services more than before. Contrary to 93.30 crore connections in 2013-14, India saw a surge in the adoption of telephone connections to 118.34 crore in 2018-19, the survey showed.

While the urban citizens have shown a high inclination towards availing telephone connections, the numbers for which have been reported to stand at 66.91 crore, the connections in rural areas are gradually rising. As of March 2019, 51.42 crore telephone connections were purchased by citizens living in rural regions. The overall telephone density in India has been reported 90.10 per cent, 57.50 per cent of which is in the rural areas while urban areas secured 159.66 per cent, as per the data from March 2019.

To give a catalytic boost to the Digital India programme, Sitharaman has underscored the importance of 5G services posses in the advancement of the country. India is mulling areas where 5G technology can improve the delivery of services while making sure the process keeps in line with the global rollout of the next-generation wireless technology. Last month, IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that the Department of Telecommunications is planning to begin 5G trials in the next 100 days. That being said, India is likely to harness the benefits at the optimal level by the year 2020.

The Economic Survey notes the government has constituted seven committees, post receiving recommendations from the panel at the High-Level 5G India 2020 Forum. These committees will work jointly to undertake actions in the Spectrum Policy, Regulatory Policy, Education and Awareness Promotion Program, Application & Use Case Labs, Development of Application Layer Standards, Major Trials & Technology Demonstration and Participation in International Standards for 5G.

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