Lt. Gen. SP Kochhar (Retd), AVSM, SM, VSM, CEO, Telecom Sector Skill Council
Being the world’s second largest telecommunications market, India has achieved significant progress in the past decade and a half. The Indian mobile economy is growing rapidly and is expected to contribute considerably to India’s gross domestic product (GDP).
In fact, the current breakthrough can be attributed to the liberal and reformist strategies of the union government. One of the steps taken by the government includes easy market accessibility to telecom equipment and a fair and proactive regulatory framework that has ensured availability of telecom services to consumers at affordable prices. The deregulation of foreign direct investment (FDI) has made the sector one of the fastest-growing and a top five employment-opportunity-generator in the nation.
Honourable Prime Minister’s grand vision under Skill India mission has encouraged telecom skill development for the sustained overall sector productivity and growth emerging as an absolute necessity for all the verticals of telecom sector, right from manufacturing to services. Skilled labor is an asset for economic take off. The main stakeholders in skill development are: industry (both the service and the manufacturing verticals), labor, academia, and the government.
Efficient labor and necessary capital inputs gear up the economic growth ultimately adding to GNP. And in such an ideal condition, the inflow of FDI becomes easier. More than often, skilled labor contributes much more than those holding white collar jobs in the industry. In fact, it has been observed that the shortage of skilled workforce leads to loss of productivity.
The telecom sector is by nature a very dynamic and fast-moving sector, both in terms of technology and innovations that are infused into it and also in terms of the growing usage, scope, and expectations from the consumers. Telecommunications is like nervous system of a human body; it interconnects different industrial sectors seamlessly and helps them leverage the modern connected and communication-dependent world. Government of India’s new initiatives of Make in India, Digital India, and Smart Cities has further given push to demand for skilled manpower for the telecom sector.
The Make in India initiative has enacted talks about joint collaboration with Chinese organizations that are planning to invest in mobile handset and component manufacturing over the next two years. India has already surpassed 100 million units – a promising sign that India will soon transform into a mobile manufacturing hub for the world. On the employment front, it is evaluated that about 16 lakh jobs across all sectors would be generated by 2020 in perspective of Make in India and Smart Cities as per the KPMG report. We can attribute 15–20% of these jobs to be created by the telecom sector.
The expansion in telecom infrastructure considering new initiative of the government and launch of 4G/LTE will only increase penetration of telecom infrastructure in the country impacting day-to-day life of the consumers. This augers well for the country, industry, consumers, and above all students seeking employment in telecom space. In the near future, mobile manufacturers plan to make India a hub for exporting mobiles across the world and substantial efforts and investment is being infused to Make in India a high-impact success story, further boosting telecom industry impact on growing GDP of the country.
The government flagship NOFN project focused to provide broadband connectivity to 1 lakh gram panchayats (GPs) by the end of 2016 will enable the center to provide e-services and e-applications like e-health, e-banking nationally. Minimum of 100 Mbps bandwidth is to be made accessible at each GP with non-discriminatory access to the network for all categories of service providers. It is said that by 2025, India will have some 700 million users of Internet services with almost 1 billion users of mobile services.
Telecom has today become an
all-pervasive technology cutting across all industrial verticals, thus having a far larger impact on the economy and the life of the consumer. I am happy to state that telecom sector is at the heart of progressive Indian growth story of today and tomorrow!