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New Delhi : Minister for Communications Manoj Sinha on July 12, 2017, said that his Ministry is working on a new Telecom Policy which will be application driven compared to National Telecom Policy, 2012, which was connectivity driven.

Speaking at a seminar here on `ICT: Engendering New Governance Structure’, Sinha said that the new policy has to be focussed on the end users and should look at the newer opportunities for expanding the availability of Telecom services. He said the advent of high speed data services and enhanced expectations of the users to get real time on-demand bandwidth to run near real time live applications enjoins us to prepare new policies. Sinha said that for the first time, the Ministry has decided to involve a large pool of experts from outside the department to get more inputs from the citizens and stakeholders for the new policy, according to a PIB release.

The Minister said that communications Sector has assumed the position of an essential infrastructure for socio-economic development in an increasingly knowledge-intensive world. He said that as of April 2017, the country has close to 1.2 billion telephone connections including 1.17 billion wireless telephone connections and similarly witnessed the rapid growth of the broadband connections that now stands at 276.52 million. He said more than the number, it is heartening to see the six-fold increase in Data traffic in India from 561 million GB in the first quarter to 2988 million GB in the third quarter of 2016-17, which is a whopping 400 % jump, according to the PIB release.

Sinha said that while our service providers are rapidly deploying the 4 G technology, his focus is on two important aspects- the need to expand the connectivity to all parts including the north-eastern and Left Wing Extremism affected areas and secondly to keep an eye on future generation that is 5 G technology and ensure that India plays a key role in standards development and get a healthy share of the innovations and patents in the 5G technology pool.

The Minister said that the digital India programme and the digital economy requires underlying connectivity as a pre-requisite and added that as road infrastructure used to be a necessity for development in 19th and 20th century, the information superhighways are a must for growth in the 21st century.

He also informed that the Department of Telecom announced the ‘Central Equipment Identity Register’ last week, which paves the way for setting up of International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) based device registration and authentication that will settle the cases of Mobile Phone Theft to a great extent.

Calling for a revisit of the current HR policies of the government, Sinha said that there has been a recognition that specialized skills have to be drawn from both within the government system and also from outside wherever possible as the Centre and the States are woefully short of such skilled resources, according to the release.

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