Telecom connectivity to bridge rural-urban divide: PM

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New Delhi, Dec 4(ANI): Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on Friday said that all the 2,50,000 Gram Panchayats in the country will be provided high speed broadband connectivity by 2012 to remove asymmetry of information and opportunities to the rural population.

The Prime Minister was speaking at the closing ceremony of "India Telecom- 2009" in the national capital.

Assuring the auction of 3G spectrum, Singh said that this spectrum will be allocated at a market determined price rather than an administered one.

While, lauding the setting up of seven telecom centers of excellence by DOT in public private partnership mode, he said that sustained competitiveness requires a strong research and development efforts.

The Prime Minister also expressing concern on the slow growth of the telecom manufacturing sector, and called for using various fiscal incentives provided by the Government to attract potential investors.

Speaking on the occasion, Union Communications and Information Technology Minister A. Raja said that telecom sector is recognized as one of the major drivers of the growth of Indian economy as it is contributing about 5.6 per cent in GDP.

"Indian economy registered 11per cent rise in FDI, despite the global recession and liquidity crunch," he added.

The Minister further said that it also attracted 2558 million dollar FDI in 2008-09 as compared to 1261 million dollar in 2007-08, which is about 10 per cent of the total FDI inflow in the country during 2008-09.

Enlisting the achievements of the telecom department, the Minister said that target of 500 million of telephone connections was scaled in September 2009, much ahead of the scheduled time of December 2010. (ANI)

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