Millennium Post

FDI in telecom up 5-fold in 3 years; new policy targets $100 bn by 2022

New Delhi: The foreign direct investment (FDI) in the telecom sector rose to USD 6.2 billion in the last fiscal, a near five-fold increase from USD 1.3 billion in 2015-16, Union Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha said Tuesday.

He further said the new sectoral policy in works envisages the FDI in the telecom space to reach USD 100 billion by 2022.

"Foreign direct investment would be key to unleash the potential of upcoming modern technologies. FDI in the telecom sector has jumped nearly five times in the last three years from USD 1.3 billion in 2015-16 to USD 6.2 billion in 2017-18," Sinha said at a seminar on 'FDI in Telecom Sector'.

The minister added that the government is keen on facilitating roll out of 5G services in India at par with world in 2020 which will play key role in harnessing new emerging technologies like machine-to-machine communications, internet of things, artificial intelligence, etc.

He said keeping all the future technologies in mind and their potential, draft National Digital Communications Policy (NDCP) 2018 has been formulated.

The new telecom policy is likely to be placed before the Cabinet for approval on Wednesday, according to official sources.

"We need massive investments in developing newer technologies which are accessible and affordable for the people. We are poised to become the third largest economy in the world over the next two decades. It is the most opportune moment for the investors across the world to invest in India," Sinha said.

He said there have been some upheaval in the last 2-3 years with mergers and acquisitions and a couple of unfortunate insolvency proceedings but "worst is now behind us".

"As we move from telecom to digital India, it is pertinent to mention that the draft Digital Communications Policy 2018 aims to attract of USD 100 billion in the sector. India has announced plans to launch 5G service by 2020 which provides big investment opportunity," Sinha said.

Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan said the sector has been a poster of the Indian economy in the past and once of the sector stabilised from the current financial stress situation, it will regain the same status.

"If we put our act together, we can attract USD 100 billion FDI and enhance share of telecom sector in GDP from 6.35 per cent to 8 per cent," Sundararajan said.

Department of Telecom Special Secretary N Sivasailam said that if the telecom companies in the country want to grow they need to look at investing in overseas markets as well.

"We have players from other markets present in India but we don't have presence there. Our investments aborad will leverage debt. That is how wealth is created. It is time to look into it," Sivasailam said.

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