What Are Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad’s Top Priorities

The minister for Electronics and IT and Communications, Mr. Ravi Shankar Prasad, took charge today and briefed the media about his immediate priorities for both the industries. This is Prasad’s second term as telecom minister.

He said, on a broader level, his priority will be to create a better synergy between the two industries – IT and telecom – which will make citizen centric services more accessible, meaningful and affordable.

He said his ministry will develop 5 lakh WiFi hotspots on priority basis which was announced earlier. Besides, one lakh digital villages too will be developed on priority.  Digital delivery of services are the corner stone of India’s Digital India program and it will further be expedited.

One more priority will be to ensure the speedy execution of BharatNet that aims to connect 2.5 lakh gram panchayats across the country.

The fourth priority he said will be to set up telecom manufacturing industries.

“We already have a robust electronic and mobile manufacturing set up, now we are going to extend that to telecom manufacturing  which would include other telecom equipments,” Prasad said while addressing the media at Sanchar Bhavanin New Delhi.

The fifth priority he said is to start the 5G trials. Mr Prasad said the 5G trials will start within 100 days from today. The trial spectrum will also be allocated to the stakeholders for such trials.

Revival of BSNL and MTNL is also a top priority for the minister.

“To maintain a health balance in the industry we need a PSU operator in the telecom ministry,” he explained why the revival is a priority. “It is also in the national interest to revive the PSUs.”

At the same breath, the new telecom minister also urged the PSUs that these two operators should also become more professional and more competitive to remain relevant in the changing times.

“This message should be heard by the PSUs very clear and loud,” he added.

On 5G spectrum auction, he said though the recommendations have come from TRAI, he will look deeper into this and will hold few consultations before reaching at a final stage.

This is Mr Prasad’s second term as telecom minister as he served the same portfolio during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first government in 2014. He served that ministry for two years and Manoj Sinha took over the charge in 2016. Sinha lost the election in 2019 General Elections from Ghazipur constituency.

Prasad was also the minister for information and broadcasting during Atal Behari Vajpayee’s government and was credited to bring in lots of reforms in the radio and television industry.

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