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Convergence 2023

Arvind Bali at Convergence India 2023

Convergence India 2023 is being held in the Capital, March 27-29, 2023.

In the panel discussion on, Connecting the unconnected: Expanding Internet access to remote and rural areas, Arvind Bali, CEO, Telecom Sector Skill Council said, “As far as villages or rural areas are concerned, there are multiple challenges. When it comes to connectivity, it is dependent on fiber, electronic devices also work and if it goes faulty, it should be repaired very quickly. Those are the things that are absolute necessities. As we know that if villagers or people of rural areas have to come to cities to get it repaired, it takes a lot of time. So ultimately the real objective for which we’re providing all these things over there is taken away, even satellites are going to be here and we’d like to provide the base station services getting skilled manpower, trained manpower over there.

What is really required is we need every village should be experts on the provisioning of handheld devices, mobile, computers, iPads, etc. We should also have experts who should go out to repair fiber cut that is they should be knowledgeable about slicing.

So, for all that, we need skilled manpower in rural areas. Our estimate is that every village should have at least two to three people experts. Now that we know we have an expert who knows how to repair or knows how to do the slicing of the fiber or an expert who can just provide an FTTH connection, I think what we need in a village are people who can do all these things together, so that villagers who have problems there can get solutions right there in their village itself. To provide that, we are doing extensive training of youth in rural India. Training and skilling are very important. But the other aspect is that ultimately to ensure that training is provided to the people who cannot be provided in offline mode, we cannot bring everyone into the classroom and train them. We have to find online methods or at least blended learning. We are already reaching out to far plug areas providing skilling, we have special courses which are around even emerging technologies for rural areas. We are coming out with our very next video content that is more in audio-visual mode, which people learn the best. This initiative of having multitasking professionals in every village will be our big break.

We are going to skill more than five lakh youth in the next five years. And there is a ratio between conventional job roles versus emerging job roles. We are feeling that at the village level, even emerging roles as one very big demand and that is where we are working. We also believe that we have to move away from English as a medium, I think we will use our mother tongue, and we are bringing all the courses in their mother tongue so that they can understand it simply. We should enrich it with audiovisual so that they understand it very well. In long term, I think we will even have AR VR content for them. So that way, I think all these initiatives are going to make a big change. From the government’s point of view, on the satellite side, I think a lot of work is going to happen and that the big change will be seen in unconnected areas where fiber is difficult to reach. We already have 8 lakh towers and getting more and more towers is a challenge. Every tower has its ROI so, getting ROI is a big challenge. But through satellites, I think it will improve. And there again government and telecom sector skill council (TSSC) are working on new courses, where skilling and training are required for making the best use of these satellite connectivity.

Telecom is the biggest contributor in bridging the gap in India. We are trying to reach more rural; we also believe that with all this connectivity, life in Tier-3 and Tier-4 will also become better as less migration will happen. All this is possible, when we have well-skilled manpower and the country has already announced 6G and I’m very proud to say that, in 5G, we are using a lot of our networks. Prime Minister Modi has announced that as the 6G is concerned, it will not only be up for network but will be supplied to the rest of the world. So, all these things will happen with the overall participation of not only the urban part of India but also rural India has to participate.”

CT Bureau

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