The new policy envisages an investment of $100 billion in the communications industry by 2022.

 

The new telecom policy is going to revive the telecom sector, which witnessed turbulent days and major job cuts in the last few years, although it may not remain the ‘sunshine’ sector of the country anymore, as was the case earlier, according to industry sources.

According to a latest report on online hiring activity, the telecom sector recorded a growth of 22% in April-June quarter on month-on-month basis. The Monster Employment Index report, however, says that the telecom sector is treading cautiously following job losses and lay-offs.

Industry sources said the new telecom policy has many good features, which may lead to a revival of the sector by early next year. It envisages an investment of $100 billion in the communications industry by 2022.

A CIEL HR Services report, released last year, had predicted that as many as 80,000 to 90,000 people might lose jobs in the telecom sector. The report was prepared on the basis of a survey among around 100 senior and mid-level employees of 65 telecom and software and hardware service providers to the telecom companies.

Speaking to The Sunday Guardian, CIEL CEO Aditya Narayan Mishra said though there is no fresh report, it appears the worst has already happened. Whatever we have predicated at that time, has come true in the last few months. He, however, said it was ‘short-term impact’ of the problems going on in the sector.

“In the long term, the telecom sector is again going to revive. There are many good things happening in this sector. For example, India has become the largest country in data consumption. The telecom companies too are doing optimisation. Moreover, much technological advancement is happening in the sector, so it has got a lot of opportunities. As per our study, as many as 50% of the people who lost jobs in the sector, may come back in the coming few months,” Mishra said, adding that many of those who left the telecom jobs are seeking opportunities outside or have joined other sectors.

An industry source said the government is also concerned about the job losses in the telecom sector and therefore its first focus will be to stabilise the sector. The new policy, he said, is a big step in this direction.

Top priorities of the new policy include getting broadband connections for everyone, reaching out to the marginalised communities and unconnected areas. Besides, the new policy aims at ensuring that the citizens and key developmental institutions at the grassroots level are connected via broadband. The Telecom Commission has approved 1 million WiFi hotspots by December 2018.

Sources said the trouble in the sector was triggered by 2G scam. The situation further deteriorated after the Supreme Court judgment six years ago in which all the 2G licences granted by the then Telecom Minister A. Raja were cancelled.

“That gave a body blow to the sector, which was teeming with activities and had given large number of employment to the people. There was good competition as there were many telecom players in the market,” said sources. 

In March 2015, the biggest spectrum auction fetched Rs 1.10 lakh crore. Before the government could reap the benefits, the auction left telecom companies with broken finances.

The second spectrum auction in 2016 failed to generate enthusiasm among the industry leaders and ended up with a paltry sale of Rs 65,000 crore against the target of Rs 5.6 lakh crore.

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