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Policy & Regulation
Govt notifies new telecom policy, renames Telecom Commission as Digital Communications Commission
TT Correspondent |  |  30 Oct 2018

The government has renamed the Telecom Commission -- the apex decision making body at the telecom department -- as the Digital Communications Commission and has also notified the new telecom policy.

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) issued a notification on Monday, which said that the government had re-designated the telecom commission with a vision to support “India’s transition to a digitally empowered economy and society”.

The notification added, “To ensure effective implementation and monitoring of the National Digital Communications Policy-2018, the government had decided to re-designate the telecom commission…as the Digital Communications Commission”.

As reported earlier by ET, the remits of the telecom regulator and the Telecom Commission are in the process of being widened that may see them overseeing issues such as data privacy, security and cybercrime, which are currently being looked into by the IT ministry.

These changes which are likely to come through an amendment in laws, underline the fact that consumers access most of their data via mobile phones, and hence the telecom department will need to get involved.

While notifying the policy called the National Digital Communications Policy 2018, the government, “It is hoped that this policy will facilitate the unleashing of the creative energies of citizens, enterprises and institutions in India; and play a seminal role in fulfilling the aspirations of all Indians for a better quality of life”.

The Union Cabinet on September 26 had approved the new policy which aims to create four million jobs, draw around $100 billion of investments into the telecom industry by 2022, boost the sector's contribution to 8% of GDP from 6% in 2017 besides backing the principles of net neutrality.

The new policy is expected to give a thrust to the entire telecom sector and ensure the financially stressed industry is not merely treated as a revenue generator but one that can provide immense socio-economic impetus to the economy.

Under the new telecom policy, the government plans to optimally price spectrum, review levies such as license fees and spectrum usage charge as well as M&A rules to ease exits while also taking a fresh look at spectrum sharing, leasing and trading guidelines, as part of its approach that spectrum is a key natural resource which is to be used for public benefit.

Among the chief aims of the policy is data security of the country. “Safeguarding the digital sovereignty of India with a focus on ensuring individual autonomy and choice, data ownership, privacy and security; while recognizing data as a crucial economic resource,” was listed as one of the main missions of the policy.

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30 Oct 2018(IST)  
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