Telecom policy expected to get cabinet nod next month: Sinha

Telecom policy expected to get cabinet nod next month: Sinha

The new telecom policy is likely to be cleared by the Union Cabinet by the end of next month, Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha said on Tuesday.

The government has recently issued the National Digital Communications Policy (NDCP), which aims to provide access to every household with download speed of 50 Mbps, attract investment of around Rs 6.5 lakh crore in the sector and create 4 million new job opportunities within a few years.

The policy is expected to get cabinet nod by end of July, Sinha said, while listing the achievement of the government in the last four years.

Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan said that the draft of the policy will be placed before the Telecom Commission -- the apex decision making body at the Department of Telecom - in its meeting scheduled for June 29.

Talking about the achievements in the last four years, the minister said, “When we took over telecom department it had challenges like trust deficit. The sector was in turmoil. In the last four years, we have brought in transparency and good governance.”

On telecom companies facing financial crises, he said consolidation was happening in Indian telecom sector and finally four to five big players will remain in the market. Whatever jobs were lost in the sector, double the number of jobs were also created, he said.

The minister also claimed that proactive policies of the government over the last four years have led to a sharp fall in mobile tariffs and a "marked improvement" in the call drop situation.

However, he also said that the government will not hesitate from taking tough decisions to maintain the "success story" of the telecom sector.

The comments come at a time when the sector is battling financial difficulty, and the industry's debt burden is estimated to be almost Rs 7.6 lakh crore.

The minister also said in-flight mobile connectivity services were likely to start within a year.

The government will consider demand of state run telecom firms BSNL and MTNL of sanctioning the 4G spectrum, he said.

On call drops, the minister said that the two prime benchmarks prescribed by the Trai for call drop measurement have indicated a sharp improvement in service quality.