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“Policy Interventions, Banking Sector Support, Ease of Doing Business to Boost Telecom Industry”: KR Mangalam Birla

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Kumar Birla said that a strong industry is essential to accelerate the achievement of Digital India vision.

Government has taken policy interventions to boost telecom sector and ease of doing business as well as further measures in support of banking sector will enhance the strength of the industry and ensure that India remains at the cutting edge of global technology trends, Aditya Birla Group Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla said this on Wednesday.

Speaking at the India Mobile Congress event, Birla promised that Vodafone Idea Limited (VIL) will be a “committed partner” as India takes swift steps to achieve the vision of a trillion-dollar digital economy.

Aditya Birla Group holds over 27 per cent stake in VIL, while Vodafone Plc holds over 44 per cent stake in the telecom operator. During his address Kumar Mangalam Birla further said that a strong industry is essential to invest and accelerate the achievement of Digital India Vision.

“Over the past few months, the government has made some significant policy interventions in this direction. Further steps in support of the ease of doing business and banking sector will significantly enhance the strength of the sector and ensure that India is a global technology leader. continues to be a leader in the trend,” Birla said.

He said the mobile industry will play a “crucial” role in India’s vision of becoming a $5 trillion economy by 2025, of which $1 trillion will be contributed by the digital economy. He said that India’s digital communications policy emphasizes on leveraging advanced technologies such as Internet of Things, Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Edge and Cloud computing.

“As we accelerate this digital transformation, we need to collectively address the need for continued investment to enable the journey towards 5G, Industry 4.0 and beyond,” he said. Birla termed the mobile phone as a “telling symbol” of India’s transformation.

The mobile industry has been the growth engine of the country, which has placed India among the top five economies of the world, he said, adding that it has played a transformative role in touching every aspect of people’s lives.

The telecom industry has come a long way, he said, adding that it has attracted the second largest investment in private infrastructure in India.

“The sector has also seen the highest FDI inflows in the last two decades. This huge investment is meeting the mobility needs of over a billion Indians across five lakh villages. More significantly, despite these substantial investments, the voice And Indian telecom charges for data remain the lowest in the world,” he said.

With the dramatic development of the Internet and the increasing penetration of smartphones, the transformative impact of the telecommunications sector has multiplied and is now “ubiquitous”. Wireless broadband infrastructure continues to be the cornerstone of the development of digital services in the country.

Birla observed that mobile internet has given birth to a new wave of entrepreneurial energy and India has added around 38 unicorns so far this year.

“The telecom sector saw a tremendous impact during the pandemic, as seamless telecommunications services not only connected the country but also enabled an unprecedented digital transition of the economy. This led to a dramatic shift in digital payments and even growth. There has been a growing adoption of telemedicine,” Birla said.

Recently, the telecom sector got a shot in the arm with the government approving a blockbuster relief package for the industry, giving companies a four-year break from paying statutory dues, allowing sharing of scarce airwaves, deferring revenue change was involved. What fee is paid, and allows 100% foreign investment through the automatic route.

The aim is to provide relief to companies like VIL, which have to pay thousands of crores in unorganized past statutory dues, including waiving off spectrum usage charges (SUC) for airwaves received in future auctions.

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