Having proven its mettle with its indigenous 4G/5G technology stack, India is set to emerge as a major telecom technology exporter in the next three years, Communications Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw declared on Saturday.
Addressing the Economic Times Global Business Summit 2023, Vaishnaw, who also holds the railway portfolio, categorically ruled out any plans to privatize the mammoth national transporter.
The 5G services were launched on October 1, 2022. Within 100 days, they have been rolled out in 200-plus cities, he pointed out.
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The sheer speed of the rollout has been appreciated by industry leaders globally and was being described in many international forums as the “fastest deployment happening anywhere in the world”, the Minister said.
Vaishnaw highlighted the population-scale solutions being tested on India stack, across platforms such as payments, healthcare and identity.
Each of these platforms was powerful in itself, but together become a dynamic force that can solve “any major problem in the world”.
The Minister said India was poised to emerge as a telecom technology exporter in the next three years.
“Today there are two Indian companies that are exporting to the world… telecom gear. In the coming three years, we will see India as a major telecom technology exporter in the world.”
Vaishnaw spoke about the rapid strides taken by India in developing its own 4G and 5G technology stack.
“The stack is now ready. It was initially tested for 1 million simultaneous calls, then for 5 million, and now it has been tested for 10 million simultaneous calls,” he said. He described it as a “phenomenal success”.
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At least 9-10 countries want to try it out, he added.
The Minister gave a presentation outlining key initiatives under his three ministries: Telecom, IT and Railways.
The Railways’ focus was on transforming passenger experience, he said.
He said the railways were redeveloping stations and terminals with modern and futuristic design blueprint, creating new urban spaces while preserving rich heritage.
The Minister gave an overview on the progress on the bullet train project.
To a question on private freight rail corridors, the Minister said: “There is no programme for railway privatisation.
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“In a country of 1.35 billion people where 8 billion move every year on Railways, we thought it is prudent to learn from the experience of others and keep it within the government set-up,” Vaishnaw said.
“Today, we are adding close to 4,500 km of network every year, which amounts to 12 km of new tracks per day. So, we have to increase the capacity to such a large extent that there is enough capacity for foodgrains, enough for coal, small parcels, and every kind of cargo,” he said.
While the railways had been consistently losing market share over 50-60 years, it had now started to claw its way back.
“The lowest point was 27 per cent. Last year this increased to 28 per cent, this year we are doing close to 29-29.5 per cent, and in the coming 2-3 years the Railways will go towards a 35 per cent market share.”
“The country will have enough for everybody… Up to 250 km, road is very good, 250 to 1,000 km railway is the ideal mode. Beyond 1,000 km air will be the ideal mode,” the Minister said.
(With agency inputs)