Communications Sector is major essential infrastructure for socio-economic development in our increasingly knowledge-intensive world. Telecom services have reached to all regions of the country has become an integral part of an innovative and technologically-driven society. India is currently the world’s second-largest telecommunications market with a subscriber base of 1189.28 million (of which mobile telephone connections are 1168.32 million and landline telephone connections are 20.96 million). The overall tele density in the country is 90.23%. While the rural teledensity is currently 57.01%, the urban teledensity stands at 160.87% at the end of July, 2019. (Source-Ministry of Communication & Information Technology). The telecom services play a crucial factor to realize the socio-economic objectives in India.
Ministry of Communications and Information Technology is headed by a Cabinet rank Minister having exemplary track record and assisted by a Minister of State. It has established a vision to provide secure, reliable affordable and high quality converged telecommunication services anytime, anywhere for an accelerated inclusive socio-economic development. It has set out with a Mission to develop a robust and secure state-of-the-art telecommunication network providing seamless coverage with special focus on rural and remote areas for bridging the digital divide and thereby facilitate socio- economic development; create an inclusive knowledge society through proliferation of affordable and high quality broadband services across the nation; reposition the mobile device as an instrument of socio-economic empowerment of citizens; make India a global hub for telecom equipment manufacturing; promote development of new standards to meet national requirements; attract investment, both domestic and foreign and promote creation of jobs.
Accordingly, the Department of Telecom has initiated policies for the accelerated growth of the telecommunication services where the Digital Communications Commission is vested with administrative and financial powers of the Government of India to deal with:
- Formulating the policy of Department of Telecommunications for approval of the Government;
- Preparing the budget for the Department of Telecommunications for each financial year and getting it approved by the Government;
- Implementation of Government's policy in all matters concerning telecommunication.
PRINCIPAL FUNCTIONS OF THE MINISTRY
- Policy, Licensing and Coordination matters relating to telegraphs, telephones, wireless, data, facsimile and telematic services and other like forms of communications.
- International cooperation in matters connected with telecommunications including matters relating to all international bodies dealing with telecommunications such as International Telecommunication Union(ITU), its Radio Regulation Board (RRB), Radio Communication Sector (ITU-R), Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T), Development Sector (ITU-D), International Telecommunication Satellite Organization (INTELSAT), International Mobile Satellite Organization (INMARSAT), Asia Pacific Telecommunication (APT).
- Promotion of standardization, research and development in telecommunications.
- Promotion of private investment in Telecommunications.
- Financial assistance for the furtherance of research and study in telecommunications technology and for building up adequately trained manpower for telecom programme, including-
- assistance to institutions, assistance to scientific institutions and to universities for advanced scientific study and research; and
- grant of scholarships to students in educational institutions and other forms of financial aid to individuals including those going abroad for studies in the field of telecommunications.
- Procurement of stores and equipment required by the Department of Telecommunications.
- Digital Communications Commission.
- Telecom Regulatory Authority of India.
Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal and Administration of Laws in respect of ; The Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 ,The Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act, 1933 and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997.
- Indian Telephone Industries Limited.
- Post disinvestment matters relating to M/s Hindustan Tele printers Limited.
- Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited.
- Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited.
- Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited and Telecommunications Consultants (India) Limited.
- All matters relating to Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DOT) and Residual work relating to the erstwhile Department of Telecom Services and Department of Telecom Operations, including matters relating to cadre control functions of Group 'A' and other categories of personnel till their absorption in Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited and Administration and payment of terminal benefits.
- Execution of works, purchase and acquisition of land debitable to the capital Budget pertaining to telecommunications. Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules,1961 as on 07-08-2017
Acts and Rules /Subordinate Legislations: Indian Telegraphic Act, 1885, Indian Telegraph Rule
India Wireless Act, 1933, Information Technology Act, 2000 and Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), Act, 1997
Organisation & Units
- Statutory Bodies – Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) and Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI)
- Attached Bodies & Subordinate Offices- Telecommunication Engineering Center (TEC), Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) and Wireless Monitoring Offices.
Field Offices- Director General Telecom and Controllers of Communication Accounts (CCA)
Autonomous Bodies- Centre for Development of Telematics (C-Dot), Training Institutes- National Telecommunication Institute for Policy Research, Innovation and Training (NTIPRIT) and National Institute of Communication Finance (NICF),Public Sector Undertaking- Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited( MTNL), Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL), Telecommunications Consultants India Limited (TCIL) and Indian Telephone Industries Limited (ITI)
Telecom & Spectrum Licencing
- Access Services, Carrier Services, Data Services, Unified License, Licensing Finance, Wireless Planning and Coordination (WPC) & Spectrum Management and wireless Planning & Finance.
Wings & Divisions
- Building Works, International Co-operation, Networks & Technologies, International Relations,Vigilance and Foreign Investment Policy & Promotion (FIPP).
- Procurement Projections, FDI Policy in Telecom, FDI Inflow, Investment Facilitation Centre, Telecom Equipment and Manufacturing
MISSING ASPECTS RELATED TO THE MINISTRY
- Annual Reports & Periodical Publication of Journals and Magazines.
- Research and Development.
- Action Plan related to development of new standards to meet country’s requirement
- Short and Long-terms Strategies for creation of new employment opportunities in the sector.
- Reforms in the sector to provide secure, reliable, affordable and high quality services.
CHALLENGES AHEAD FOR THE COMMUNICATION MINISTRY
- Generation of World Class Technical Human Resources to build competitive infrastructure.
- Cyber Security issues
- Lack of Regulatory and Legal Framework for Broadcasting Standards.
- Optimisation of Spectrum utilisation at par with global standards.
- Penetration of Communication and IT into the rural and semi-urban areas to realize digitalisation of the Country.
- Disposal Management of eWaste emanated out of the usage of IT and Communication hardwares.
- IT & Communication sector should engage in Research on Innovation in the control of social media networks due to increased threats due to its influence and popularity amongst the younger generation group due to Risks of identity theft, protection of privacy, exposure to undesirable web links etc.
- Research on environmentally friendly practices and the safe disposal of eWaste Management.
- Security of data and computer networks and establish a secured and reliable access for users.
- Outsourcing non-core functions such as network maintenance, IT operations and customer service.
- Divestment of tower assets into separate companies to curb costs and focus on core operations.
- Deploy its optimum technology potential to participate in the Management of fool-proof Security, Law & Order, Crime detection, etc. integrating all the agencies concerned through its infrastructure.
- Disaster Recovery Management and Business Continuity Strategies involving other critical sectors.
- Expansion of IT and Communication infrastructure into Deep-Sea (Oceanography) deploying satellite communication in the event of wreckage, missing and natural disasters affecting for Fishermen community.
- Engagement of IT and Communication Infrastructure in the exploration of Natural Resources.
- Employment Generation in IT & Communication Sector and make it self-sufficient in Manpower.