Liberalisation, reforms

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New Delhi, Dec 12 (UNI) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said the country's telecom sector has immensely benefited from the removal of state monopolies, reduction in entry barriers and creation of level playing field.

Speaking at the India Telecom 2007 here, Dr Singh said the liberalisation, reforms and competition have been the key to telecom growth as also for the civil aviation, insurance and asset management sector.

The most important factor for the sectoral growth has been the forward looking and even-handed regulation which has promoted competition and also effective consumer interests, the Prime Minister said.

''All these are important steps whose lessons need to be kept in mind if we have to maintain the current growth momentum into the distant future,'' Dr Singh said.

The Prime Minister said the India growth story has been impressive, but there still exist major constraints in the long-term.

The PM attributed availability of skilled manpower and of the quality infrastructure.

''The infrastructure needs of the country are in excess of 450 billion dollars in the next five years and we need to work towards facilitating investment on such a large, massive scale,'' he said.

Dr Singh said growth in the telecom sector is a critical component of the infrastructure plans and it plays an important catalytic role in the country's development process.

The telecom department has set an ambitious targets of 500 million telephone connections, 40 million Internet connections and 20 million broadband connections by 2010.

''Raising the investments needed for this ambitious plan would be a tremendous challenge for the industry as well as for the country,'' Dr Singh said.

UNI

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