New policy seeks $100-bn FDI in telecom space by 2022: Manoj Sinha

The foreign direct investment (FDI) in the telecom sector rose to $6.2 billion in the last financial year, a near five-fold increase from $1.3 billion in 2015-16, Union Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha said Tuesday. 

He further said the new sectoral policy in works envisages the FDI in the telecom space to reach $100 billion by 2022.  

"Foreign direct investment would be key to unleash the potential of upcoming modern technologies. FDI in the telecom sector has jumped nearly five times in the last three years from $1.3 billion in 2015-16 to $6.2 billion in 2017-18," Sinha said at a seminar on 'FDI in Telecom Sector'. 

The minister added that the government is keen on facilitating the rollout of 5G services in India at par with the world in 2020 which will play a key role in harnessing new emerging technologies like machine-to-machine communications, internet of things, artificial intelligence, etc.  

He said keeping all the future technologies in mind and their potential, draft National Digital Communications Policy (NDCP) 2018 has been formulated. 

The new telecom policy is likely to be placed before the Cabinet for approval on Wednesday, according to official sources.  

"We need massive investments in developing newer technologies which are accessible and affordable for the people. We are poised to become the third largest economy in the world over the next two decades. It is the most opportune moment for the investors across the world to invest in India," Sinha said.

He said there have been some upheaval in the last 2-3 years with mergers and acquisitions and a couple of unfortunate insolvency proceedings but "worst is now behind us".

"As we move from telecom to digital India, it is pertinent to mention that the draft Digital Communications Policy 2018 aims to attract of $100 billion in the sector. India has announced plans to launch 5G service by 2020 which provides big investment opportunity," Sinha said.

Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan said the sector has been a poster of the Indian economy in the past and once of the sector stabilised from the current financial stress situation, it will regain the same status.

"If we put our act together, we can attract $100 billion FDI and enhance share of telecom sector in GDP from 6.35 per cent to 8 per cent," Sundararajan said.

Department of Telecom Special Secretary N Sivasailam said that if the telecom companies in the country want to grow they need to look at investing in overseas markets as well.

"We have players from other markets present in India but we don't have presence there. Our investments aborad will leverage debt. That is how wealth is created. It is time to look into it," Sivasailam said. 

Dear Reader,

Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.

We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel