Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister of Communications & Information Technology, Government of India delivered the inaugural address at the 17th edition of FICCI Frames 2016 in Mumbai. The three day event this year has the theme --- ‘Change or Perish-The Year of Digital’.
Prasad highlighted how the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s initiative of Digital India will contribute $1 trillion to the Indian economy in the next couple of years. It will also provide business opportunity to the tune of $400 billion for electronics manufacturing including mobile phones and solar panels. Another $350 billion opportunity will be presented by the IT and the IT enabled sector and the communication services will provide business opportunity worth $250 billion in the coming years.
He also said that India with its one billion mobile phone connections has overtaken the US to become the second largest mobile phone market in the world after China. The Internet penetration has also reached 400 million in India, 60% of it coming from mobile.
Prasad mentioned that he respects and values this industry, therefore, whatever policy is needed for the growth of this industry it will be implemented as quickly as possible. “I never knew, how India is scaling new heights in IT till the time I became the Minister of Information and Technology. Look at how e-commerce is booming in India, the Indian Postal Department saw huge growth because of e-comm. The aspirational urge of Indians is driving the digital world in a phenomenal way. And the government's job is to create an enabling ecosystem for its growth. In order to bridge the digital divide in the country, there was a need for empowering India digitally. Several initiatives by the Modi government, like Aadhaar card rollout, which already has 990 million people, Make in India, Smart Cities and Skill India already use digital technology in a big way,” he said.
Prasad further added, “Digital India stands for IT + IT = IT, which is Information Talent + Information Technology = India Tomorrow. Indians like to first watch, then adopt, then they start enjoying and later they become empowered. This is the changing mood of the nation. As a Minister, I can ensure an enabling atmosphere for the above thing to happen. There are lot of new avenues coming into the market. Let there be fair competition, when 4G came into the market, I was like I will allow licenses for everyone.”
Commenting on the leadership role in digital technology led by Indian companies like Reliance, Prasad said, “I am very delighted that Mukesh Ambani has come to FICCI Frames with a vision. I also urge the other competitors to do the same in order to improve the quality of telecom service. We at the Government would like the internet to be democratic and global.”
He pointed out that a lot of things are changing, for example, for ecommerce a lot of sales come in from the tier ii and the tier iii markets. Prasad also said that India should create content for global consumption and deliver outstanding content quality. He suggested that the epic stories of Ramayana and Mahabharata should be taken to the world via quality filmmaking. These stories have immense reach; they will not only inspire but entertain people. He stressed on the point that TV rankings must become more fair and reasonable. “I have publicly disapproved of TAM and I am not even impressed with the alternative model (BARC) which has come. How can few 100 of boxes, determine which programme is better and which is not. There should be something more reasonable, fair and structured mechanism to determine the kind of programming and help create quality content,” he cited.
He pointed out that with 250,000 gram panchayats being connected through Optic Fibre Network, the entire country was being brought under the broadband regime.
Prasad said that the Government of India recognises the importance and relevance of promoting the Media and Entertainment Industry. Hence, visa processes were being eased for film shootings. Besides the National Centre of Excellence is also coming up for the M&E Industry and a new film facilitation office will be set up. In addition to this, a new category in National Film Awards – Most Film Friendly State – has been introduced to felicitate the state that provides greater access to the film industry.