(Online Course) Contemporary Issues for IAS Mains 2012: Yojana Magazine - Draft National Telecom Policy, 2011

Yojana Magazine

Non Governmental Organizations - Draft National Telecom Policy, 2011

What is the necessity of a new telecom policy?

Earlier telecom policy was announced in 1999 at a time when India had just entered into the area of mobile telephony and the total number of mobile phone users in India was limited to only around 20 lakhs. Over
the decade, the telecom sector in India has undergone sea change particularly after incoming calls were made free as India emerged as the fastest growing mobile market in the world. Today there are around 90 crore mobile phone connections in India. Future of mobile telephony market in India is still promising and expanding every day. This necessitated introduction of a new set of guide lines with pragmatic vision and scope.

What are the objectives of National Telecom Policy (NPT) 2011?

The primary objective ofNTP-2011 is maximizing public good by making available affordable, reliable and secure telecommunication and broadband services across the entire country. The main thrust of the Policy
is on the multiplier effect and transformational impact of such services on the overall economy. It recognizes the role of such services in furthering the national development agenda while enhancing equity and inclusiveness. Direct revenue generation would continue to remain a secondary objective.NTP-2011 also recognizes the predominant role of the private sector in this field and the consequent policy imperative of ensuring continued viability of service providers in a competitive environment. Pursuant to NTP-2011, these principles would guide decisions needed to strike a balance between the interests of users/consumers, service providers and government revenue. Point wise we can put these objective in following concrete terms:

The National Telecom Policy-2011 envisions providing the people of India, secure, reliable, affordable and high quality converged telecommunication services anytime, anywhere. Some of the important objectives of
the policy include:

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  1. Increase in rural tele density from the current level of around 35 to 60 by the year 2017 and 100 by the year 2020.

  2. Provide affordable and reliable broadband on demand by the year 2015 and to achieve 175 million broadband connections by the year 2017 and 600million by the year 2020 at minimum 2Mbps download speed and making available higher speeds of at least 100Mbps on demand.

  3. Provide high speed and high quality broadband access to all village panchayats through optical fiber by the year 2014 and progressively to all villages and habitations.

  4. Promote indigenous R&D, innovation and manufacturing that serve domestic and foreign markets.

  5. Promote the domestic production of telecommunication equipment to meet 80 percent Indian telecom sector demand through domestic manufacturing with a value addition of 65 percent by the year 2020.

  6. Provide preferential market access for domestic ally manufactured telecommunication products including mobile devices, SIM cards with enhanced features etc. with special emphasis on Indian products for which IPRs reside in India to address strategic and security concerns of the Government, consistent with international commitments.

  7. Strive to create One Nation - One License across services and service areas.

  8. Achieve One Nation - Full Mobile Number Portability and work towards One Nation - Free Roaming.

  9. To reposition the mobile phone from a mere communication device to an instrument of empowerment that combines communication with proof of identity, fully secure financial and other transaction capability, multi-lingual services and a whole range of other capabilities that ride on them and transcend the literacy barrier.

  10. Deliver seamless ICT, multimedia and broadcasting services on converged networks for enhanced service delivery to provide superior experience to customers.

  11. Optimize transmission of services to consumers irrespective of their devices or locations by Fixed-Mobile Convergence thus making available valuable spectrum for other wireless services.

  12. Facilitate consolidation in the converged telecom service sector while ensuring sufficient competition.

  13. Mandate an eco system to ensure setting up of a common 16 YOJANA November 2011 platform for interconnection of various networks for providing non-exclusive and non-discriminatory access.

  14. Promote an eco system for participants in VAS industry value chain to make India a global hub for Value Added Services (VAS).

  15. Ensure adequate availability of spectrum and its allocation in a transparent manner through market related processes. Make available additional 300MHz spectrum for International Mobile Telephony (IMT) services by the year 2017 and another 200MHz by 2020.

  16. Strengthen the framework to address the environmental and health related concerns pertaining to the telecom sector.

  17. Encourage adoption of green policy in telecom and incentives use of renewable resources for sustainability.

  18. Protect consumer interest by promoting informed consent, transparency and accountability in quality of service, tariff, usage etc.

  19. Encourage recognition and creation of synergistic alliance of public sector and other organisations of Department of Telecommunications (DoT) through appropriate policy interventions.

  20. Achieve substantial transition to new Internet Protocol (IPv 6) in the country in a phased and time bound manner by 2020 and encourage an ecosystem for provision of a significantly large bouquet of services on IP platform.

  21. Put in place a web based, real time e-governance solution to support online submission of applications for all services of DoT and issuance of licences and clearances from DoT

How will it benefit mobile users?

Users will not have to pay roaming charges and mobile number portability will be available nationwide. The policy envisages a `one nation-one license’ regime. Companies will not have to apply for separate licences in every circle/service area and users will not have to pay roaming charges. A single license will do across all the 22 service areas in the country. The policy will allow mobile operators to share, pool and trade spectrum. Spectrum will in fact, be delinked from licences in future and priced atmarket value. In the existing policy, start up spectrumof 4.4MHz is bundled with the licence.

How will it affect service providers and operators?

The department of telecommunications (DoT) will unveil an exit policy for operators. It has been referred to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) for formulation. That should aid consolidation in the industry, which has 12.13 players in each circle. DoT will also seek TRAI recommendations on the new licensing framework and migration of licences. An additional 300MHz of spectrum will be made available by 2017 and another 200MHz by 2020. The telecom sectionwill get infrastructure status under the new policy.

The Communication and Information Technology Ministry will ensure adequate availability of spectrum and its allocation in transparent manner through market-related processes. It will prepare a roadmap for the availability of additional spectrum every five years. DoT had started work on the new telecom policy 2011 from January this year in the wake of the 2G spectrum allocation controversy. It is feared that operators battling intense competition and low tariffs will be hit by the end of roaming charges. According to industry estimates, roaming charges account for eight percent of telecom players’ revenues

What are the key features of the draft NTP 2011?

The policy unveiled against the backdrop of the series of scams involving politicians as well as top executives of the telecom companies, is set to focus on transparency and quick decision in the sector. One of the key features of theNTP-2011 could be the strengthening of the grievance redress mechanism for telephone users by giving ample power to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). A separate cell is likely to be created under the TRAI where subscribers could file complaints if they are not happy with the response of customer care cells of their operators. The TRAI will be empowered to penalise guilty operators for not addressing subscriber complaints. Currently, the Department of Telecom (DoT) has the authority of imposing penalties on the telecom, while TRAI can give its recommendations on penalties or termination of licence, and the final decision rests with the DoT. Aimed at cleaning up and rejuvenating the sector, the new policy is expected to help attract more foreign investors to the country and plug the digital divide. The new policy will also propose to give infrastructure tag to telecom sector -which would entail tax concessions - so that more investment flows in.


CAPART, The Council for Advancement of People’s Action and Rural Technology, has played an important role in facilitating the process of development in rural India through nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). CAPART is an autonomous body registered in 1986 under the aegis of the Ministry of Rural Development, Govt. of India. The vision of CAPART is to play a catalytic role so as to strengthen the voluntary movement in the country and to facilitate the promotion of innovative rural technologies. For the last 25 years, CAPART has been serving as a catalyst for developmental initiatives in rural areas, strengthening and encouraging NGOs, VOs and CBOs to contribute in the betterment of rural areas. CAPART has been implementing many innovative development projects under different schemes through a strong network of government and non-government organizations to reach all rural areas specially the backward areas of rural India.

Vision and Mission of CAPART

  • The Vision of CAPART is to play a dynamic and catalytic role with the various governmental agencies and NGOs, influence public policy and contribute its share towards the many-sided development of India.

  • The Mission of CAPART is to work in close coordination with the rural NGOs and empower them by

  • Engaging them in dialogue

  • Respecting their thoughts and ideas

  • Listening to their voice

  • Harnessing their resources

  • Funding their activities

  • Strengthening their hands, particularly the women, the weaker sections of rural society and the disabled and other underprivileged sections of rural society.

  • Walking hand-in-hand with them on the road to rural prosperity.

Schemes of CAPART to Support NGOs in Rural Areas

In order to address the issues of rural development, as per its mandate, CAPART has supported different projects under its schemes which may generically be grouped as follows:

Public Cooperation (PC)

Public Cooperation Scheme is one of the popular and important schemes of CAPART by virtue of its multi-dimensional approach. The purpose of the Scheme is to involve the community in designing, planning, implementation, monitoring, evaluation and maintenance of assets created under the projects. The activities under the Scheme focus on the differently advantaged sections of the rural community, with a view to promote and strengthen SHGs, to build their skills through training and to facilitate production of goods as well as their marketability. Exposure of the rural community to appropriate technologies through capacity building is being considered as an inbuilt component of the Public Cooperation Scheme. Projects under this Scheme are implemented through NGOs.

Advancement of Rural Technology Scheme (ARTS)

The Memorandum of Association of the CAPART enunciates that the Council’s vision is to “play a dynamic and catalytic role with the various governmental agencies and NGOs, influence public policy and contribute its share towards the multi dimensional development of Rural India”. The following are the thrust areas under ARTS scheme which CAPART implement through NGOs in the rural areas.

  • To strengthen existing institutions of research and develop or set up institutions, so as to develop national level institutions on matters of rural interest.

  • To act as a catalyst for development of technology appropriate for the rural areas, by identifying and funding research and development efforts and pilot projects by different agencies and institutions, particularly voluntary organizations.

  • To act as a conduit for transfer of appropriate technology to Government Departments, public sector undertaking, voluntary agencies and members of public to encourage adoption of modern techniques and appropriate technology in rural development.

  • To collaborate with other institutions, associations and societies in India or abroad including concerned international agencies-constituents of the U.N. system interested in similar objects.

  • To create awareness amongst rural people and provide a series of escort services to them through the NGOs on matters relating to Intellectual Property Right (IPR) issues in the context of WTO and assist them by protecting their knowledge-base, time honoured inherent and patent rights and all matters connected therewith. The goals and focused areas of this scheme, implemented through NGOs are: -

  • Community Based Rehabilitation Projects (CBR) based on local conditions and cultures which enable the expansion of CBR coverage as an important means of achieving equalization of opportunities for people with disabilities in rural areas.

  • CAPART has recognized seven established organizations in the field as Facilitation Centres for aiding the CBR programme.

  • Elimination of attitudinal, cultural and physical barriers, which limit the access of rural people with disabilities to facilities, services, information and development programme in the rural areas, is one of the key objectives of the Disability Action Scheme Administered by CAPART.

  • To bridge the gap between corporate sector and social sector CAPART, in collaboration with CII attempted to establish an interactive platform for dialogue between NGOs and other corporate funding organizations so as to provide good opportunities to NGOs and Corporate to show common interest to expedite the development process at grass root level and meet the objectives of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR);

  • CAPART has attempted to institutionalize and formulate the framework to estimate the level of potential for CAPART’s project to align with Government of India’s National Action Plan forClimate Change (NAPCC). The focuswas to develop appropriate guidelines and practitioner’s tool-kit for appraisal and approach so as to align climate response with CDM in the current and proposed areas of intervention for CAPART. The purpose was to disseminate the findings to NGOs who may adopt the toolkit and approach to avail of carbon credits;

  • CAPART has institutionalized and developed the frame work and norms for holding Gram Shree Melas;

  • CAPART has formulated action plans to identify NGOs for Scouting, documentation/ validation and patenting/piloting and up-scaling of rural technologies and innovations;

  • Through DST assisted workshops, CAPART has analyzed the perceived needs of the local areas for rural technological interventions through local S&T network;

  • CAPART also promotes studies on the current issues of the third sector;

  • CAPART has lately initiated comprehensive IT web based applications for its stakeholders, namely NGOs and within the organization.

Process of Implementation

NGOs which intend to take up projects from CAPART have to submit detailed project proposal in the prescribed format along with organizational profile. The proposals should be need based and beneficiary oriented. It is mandatory that the category wise list of beneficiaries is mentioned properly in the proposal. The proposals are scrutinized and after fulfilling the criteria laid down in the policy guideline these proposals are subjected to pre funding appraisal by external institutional monitors to assess the feasibility of the proposal. CAPART has a three tier system ofmonitoring and evaluation for different project proposals supported by CAPART. All projects are subject to Pre Funding, Mid Term and Post Evaluation by empanelled institutional monitors to review the physical and financial achievements under the projects.

To improve and adopt a more transparent system in the Council, CAPART has taken an initiative to adopt an online application system for submission of proposals whereby the NGOs have been encouraged to submit their viable project proposals online. An NGO is to be registered with the NGO – Portal System and then submit their proposal for support. This system is expected to facilitate the local NGOs to obtain the latest status of their project proposal online.


The relevance of the voluntary sector has been widely acknowledged by policy planners. Since its inception, CAPART has supported nearly 27,000 projects and 12,000 NGOs across the country. Some of the NGOs which were supported by CAPART in their nascent stage have demonstrated their presence in policy making and in developing unique strategies for delivering services and benefits in the rural areas. NGOs are also playing an important role in creating awareness amongst the rural masses with respect to various flagship development progammes of the government, through advocacy, dissemination of information as well as sensitization of the rural population.

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