'Made in India' products to get preferential status in NTP'11

"Broader telecom policy will include measures appropriate to encourage domestic telecom manufacturing. Some aspects have been considered by committee of secretaries, and preferential status for domestic manufacturers is one of them," Department of Telecom (DoT) secretary R Chandrashekhar told PTI.

Chandrashekhar said DoT is waiting for recommendations from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) on manufacturing and expects to receive them by end of March. He said Communications and IT Minister Kapil Sibal is holding consultations with the industry and their views will be discussed by the Telecom Commission while finalising the NTP'11 draft.

"A final view will be taken after the consultation process is complete. We expect it to be done by end of March," Chandrashekhar said. The push for preferential treatment for 'Made in India' products is part of the Government's agenda to reduce the widening trade deficit created by imports.

Chandrashekhar said the decision to encourage telecom manufacturing is in line with the recommendations made in the IT Task Force report being processed by the Department of Information Technology.

Citing the rising import bill of IT and Telecom products, the Task Force has recommended that the government develop an eco-system for boosting indigenous manufacturing. Estimates show that India's demand for electronics products (including telecom) will be USD 400 billion by 2020.

Meanwhile, at the existing rate of growth, the production of electronics hardware is likely to grow to USD 104 billion by 2020, creating a demand and supply gap of USD 296 billion, which would have to be met through imports.

The Wireless Planning Commission (WPC), a DoT wing for spectrum management, has also decided to reserve some radio waves for indigenously developed technologies and systems in the new National Frequency Allocation Plan of 2011.

The move, however, has been opposed by telecom lobby groups -- Cellular Operators Association of India and Association of Unified Telecom Service Providers of India.

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