India merges telecom and IT ministries

CIOL Bureau
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NEW DELHI: The Indian government announced on Saturday the merger of the

ministries of information technology and telecommunications to harness the

potential in the domestic telecoms sector.


"The new merged ministry will have three departments. The posts,

information technology and communications," a spokesman for the ministry

told Reuters. The government has maintained that its decision is in line with

similar moves elsewhere and will result in faster decision-making. India has the

world's eighth largest telecommunications network.

The union cabinet cleared in August the introduction of a convergence bill to

set up a new watchdog body to oversee the Internet, broadcasting and

telecommunications and ensure orderly regulation.

While the telecoms sector was opened to competition in the mid-1990s, growth

has been hobbled by disputes between private players and the government on

revenue-sharing and licensing fees.


India has more than doubled teledensity to 3.7 telephone fixed lines per 100

inhabitants in the past two years and plans to hike the number to seven by 2005

through investments of Rs 1.2 trillion ($25 billion).

Earlier in the year, it opened up the fixed-line sector to unlimited


(C) Reuters Limited.