PM-WANI to boost entrepreneurship and local manufacturing

The PM-WANI Public Wi-Fi model will boost entrepreneurship, local manufacturing and broadband proliferation says T. V. Ramachandran.

Speaking on PM-WANI impact, T. V. Ramachandran, President, BIF said, “Potential for over 20 million employment and entrepreneurship opportunities, besides boosting local manufacturing and broadband proliferation.”

Regarding the viability of PM-WANI Public Wi-Fi model, it needs to be realised that the Union Cabinet, led by the Prime Minister has approved the PM-WANI Policy after due deliberations and suitable assessment of its need, applicability and long-term utility.

“Despite being an affordable option today, mobile data tariffs are rising continuously with media reports indicating a further 30-40% possible rise in the near future. Wi-Fi hotspots would therefore continue to offer a more cost-effective option for the common man and could emerge as an affordable means for mass public connectivity,” stated Ramachandran.

Given the NDCP objective of creating 10 million Public Wi-Fi hotspots by 2022, and with the present number being merely at 0.35 million (all captive in nature), the PM-WANI Policy will result in creation of enormous demand and scope for developing the components for this crucial pan-India activity. This presents a great opportunity to the local manufacturing and supply chain sectors for producing indigenous Wi-Fi equipment to cater to these millions of hotspots, providing a massive impetus to our national mission of ‘Atma-Nirbharta’.

The policy will result in the creation of millions of Wi-Fi hotspots through unlicensed entities without need for registration, payment of licence fees and having onerous statutory obligations thrust upon them. This will proliferate across the country and especially in rural, remote and unconnected areas thereby propelling socio-economic growth by providing employment opportunities for small, local and village-level entrepreneurs (VLEs), the kirana stores, tea-shops and the likes, besides driving inclusion and rural digital connectivity.

“Even by a conservative estimate of each hotspot enabling 2-3 direct and indirect employment opportunities, the creation of 10 million hotspots as per the NDCP Target by 2022, could potentially generate 20-30 million job opportunities in the small and medium scale sectors,” added Ramachandran.

Similar to the UPI interface in digital payments, the PM WANI Policy would enable democratisation of the Public Wi-Fi process, facilitate ‘liberalisation of access’ and great outreach and utility for the public, helping expedite the achievement of the Government’s ‘Digital India’ and ‘Broadband for All’ objectives.

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