Network Policy:

 

Telecommunications is one of the prime support services needed for rapid growth and modernization of various sectors of the economy. It has become especially important in recent years because of enormous growth of Information Technology (IT) and its significant impact on the rest of the economy. India is perceived to have a special comparative advantage in IT and in IT-enabled services. However, sustaining this advantage depends critically on high quality telecommunication infrastructure.

 

 

Growth profile:

 

Electronics and IT is at present the fastest growing industry and achieved an annual growth rate of 25.5 % and 43% respectively during 1994-1998. Total electronics and IT earnings increased from $470 million to $8500 million, of which software alone contributed a growth from $651 million to $4,900. Imports in software increased from $375 to $ 3,500 million. The Foreign direct Investment increased slowly over 5 years almost doubling by 1999 where 242 cases had been approved by the Government. Thus FDI inflow was $11 billion by December 1998. Telecommunications and Electronics sector contributed 24.19% and IT had a share of 4%. Increasing number of Fortune 500 companies including Microsoft have already invested in India. The total Market Capital of listed IT companies by 2001 was $99 billion.

 

Though most communications in the country are still based on copper wires, 123,000 kilometers of optic fiber network is in place and is fast growing especially in states such as Andhra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Delhi where IT related commerce is being promoted. VSATs have been the main stay for communicating to district level offices and these are now more than 8000.

 

Networking:

 

Various organizations are concurrently involved in networking various sectors within the countries. Government funded National Informatics Ministry connects all Governmental agencies including the Parliament with district level offices. This is through VSATs, telephone lines and wire loop local connections. It is also being used for telemedicine which is at present at a low entrance level. Other organizations such CSIR, ISRO and atomic Energy have linked their own organizations scattered through out the country. Universities and research and teaching institutions have been linked by the Department of Electronics through ERNET. The networking of Biotechnology institutes has been mentioned above. Internet access is mainly through Telecom sectors both private and public funded. The cyber cafes run by private organizations have become very popular with decrease in costs over time. These are scattered in cities as well as in smaller towns, being most dense in the southern towns of India.

 

PRESENT STATUS OF TELECOM NETWORK

 

The basic telecom services network has expanded from about 84 thousand connections at the time of independence to about 385.95 lakh working connections as on March 31 2002. Basic services network constitutes the bulk of the phones accounting for about 86 per cent of the total telecom network. The main features of the present telecom network are given in the table given below:

 

Status of Telephone Network As on 31.03.2002

 

Total number of exchanges - 35,023

Number of rural exchanges 26,953

Total Fixed Telephone connections 385.95 lakh

Number of Cellular mobile phones 64.31 lakh

Trunk Auto Exchange Lines (TAX) 34.27 lakh

Tele Density - All India - 4.4

Number of Village Public Telephones 4.68 lakh

Internet Connections 38 lakh (as on January 31, 2002)

 

 

PHYSICAL TARGETS AND ACHIEVEMENTS- Telecommunications:

 

Name of

Scheme

Original Target

Revised Targets

1997-98

1998-99

1999-2000

2000-01

2001-02

Target

Actual

Target

Actual

Target

Actual

Target

Actual

Target

Actual

Switching Capacity (lakh lines)

230

298

36

35.18

49.3

47.89

54.7

67.17

72.35

71.3

82.46

75.83

DOT

200.6

273

30.8

32.3

44

43.75

49

63.02

67

67

77.76

70.33

MTNL

29.4

25

5.2

2.88

5.3

4.14

5.7

4.15

5.35

4.3

4.7

5.5

Direct Exchange (Lakh lines)

185

222.7

29

32.59

36

37.92

45.5

49.18

52.4

59.25

72.3

57.88

DOT

160

200.7

24.6

28.65

31.5

35.45

40.6

45.4

48

56.29

68.3

53.07

MTNL

25

22

4.4

3.94

4.5

2.47

4.9

3.78

4.4

2.96

4

4.81

TAX (Lakh_lines)

18

23.06

3.25

3.14

4.5

2.06

4.53

4.8

5.15

5.12

10.1

9.97

DOT

15.24

18.87

2.75

2.77

3.87

2.06

4

4.03

4

5.12

9

9.07

MTNL

2.76

4.19

0.5

0.37

0.63

-

0.53

0.77

1.15

-

1.1

0.9

Microwave Systems (000kms)

90

70

18

17.99

19.5

14

15

19.88

10

21.03

7.5

14.45

Optical Fiber System  (000 km)

140

270

22

23.82

35

31.77

40

63.27

100

55.35

126

99.02

VPT      (000 Nos.)

239.16

278.87

83

42.86

80.5

37.06

45

33.97

70

34.22

144

70.75

 

TELECOM DEVELOPMENT INTERNATIONAL COMPARISON

(As on Dec. 2001)

Country

Population

GDP per

DELs (Fixed)

Tele-density

No. of PCs

Internet Users

 

(In crore)

capita (US$)*

(In lakh lines)

 

per 100 persons

per 10,000 persons

USA

28.59

36211

1900

66.45

62.25

4995.1

UK

6.01

23694

353.26

58.8

36.62

3995.01

Australia

1.93

19897

100.6

52.02

51.71

3723.05

Brazil

17.18

3500

374.3

21.78

6.29

465.58

Mexico

10.03

5807

137.73

13.72

6.87

362.23

S. Africa

4.38

2882

49.69

11.35

6.85

700.58

Egypt

6.45

1424

66.5

10.3

1.55

92.95

Japan

12.73

34337

760

59.69

34.87

4547.1

Malaysia

2.38

3838

47.38

19.91

12.61

2394.96

China

129.61

834

1790.34

13.81

1.93

260

Pakistan

14.5

425

34

2.35

0.41

34.49

India#

102.71

455

347.32

3.38

0.58

68.16

Asia

360.67

2354

3911.79

10.85

3.31

437.49

World

607.91

5274

10460.9

17.21

8.42

823.24

Source: World Telecom Development Report 2002

OBJECTIVES AND TARGETS OF THE TENTH PLAN

 

The Tenth plan policies and programs are guided by the basic goal of creating a world class telecom infrastructure in order to meet the requirements of IT based sector and needs of a modernizing economy on the least cost basis. Ensuring value for money to the consumers and easy and affordable access to basic telecom services to everyone and everywhere would be the other goal of policies to be pursued in Tenth Plan. The major objectives envisaged for the Tenth Plan are:

 

1- ) Affordable and effective communication facilities to all citizens.

2- ) Provision of universal service to all uncovered areas, including rural areas.

3- ) Building a modern and efficient telecommunications infrastructure to meet the convergence of telecom, IT and the media.

4- ) Transformation of the telecommunications sector to a greater competitive environment providing equal opportunities and level playing field for all the players.

5- ) Increase R&D efforts in the country.

6- ) Achieving efficiency and transparency in spectrum management

7- ) Protecting the defense and security interests of the country.

8-) Enabling Indian telecom companies to become truly global players.

 

 

CHALLENGES FOR THE TENTH PLAN

 

With the introduction of competition in the market, the focus of planning needs to shift from the overall expansion of DELs and network to providing requisite policy framework for the sector/ market to grow as required and consistent with the overall policy objectives. In determining the appropriate policy initiatives and the relevant regulatory framework for this purpose, we need to bear certain factors in mind. The major factors/trends that merit consideration in this regard are given below.

 

Factors and Trends Relevant for Future Policy Initiatives: