Telecommunication has been an important tool for socio-economic development of a nation. Telecommunication industry is considered the backbone of industrial and economic development of the nation. Telecom is needed for rapid growth and modernization of the different sectors of the economy. Telecommunication in India is the fastest growing market in the world. India is currently the second-largest telecommunications market in the world. The rapid growth is substantially contributing to India’s gross domestic product. As per Mobile Economy 2015 report, the industry has been a major contributor to India’s growth accounting to 6.1 per cent of India’s GDP in 2014.
The telecommunications in India have seen great advancement beyond culture through significant policy reforms with the announcement of the New Telecom Policy 1994 and carried forward under NTP 1999. The policy initiatives drove the phenomenal growth in telecommunication in the last two decades. Telecom in India is a spectacular success after deregulation and liberalization. The degree of achievements stand out compared to other infrastructure sectors such as coals, roads and electricity. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and the government played a strong role for this unqualified success.
The advancements in telecommunication in India can be attributed to regulatory liberalization, structural reforms and competition. The telecom growth can be seen in the unprecedented grown in mobile telephony, the number of mobile subscribers grew from 5,000,000 in the year 2000 to 280,742,532 in June 2015. The figures only validate the importance of access to communication particularly the internet. Internet access opens opportunities for all people connected. It’s a way to get access to information particularly on the issues of health, education, banking, market information and government services.
The only downside to the increasing internet access is the growing use of telecom to commercial sex industry. In India, commercial sex is a multibillion dollar industry which includes adult phone sex services, strip clubs, massage brothels and escort prostitution. Although adult lines are forbidden in India explicit materials and advertisements like the Star Wars Phone Sex Hotline continue to proliferate with the video sharing sites like YouTube. The government required internet service providers to block 857 objectionable websites and the list is growing. Telecom officials said the censorship is meant to control easy access to sexually explicit materials to promote moral decency and protect children. But the ban maybe revised to apply only to sites containing child pornography or depicting dangerous sexual scenarios. This moved was done after India’s internet user’s fire up on social media with angry rants, accusing the government of infringing personal freedom and moral policing.
Telecommunications in India has been instrumental in creating jobs for talented and knowledgeable IT professionals. India became an important outsourcing destination for the world transforming the economic dynamics. Another sector benefited by the advancement in telecom is the financial services. The growth and progress in the financial industry has been the key factor that drives the real economy. The telecommunication industry in India will continue its growth because of the immense market potential. It still continues to be the lowest penetrated market with 28.3% population penetration. The increasing government thrust on rural telecom coverage, liberalization, positive reforms and favourable investment climate will help insure that India will realize the high potential in the years to come.