We will win the world… With these words, Ashwini Vaishnaw, the Union Minister of Communications, Electronics & Information Technology, and Railways, emphasised that the country’s telecom technology sector is ready to take on the high and mighty across the globe.
Vaishnaw said India will become a major exporter of telecom technology in the next 2-3 years, and that the country will break the dominance of top global firms in the coming years. Vaishnaw was speaking at the first edition of this newspaper’s Delhi Dialogues on Saturday. In a freewheeling conversion, the minister said that India has already started getting queries from various countries, including developed nations, about the world-class 4G and 5G stack developed here in the last couple of years.
Vaishnaw was forthright in his responses and played all the difficult questions with a straight bat.
On the controversial issue of the new personal data protection (draft) bill, he dismissed the concerns raised over the government exempting itself from most of the provisions of the proposed law. He said that most of the exemptions given are specific, and each has a clear logic to it. “There are developed western countries that have given many more exemptions than what we have given to ourselves,” he said.
Vaishnaw also dismissed the ‘experts’ who are creating panic over the issue, saying, “I have met people who very deeply understand privacy and privacyrelated regulations, and have worked in the field in other geographies. I must have by now met 90 such experts – real experts.” Defending the draft data privacy bill, Vaishnaw said it is for the first time that citizens’ safety has been kept the central theme of a bill.
The discussion veered to the draft telecom bill, which has created controversies – the primary being the proposal to bring OTT platforms under a licence regime. He, however, hinted that the OTT platforms will have to deal with only “light-touch regulations”.
Vaishnaw wears many hats, and being the railway minister is one of them. He said it is one of the more difficult jobs at hand, and explained financial constraints when asked about restoration of the exemptions taken away during Covid. (The full coverage of the first edition of Delhi Dialogue will appear on Tuesday edition)