Having seen what we have achieved in the last 23 years, its time we should look at something different in terms of telecom policy as India needs to leapfrog and this can only happen if we start thinking differently while framing our National Telecom Policy 2018 or NTP 2018 and then working on it to get the desired result in a time bound manner
Why do we need to think differently in terms of National Telecom Policy 2018?
We need to think differently as lot of convergence is happening and lot many sectors say education, healthcare, financial services, citizen services and agriculture are going digital and it cannot be ignored if India wants to leapfrog. Not only this India will benefit a lot from digital strategies in these sectors and also world will benefit from it in a big way as this will not only help in cost reduction, improving quality of service when imparted to citizens by government and also lot of savings for the government, service providers and enterprises.
- Lot of Convergence – There is lot of convergence in services as well as devices and today it is difficult to clearly demarcate telecom, IT, Internet, software and broadcast services. And in all these services India has an edge vis-a-vis other countries. If India needs to leapfrog, the policy needs to have a mix of everything so that we can choose the best quality service at lowest price for a given solution.
- Future is Digital – Digital is the future for any industry be it service providers, government or enterprises and policy makers cannot ignore digital. Digital is also the fulcrum for many sectors in India as we have shortage in each and every field. For e.g. Education – Digital education is the need of the hour as we have shortage of teachers; Healthcare – Digital healthcare is the need of the hour as we have shortage of doctors in each discipline; Financial Services – Digital financial services is the need of the hour as we cannot open banks in each and nook and corner of the country; Citizen Services – Digital citizen services is the need of the hour to cater to our large population as we do not have large number of government offices and employees due to large population and large geography; and Agriculture – Digital agriculture is the need of the hour as we need to increase our yield even in the changing climatic condition due to global warming.
- India can be Torchbearer – If India works on digital modelling for different sectors say healthcare, education, citizen services, agriculture and financial services we will definitely improve our global ranking, IPR numbers will increase considerably, innovations will be far too many and collaborations between academia, government and industry will increase without fail as it will help all sectors to work in a united way to achieve goals of the country as well as UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) for the world. All this is beneficial for everybody in the long run as India can be torchbearer for many nations who are looking at digital in big way.
- Umbrella policy for government projects – The National Telecom Policy 2018 should cater to all government projects say Digital India, Startup India, Make in India, Standup India, Smart Cities Mission, Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY), Swachh Bharat, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, Skill India and others. And digital is the only connection for all these government policies to flourish in future.
So, instead of framing National Telecom Policy 2018, the government should make an about turn and look at Digital Convergence Policy 2018 as this will have a long term impact on India’s digital economy and will act as catalyst to help India leapfrog to $10 trillion economy by 2030.