Communications Minister Manoj Sinha today said that the government is working on a new telecom policy which will be application driven as 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 focused on the end users and should look at the newer opportunities for expanding the availability of telecom services.
He said with the advent of high speed data services and enhanced expectations of the users to get real time on-demand band width to run near real time live applications has made the government prepare new policies.
Sinha added 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."
Stating that communications sector has assumed the position of an essential infrastructure for socio-economic development, the Minister said as of April 2017, the country had 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 stand at 276.52 million.
There was a 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 400 per cent jump.
The Minister said while telecom service providers are rapidly deploying the 4G technology, his focus is on two 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 5G technology, and ensure that India plays a key role in standards development and gets a healthy share of the innovations and patents in the 5G technology pool.
Calling for a revisit of the current HR policies of the government, Sinha said there has been a recognition that specialised skills have to be drawn from both within the government system and from outside wherever possible as the Centre and the states are short of such skilled resources.