Government committed to telecom growth: PM

New Delhi, Dec 5 : Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday said the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) is committed to the growth of telecom sector in India.

Speaking at the inauguration of 'India Telecom 2013' in New Delhi on Thursday, Singh said: "Our government remains committed to facilitating further growth of the telecom sector. During the last two years, we have taken a number of steps in this direction."

"I understand that the Department of Telecommunications has already started issuing Unified Licenses and will also shortly issue the Merger and Acquisition guidelines. We have raised the Foreign Direct Investment limit in the telecommunications sector from 74% to 100%.

"I am confident that all these measures will go a long way in addressing the concerns of investors and provide a new impetus to the growth of telecommunications industry in our country," he said.

Singh said, with a rural tele-density of just over 40%, there are millions of people in rural economy whose lives still remain untouched by the telecom revolution.

"And this is a challenge that should worry all of us and we must have determination to grapple with it effectively. This deficit is further magnified when it comes to Internet connectivity," he said.

"On a per capita basis, the usage of the Internet is quite low in India. Both the availability and the reliability of Internet services outside the major cities leave much to be desired," said the PM.

"The transformative power of the Internet is clearly visible in the lives of a large number of our people. Today services like travel bookings, banking, shopping and education are increasingly being delivered through the Internet.

"Rapid advances in technology are also resulting in newer uses of this medium," he said.

He said the government is alive to the need for expansion of telecom services in the rural areas.

"One of the key objectives of the National Telecom Policy 2012 is to increase rural tele-density to 70% by the year 2017 and 100% by the year 2020.

"The Policy also recognizes telecom and broadband connectivity as a basic necessity and aims to provide reliable and affordable broadband access to rural and remote areas in our country," said the PM.

--IBNS (Posted on 05-12-2013)

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