Hardware and manufacturing segment to be strengthened: Sibal

New Delhi, Dec 9 (ANI): Union Minister for Communications and Information Technology Kapil Sibal on Thursday called upon all stakeholders to work towards strengthening the hardware and manufacturing segment of the Telecom sector.

"Telecom as the service industry alone cannot continue to contribute to country's GDP at the level it is doing now for long," said Sibal, while inaugurating India Telecom, 2010 here today.

Speaking on the occasion, Sibal underlined the importance of a strong hardware and manufacturing component of the telecom industry for sustainability of this sector's contribution to the economy.

He further underscored that the guidelines and policies need to be prepared in consultation with all stakeholders to ensure that the telecom sector becomes more and more Investor friendly, its penetration and reach increases to provide greater access and tariff remains low so as to offer the services at affordable cost.

India Telecom, 2010 with 'Broadband for All' as the theme of this fifth edition of International Exhibition and Conference organised by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) in association with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), got underway with the Minister's note for a need of paradigm shift in Indian telecom scenario from a mere service industry to a hardware producing country.

The event will provide a forum for promoting broadband for the masses through enterprise and learning. It will also evoke collective efforts of all the stakeholders to promote hardware component of telecom industry along with its service component.

Speaking in this context, Sibal said that telecom sector should not be viewed only as source of revenue generation for boosting country's GDP.

"It should rather be a tool to provide access to information to one and all as their basic right. Broadband and Telecom are the vehicles of empowerment to the society, which will serve as a gateway for information and knowledge," he added.

Kapil Sibal further said technology should not be measured in terms of its ability to enhance revenue.

"The economic and social benefits that accrue to common people and nation as a whole in ensuring inclusive growth through advancement of technology should be a yardstick to judge it," he added.

Speaking on the occasion, Minister of State for Communications and Information Technology Gurudas Kamat said telecommunications has transformed the whole world into a tiny global village today.

"We need to provide broadband on the same scale as mobile phone connection to bring the benefits of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) to all. Studies have shown that every percentage point increase of broadband penetration at state level, employment increases by 0.2 percent to 0.3 percent per year, equivalent to 300,000 jobs nationally," said Kamat.

"In India, studies show Broadband and access to the Internet has the potential to deliver Rs. 9,00,000 crores output growth over 10 years, i.e., Rs. 90,000 crores per year and 68 million jobs," he added.

Department of Telecommunications (DoT) Secretary R Chandrasekhar in his concluding remarks said that sheer enormity of opportunities and challenges available to us for ensuring the growth and penetration of broadband and telecommunications technologies offer promise that technology driven dreams get translated into reality.

He wished that India Telecom, 2010 would prove to be a platform for broader consultation and sharing of knowledge to ensure that these dreams come true. (ANI)

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