In line with the vision of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of Digital India which aims to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy, the government of India has undertaken a series of initiatives. The National Digital Communications Policy, 2018 seeks to unlock the transformative power of digital communications networks – to achieve the goal of digital empowerment and improved well-being of the people of India; and towards this end, attempts to outline a set of goals, initiatives, strategies and intended policy outcomes.

The main aims of the policy that were planned to be fulfilled by the year 2022 were: provisioning of broadband for all, creating 4 million additional jobs in the Digital Communications sector, enhancing the contribution of the digital communications sector to 8% of India’s GDP from ~ 6% in 2017, propelling India to the top 50 nations in the ICT Development Index of ITU from 134 in 2017, and enhancing India’s contribution to global value chains and ensuring digital sovereignty.

In pursuit of accomplishing these objectives by the year 2022, the National Digital Communications Policy, 2018 envisaged three Missions- Connect India, Propel India and Secure India. The first mission, Connect India, stood for creating a robust digital communication infrastructure. The second mission, propel India ,stood for enabling next generation technologies and services through investments, innovation, indigenous manufacturing and IPR generation. The third mission, secure India, stood for ensuring digital sovereignty, safety and security of digital communications.

This policy was launched in hopes that it 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. In 2020, the policy was revised and the new National Digital Communications Policy 2020 replaced the existing policy. Under the new NDCP 2020, the government planned to provide Digital Communications Infrastructure and Services to the citizens of the country and also to fulfil the needs of latest digital technology and services. NDCP-2020 policy is expected to defiantly increase the effective participation in the global digital economy. Under the National Digital Communications Policy 2020 government planned to provide universal broadband connectivity at 50 Mbps to every citizen.

The initial aim of the policy was to provide 1 Gbps connectivity to all Gram Panchayat and Rural Areas by year 2020 and 10 Gbps Connectivity till 2022. Another target of the National Digital Communications Policy 2020 was to increase contribution of Digital Communications sector in India’s GDP up to 8% of total Gross Domestic product index. NDCP 2018 planned to surely attract the investment up to USD 100 billion and provide training to 1 million youth for developing new technology era.

In order to achieve the goals, set by The National Digital Communications Policy, various new schemes were launched including “GatiShakti Sanchar Portal”, that was launched in 2021. “GatiShakti Sanchar Portal” is a collaborative institutional mechanism between all stakeholders including Central and State/UT Government(s), Local bodies, and Service Providers to facilitate the Right of Way (RoW) Application Process through a single interface. The portal has been developed keeping in view the vision areas of the National Broadband Mission at the core, which are providing broadband infrastructure as a core utility to every citizen, Governance and services on demand, and in particular, digital empowerment of the citizens of the country.

The key objective of the portal is to act as an enabler to the objective of “Ease of doing business” for telecommunications infrastructure works. This portal envisages bringing transparency, accountability and responsiveness to all stakeholders while processing the application. The significance of this portal is to ‘Timely Rollout 5G Network’. The timely disposal of RoW applications of various Service and Infrastructure providers shall enable speedy infrastructure creation which would be an enabler for the timely rollout of the ‘5G Network’ also. Another objective of this portal is to improve the quality of telecom services by laying more optical fibre cables to accelerate fiberization and increase tower density to enhance connectivity and improve the overall quality of various telecom services, which would as a result ensure better broadband speed as well, across the country.

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