India needs strong domestic manufacturing base in electronics, telecom, says PM

PM Manmohan SinghElaborating on use of telecom technologies for modernising systems, PM Manmohan Singh touched upon Telecom Ministry's plan to provide 3G connectivity with computers for students.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said a strong domestic manufacturing base in electronics and telecommunications will mitigate burden of growing imports for the sector.

"India needs to develop a strong domestic manufacturing base in electronics and telecommunications," Singh said in his inaugural address at the industry event 'India Telecom 2013'.

He said by 2020, it is estimated India will be importing electronics products worth about 300 billion dollars, which will be more than the value of the country's imports of petroleum products.

"We need to act now to avoid a situation where we face difficulties in financing these huge imports. India should have manufacturing facilities which result in a balanced trade in electronics products and are a part of global supply chains," Singh said.

Talking about policies in the telecom sector, Singh said National Telecom Policy 2012 has brought clarity on number of issues in the sector.

"I understand that the Department of Telecommunications has already started issuing Unified Licenses and will also shortly issue the Merger and Acquisition guidelines," he said.

The Empowered Group of Ministers early this week firmed up their views on M&A rules and the same has to be placed before cabinet for approval.

Elaborating on use of telecom technologies for modernising systems, Singh touched upon Telecom Ministry's plan to provide 3G connectivity with computers for students.

"Combining a computer with 3G connectivity can revolutionise the delivery of education. Students can learn the subject of their choice from quality teachers without leaving the place of their residence. I am told that the Telecom Commission is working on such possibilities and I wish them all success in this noble endeavour," he said.

The Ministry is learnt to be in process of developing a project under which a tablet PC will be given to students with 3G connection. But the proposal is yet to receive nod of inter-ministerial panel Telecom Commission after which it may have to seek approval of Cabinet for final implementation.

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