Initiatives

Mr. Dayanidhi Maran's Initiatives

TELECOM

46 million telephone connections by end of April 2006. This is almost double of 75 million connections in April 2004.

42 million connections added last year compared to 24 million in 2004-05. In past four months about 22 million telephone subscribers have been added. This rate of growth is expected to increase further.

BSNL/MTNL announced a new tariff plan of Rs.1 per minute STD tariff for any destination (down from the level of Rs. 4.80 in May 2004).

Tariff emulated by most of the private service providers also. With the reduction in ADC, rate of growth of telecom subscribers would increase further.

Expected that of the targeted additions of about 100 million phones by December 2007 (total 250 million phones by Dec. 07), a significant share would come from BSNL/MTNL. BSNL has floated the tender for procurement of 63.5 million additional mobile lines.

Project for release of 45 MHz spectrum from Defence for growth of mobile services has been launched. This additional spectrum is likely to be made available in the beginning of the year 2007.

Project for sharing of infrastructure by mobile operators has been launched in Delhi and Mumbai. This would facilitate sharing of passive and active infrastructure and network operating expenses.

Rural Telephony

Providing of Village Public Telephone (VPTs) in remaining unconnected 66,822 villages component of Bharat Nirman .

BSNL awarded the work for providing VPTs in all the remaining 66,822 uncovered villages by November 2007 with support from Universal Service Obligation (USO) Fund.

25,000 VPTs provided as on 30th April 2006. Efforts being made to complete it in 2006 itself.

46,253 Rural Community Phones (RCPs) to be provided in villages with population exceeding 2000 and without a Public phone facility other than a VPT. As on 30th April 2006, 24,000 RCPs have been provided.

Agreements signed for providing Rural household Lines (RDELs) in 1,685 commercially unviable Short Distance Charging Areas( SDCAs). More than 4,00,000 RDELs have been provided so far.

Scheme for sharing of infrastructure for enhancing rural mobile penetration is in advance stage of finalization.

To facilitate speedy rural penetration entry handsets with a price-tag of Rs. 1700 have been launched. Efforts are on to make it available at about Rs 1000.

Planning made to provide mobile coverage in villages with population more than 5000 by September 2006 & villages with population more than 2000 by March 2007.

Broadband

Broadband Policy announced in October 2004 with a vision of covering 20 million broadband subscribers by the end of 2010.

Nation-wide Broadband Services launched by BSNL & MTNL wef. 14.1.2005 to cover 200 towns in one year. The spread now covers 300 towns with about one and half million connections given out of which share of BSNL/MTNL is 70%.

To encourage expansion of broadband connectivity at a faster pace, both outdoor and indoor usage of low power Wi-fi and WiMax systems in 2.4 GHz– 2.4835 GHz band has been delicensed. The use of low power indoor systems in 5.15 - 5.35 GHz & 5.725 - 5.875 GHz has also been delicensed.

Licensing liberalisation

FDI Ceiling increased from 49 per cent to 74 per cent in the telecom services.

Licence fee for NLD, ILD, IP-II, VSAT commercial and ISP with internet telephony (restricted) licences was reduced to 6% of AGR w.e.f. 1-1-2006.

Entry fee for NLD reduced to Rs. 2.5 Crore from Rs. 100 Crore. Entry fee for ILD reduced to Rs. 2.5 Crore from Rs. 25 Crore.

Lease line charges reduced to make the bandwidth available at competitive prices to facilitate growth in IT enabled services.

In respect of states having two telecom circles e.g. Tamilnadu, Maharashtra, U.P and West Bengal, Calls between Chennai and rest of Tamil Nadu, Mumbai and rest of Maharashtra, Kolkata and rest of West Bengal and Andaman & Nicobar and UP East and UP West service areas treated as Intra service area calls.

NLD service providers permitted to access the subscribers directly for provision of leased circuits/closed user groups and can provide last mile connectivity. The ILD service providers can also access the subscriber directly only for provision of leased circuits/closed user groups.

Access service providers allowed to provide Internet telephony, internet services and broadband services.

With a view to make international bandwidth available at competitive rate, BSNL is planning to lay Tuticorin--Sri Lanka submarine cable. It is likely to be made operational in first quarter of 2006-07.

Project for submarine cable connectivity between India and Singapore, India and Gulf countries, initiated by MTNL and BSNL to provide cost effective international bandwidth.

Manufacturing

Zero-Customs duty on all import of component and raw materials required for manufacturing telecom equipment including Custom duty on all 217 ITA-1 items to boost manufacturing sector. Mobile phone components exempted from 4% CVD. Mobile telephone removed from the 'one- out- of- the six criteria' for income tax return purpose.

Ericsson set up GSM Radio Base Station Manufacturing facility in Jaipur. Elcoteq has set up handset manufacturing facilities in Bangalore. Nokia set up its manufacturing plant in Chennai. LG Electronics set up plant of manufacturing GSM mobile phones near Pune. Ericsson recently launched their R&D Centre in Chennai. Flextronics setting up an SEZ in Chennai.

Two more SEZ in telecom sector in advance stage of approval.

Proposals implemented/under implementations of US$ 620 million in telecom sector.

Companies like Flextronics, Motorola, Foxconn, Aspocomn etc. decided to set up their manufacturing bases with an investment of about US$ 650 million.

AMD signed a “milestone agreement” with SemIndia to bring semiconductor manufacturing facilities to India. It envisages an investment of US$3 billion over four years.

Microsoft Corp to invest US$1.7 billion in India over four years.

Intel announced their investment plan of more than US$1 billion in five years.

CISCO to invest US$1.1 billion including US$750 million for an R & D centre.

Revival of Indian Telephone Industries (ITI) started with the revival plan of Rs. 1025 crore. GSM equipment manufacturing started at ITI plants at Mankapur and Rae Bareli with technology partnership of Alcatel, France.

Telecom & IT sector expected to attract US $ 10-11 billion in next 2-3 years. While Telecom manufacturing sector expected to attract about US $ 1.5-2 billion, Telecom services sector also expected to attract US $ 2-3 billion.INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) drawn up covering 26 Mission Mode Projects and 8 support components to be implemented at the Central, State and Local Government Levels.

Planning Commission allocated funds as Additional Central Assistance (ACA) to all the States for taking up Capacity Building measures as a first step towards NeGP.

Scheme for the establishment of State Wide Area Networks (SWANs)approved in 22 States/UTs at a total outlay of Rs.3,334 crore over a period of 5 years, extending data connectivity of 2 Mega bits per second up-to the block level in all States and Union Territories in the country

Proposal formulated to establish 100,000 Common Services Centres (CSCs) in rural areas which would extend the reach of electronic services, both government and private to the village level.

Draft Policy prepared for Investments for setting up semiconductor fabrication and other micro and nano technology manufacture industries in India.

India became a major destination for FDI investments in Information Communication Technology sector as world leaders in ICT like Intel, Cisco, SemIndia-AMD, Microsoft, Motorola, Ericsson, Nokia, Kyocera, Siemens, LG, Samsung, etc., announced large investment plans for India.

Several manufacturers launched their low cost PC at a price below Rs. 10,000.

Free Software Tools and Fonts in Tamil, Hindi and Telugu made available free to the public distribution.

National Internet Exchange of India (NIXI) set up state-of-the art hardware and software and re-launched the .IN Registry.

Four Internet Exchange Nodes set up and made operational at Noida (Delhi), Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata, and as many as 40 ISPs have been connected with these nodes.

Keeping in view the global trends in IPv6, DIT took initiative towards IPv6 transition and a National Roadmap for IPv6 implementation which includes an awareness building programme, research and development, test bed projects on IPv6 migration and deployment by Network providers.

Expert Committee on Information Technology Act set up to review the IT Act which proposed appropriate amendments. Based on the recommendations of the Committee, the amendments to the IT Act have been finalised.

112 Community Information Centres (CICs) set up in Jammu and Kashmir. Another 23 CICs in J&K will be made operational by July 2006. CICs are also being established in the government schools in Andaman and Nicobar Islands (41 CICs) and Lakshadweep Islands (30 CICs) for imparting Information and Communication Technology (ICT) based education.

National facility for electromagnetic Interference (EMI) and Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) evaluation of electronic equipments and systems, first of its kind in India and third in South East Asia, set-up at Chennai.

Joint project approved for setting up Nanoelectronics Centres at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore and the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay with a total outlay of Rs.99.80 crore over a period of five years.

POSTS

DoP hosted the Draft Indian Post Office (Amendment) Bill 2006 on its website and invited views and suggestions.

Direct Post launched for distribution of advertising material by the Post Offices.

Logistics Post Service introduced in 11 States.

Speed Post Gold Service introduced between business districts of Delhi and Mumbai

Finance Marts opened in 142 selective post offices in the country

On-line domestic money transmission service called iMO was introduced to assure speed in delivery of money.

Metro Mail operations streamlined and geared up in seven Metros.

Accidental Death Insurance at a very low premium of Rs.15/- provided by Oriental Insurance Company (OIC) for a policy of Rs. one lakh for one year – for Savings Bank account holders.

Children Policy introduced to provide insurance cover to the children of the policyholder.

Inter-Ministerial Group (IMG) constituted to recommend various steps required to eliminate the financial deficit.