Press Information Bureau
Government of India
Ministry of Communications
07-December-2011 16:52 IST
Prime Minister Inaugurates India Telecom 2011 “M-Powering India”

Strong Telecommunications Sector Facilitates Economic Development

Shri Kapil Sibal Says Mobile Value Added Service will Empower Common Man

The Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh inaugurated the 6th edition of India Telecom 2011 “m-Powering India” here today. Inaugurating the event the Prime Minister said, a strong telecommunications sector facilitates economic development and promotes at the same time social well-being. Broadband connectivity is a powerful tool for enabling faster growth and promoting inclusion, by providing equitable access to information and knowledge.

It is estimated that every 10 percentage point increase in broadband penetration leads to a 1.3 percent increase in a country`s Gross Domestic Product. Therefore, it is the endeavour of our government to provide broadband connectivity to all village Panchayats in our country, said the Prime Minister. Since the bandwidth requirements for village Panchayats are higher due to the nature of applications that are used there, it becomes imperative to use optical fibre to provide broadband connectivity to Panchayats. Towards achieving this objective, over the next 2 years, the government has approved a scheme for creation of a National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN). The scheme is expected to generate a variety of benefits to our rural people like better access to education, better access to health and provision for agricultural services, the Prime Minister added.

The Prime Minister also underlined the objective of the draft National Telecom Policy which envisages `broadband on demand` by the year 2015. He said, it aims to achieve 175 million broadband connections by the year 2017 and 600 million by 2020 at minimum download speed of two megabits per second. It also envisions high speed and high quality broadband access to all village Panchayats through optical fibre by the year 2014 and progressively to all villages and habitations.

Speaking on the occasion Shri Kapil Sibal, the Minister for Communications and IT said that mobile technology is a powerful catalyst for personal, national, regional and international development. It eliminates many economic, cultural, communication, educational, social, and socio-economic barriers. Mobile empowerment, the Minister emphasized, transcends artificial human and natural boundaries to uplift people in all spheres. India is one of the fastest growing economies across the globe. Shri Sibal said, it is the fourth largest economy in PPP ( Purchasing Power Parity) terms after USA, China and Japan. The country experienced rapid economic growth between 2003 and 2007 registering an average annual GDP growth rate of 8.8 per cent. In fiscal 2009, the country weathered the global downturn successfully and registered a GDP growth of 6.7 percent, second only to China. This performance was primarily driven by the services sector, which posted a year-over-year growth of 9.7 percent, the Minister said.

Speaking of the phenomenal growth of the telecom sector in India, Shri Sibal said that Indian Telecom market even with 899 million subscriber base, 120 million internet users, conducive regulatory environment is far from saturation. With a huge rural market waiting to be tapped, the Indian market is largely voice market. It is yet to see the dominance of Mobile Value Added Services (MVAS), which will change the dynamics and economics of this market. The MVAS market is expected to increase from INR 122 billion in 2010 to INR 482 billion by 2015, driven by the uptake of 3G services in urban as well as in rural areas.

In the years to come, MVAS will be the single most important tool for empowering the common man in India. Innovative and value added services like m-Banking, m-education, m-Health, m-Governance, m-agriculture, location based services will be delivered to the common man, even in the remotest corners of the country.

Government of India is committed to empower the common man through cost effective, reliable and high quality telecom services with strong focus on MVAS. The sustainability of the growth of telecom services depends on strong and vibrant industry, empowered telecom consumers and strong and forward looking regulation. To build an ecosystem for sustainable growth of telecom services with a win-win approach, the draft NTP 2011 is unveiled.

Shri Sachin Pilot and Shri Milind Deora, the Ministers of State for Communications and IT also commended telecom sector for its efforts and achievements. Welcoming the dignitaries and delegates on the occasion, Shri Deora flagged that the real challenge in telecom sector is to expand the rural subscriber base and internet penetration to rural areas. He said, the draft NTP 2011 accordingly envisages to achieve 100 per cent rural teledensity and 600 million broadband connections by 2020.

Shri Pilot, thanking the organizers, dignitaries and delegates, said that telecom revolution in India would be complete when it transcends the linguistic, geographical and regional barriers to reach every nook and corner of the country. When mobile phones are used as a tool of empowerment and as the hand held device in villages for delivery of economic services, this revolution will lead to financial inclusion, Shri Pilot added.

Department of Telecommunications (DoT), Ministry of Communications and IT in association with Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) has organized this three day "India Telecom 2011" with the theme "m-Powering India". It is the 6th year of this International Exhibition and Conference showcasing India’s success story in telecom to the world.