The Union Communications Minister Pramod Mahajan informed that the Convergence Bill, 2002, will not be tabled in Parliament before next May. BSNL would launch its mobile services in seven Northeastern states by August 15, 2003, he further added.
"We are not in a hurry to place the Convergence Bill. The parliamentary standing committee has submitted its report and lot of issues have been raised... we will take a decision on these by May next year," the minister said while inaugurating the 'Infocom 2002' conference and exhibition at Calcutta. "The basic issue is whether the super regulator, who will control both the content and carriage of information, is desirable or not".
The parliamentary standing committee has left it to the government to take a decision on the issue, he said.
Mahajan added, that since none of the private operators were expected to come up, BSNL would launch its mobile services in the seven Northeastern states by August 15, 2003.
The minister, however, regretted the "lopsided growth" in the IT industry on the domestic front and said "we haven't captured even five per cent of the potential of the sector." Asked about the lack of growth in the hardware sector, he said the country could not achieve much in this field since huge funds were required to put up hardware bases.
Given that the country had the largest scientific workforce who speak English after the US and 300,000 engineers being turned out every year, "we can become the reservoir of knowledge base in the world," he said.
"We may have nine million Net users, nine million cellular phones, 40-42 million fixed line phones, but these are peanuts compared to our total population of one billion," he said.