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Why in News?

  • As the present world has entered the era of modern technological advancements in the Telecom Sector such as 5G, IoT, M2M etc.
  •  A need was being felt to introduce a ‘customer focused’ and ‘application driven’ policy for the Indian Telecom Sector, which can form the main pillar of Digital India.
  • Hence the Union Cabinet has approved the National Digital Communications Policy-2018 (NDCP-2018) and re-designation of the Telecom Commission as the “Digital Communications Commission”.

National Digital Communications Policy (NDCP) -2018 :

  • The NDCP-2018 envisions supporting India’s transition to a digitally empowered economy and society by fulfilling the ICT needs of citizens and enterprises by establishment affordable digital communications infrastructure and services.
  •  The ‘Customer focused’ and ‘application driven’ NDCP-2018 shall lead to new ideas and innovations, after the launch of advanced technology such as 5G, IOT, M2M, etc. which shall govern the telecom sector of India.
  • The key objectives of the policy which are to be achieved by 2022 are:
    • Broadband for all;
    • Creating four million additional jobs in the Digital Communications sector;
    • Enhancing the contribution of the Digital Communications sector to 8% of India’s GDP from ~ 6% in 2017;
    • Propelling India to the Top 50 Nations in the ICT Development Index of ITU from 134 in 2017;
    • Enhancing India’s contribution to Global Value Chains; and
    • Ensuring Digital Sovereignty.

Major Features of the Policy:

  •  Provide universal broadband connectivity at 50 Mbps to every citizen
  • Provide 1 Gbps connectivity to all Gram Panchayats by 2020 and 10 Gbps by 2022
  •  Ensure connectivity to all uncovered areas
  •  Attract investments of USD 100 billion in the Digital Communications Sector
  • Train one million manpower for building New Age Skill
  • Expand IoT ecosystem to 5 billion connected devices
  •  Establish a comprehensive data protection regime for digital communications that safeguards the privacy, autonomy and choice of individuals.

Strategy envisioned in the Policy:

  • Establishment of a National Digital Grid by creating a National Fibre Authority;
  •  Establishing Common Service Ducts and utility corridors in all new city and highway road projects;
  •  Creating a collaborative institutional mechanism between Centre, States and Local Bodies for Common Rights of Way, standardization of costs and timelines;
  •  Removal of barriers to approvals; and
  • Facilitating development of Open Access Next Generation Networks.
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