A Paramount Necessity to Develop Techno-Economic Corridor
By Dr. P Sekhar, Chairman, Micro Tech Global Foundation
India’s telecom sector is one of the leading domestic industries. It has been playing a crucial role in India’s growth story. Mobile phone penetration over the last few years has witnessed a phenomenal rise. India has the second largest mobile subscribers after China. According to recent reports, India was purported to overtake China to become the world’s largest mobile telecommunications market in 2013. It was also predicted that by 2013, the tele-density will shoot up to 84% and the total mobile subscriber base would be a colossal 1.159 billion.
The telecom industry is also one of the prime contributors to India’s GDP. It contributes about 4% to our GDP of Rs. 107 lakh crore or $1.946 trillion (IMF Est 2012).
The evolution of modem telecom industry in India can be classified into three distinct phases.
Phase I- Pre-Liberalization Era (1980-89)
Phase II- Post Liberalization Era (1990-99)
Overall growth in India’s telecom market remains strong; mobile market going through a period of uncertainty; the 2G corruption scandal has caused problems for all stakeholders in the industry; the potential damage to foreign investment in India is just one issue causing concern; broadband internet continues to see strong growth; broadband services have reached 60% of all internet services; wireless broadband systems have been helping increase the penetration of broadband across the market place.
The telecom sector needs about Rs. 2.30 lakh crore on investment for meeting the target of 100 per cent connectivity in rural areas and 60 crore broadband connections as envisaged in the National Telecom Policy according to Ernst &Young.
The huge investment requirement cannot be met by the Government alone. It requires the involvement of private sector also. The Telecom Centers of Excellence (TCOEs) set up in Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode, are an excellent example of the Government, the Academia and the Industry working together for the sustained growth and progress of the country. With Secured Governance more such centers of excellence can be established for the successful commissioning, implementation, operation and execution of all plans, policies and programs and put the industry on the global map.
Secured Governance for Telecom
Secured Governance for Telecom Sector is a concerted strategy to build a viable and longstanding relationship between development of telecom infrastructure and various other sectors along with various institutions as partners and Government as governing body to foster, coordinate , establish and promote a “Telecom Hub” along various existing communication infrastructure or to come out with a new cluster/s on important locations that improves and develops the cluster as a whole through regional strategies, technology and interdependency among various sectors of growth.
Secured Governance will leverage the services of Aadhhar for telecom and internet connections. This will drastically reduce telecommunication connections to anti-national activities.
An effective ‘Secured Governance’ will lead to the creation of ‘TeleHub’ in all the 22 circles across the nation. This will bring telecom service providers, handset manufacturers, vendors, value added service providers, tower owners, dealers, distributors and other allied operators together under a vibrant ecosystem.
So to conclude, Secured Governance in the Telecom Sector will streamline tax structure for the telecom industry and provide clarity on the withholding tax issues arising on account of the retrospective amendment in the royalty definition last year, which sought to cover telecom connectivity related payments. Scams will be eliminated through Secured Governance as transparency and accountability will become the order of the day. It will bring the players of telecom, regulatory agencies and TRAI together and ensure greater transparency and cooperation among them to build a strong, vibrant efficient telecom sector in India.
The author is the Chairman of Micro Tech Global Foundation, New Bombay. He haswritten a number of books on security matters.