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Will be taking TDDF from Rs 500 crore annual allocation to Rs 3,000-4,000 crore

The government is planning to increase allocation for localised research and development (R&D) activities from the telecom technology development fund (TTDF) to Rs 3,000-4,000 crore per year soon.

“A telecom technology development fund was established in October 2022 with Rs 500 crore annual allocation. We will be taking this to Rs 3,000-4,000 crore per year so that funds will be available to the entire industry,” communications minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said at the CII Global Economic Policy Summit on Thursday.

On October 1, the government launched the fund to support R&D in rural-specific communication technology applications as well as promote technology ownership, indigenous manufacturing, and creation of intellectual property for telecom products and solutions.

As per the scheme, domestic companies, startups, academic institutions, and micro, small and medium enterprises which are working on telecom technologies can avail the benefits.

The funds for such activities will be provided by the government from the universal services obligation fund (USOF), in which telecom companies contribute about 5% of their annual collection.

“You can come up with you ideas, new solutions, begin from an idea and come up to a product level. Already many people have got advantage of that,” he said.

When asked about the potential of country’s own 4G and 5G technology stack, Vaishnaw said the government has received enquiries from about eight large telecom operators all over the world to use the stack.

Over the next two to three years, Vaishnaw sees the country as one of the largest exporters of telecom products.

In a bid to boost the manufacturing of telecom equipments, recently the government also announced the creation of five task forces for developing the component ecosystem in the country, developing some chipsets (used in radio equipments) and bringing them into production, developing highly skilled designers and workers in the telecom sector, and for simplifying testing and certification of equipments. Financial Express

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