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NDCP2018 may get Cabinet nod by July-end: Minister

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NEW DELHI: The India government is hopeful that the New Telcom Policy 2018, which has been rechristened as National Digital Communication Policy 2018 incorporating TRAI’s suggestions to make regulations contemporary, will get the Cabinet approval by July end this year.

“We are hopeful that the Cabinet approval for the National Digital Communication Policy 2018 (NDCP 2018) would come through by July-end,” Communications Minister Manoj Sinha said today while briefing the media on the government’s and his ministry’s achievements over the last four years. He added that the NDCP has some “ambitious goals”.

The NDCP 2018 broadly envisages having more synergies amongst various ministries and other government organisations at a policy level so better coordinated moves could be made to make India’s regulations not only more contemporary, but also help in creating a business-friendly environment in an era when communications and entertainment services are showing high degree of convergence.

The Department of Telecoms, however, in the draft NDCP 2018 put out for public comments, discarded TRAI’s suggestions to make it the converged regulator on the lines of FCC and Ofcom. The process of getting public and stakeholders’ comments on the NDCP 2018 was completed some time back and the Department of Telecoms is in the process of finalizing a draft policy for Cabinet’s direction.

Sinha lauded his ministry’s achievements in bridging the digital divide and to a question from the media said that one of the foremost unfinished programmes is to see the full implementation of PM Modi’s dream project of Digital India.

“Our biggest achievements in the area of telecommunications have been overcoming the pervasive trust deficit through transparent auctions of spectrum and bridging the digital divide in the country by undertaking digital infrastructure projects such as BharatNet on an unprecedented scale,” the minister tweeted after the media briefing.

Dwelling on in-flight connectivity (IFC) and providing communications services aboard aircrafts over Indian space, Sinha said over the next one year the government could be in a position to provide IFC services. 

Asked about government plans to rollout 5G services, the Minister informed that a panel set up in the ministry is looking into the issue and assured that India will “not miss the 5G bus” even if it had missed the 3G and 4G gravy-train.

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