Overview of the National Digital Communications Policy, 2018
Human life depends upon the interaction with the fellow humans. Even though separated by distinct geographical barriers, people have always found out means to communicate with one another. One of the oldest forms of such connection include transfer of information via letters, telegrams, etc. Evolution of science and improvement of the innovative skills has made the physical presence a non-essential aspect for life like communication. Advancements in the technological arena is evident from the availability of facilities allowing transmission of electronic signals via telephone, internet and television broadcasting.
The Government through its telecom branch enforces polices and guidelines for the regulation of telecommunication in India which is monitored by the Telcom Regulatory of India (hereinafter referred to as “TRAI”) in accordance to the provisions of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997 (hereinafter referred to as “TRAI Act”).
To ensure effective implementation and monitoring of the National Digital Communications Policy-2018, the Government has decided to re-designate the ‘Telecom Commission’, established by the Government of India as the ‘Digital Communications Commission’ vide its resolution dated October 22, 2018.
National Digital Communications Policy – 2018
The Government introduced the National Digital Communications Policy – 2018 (hereinafter referred to as “Policy”) vide its notification dated October 22, 2018 in order to ensure that the advantages of the new technologies are accessible to all equitably and affordably while securing them against existing and emerging threats. With the increasing accessibility and usage of internet within the country, there emerges a need to lay out consistent policies and principles for strengthening India’s long term competitiveness and serve the needs of the aspiring nation. The Policy seeks to promote and protect fair competition across the communications and digital economy sector. It aims to remove procedural barriers and reduce the regulatory burden that hampers investments, innovation and consumer interest while reinforcing the institutional mechanism and legislative framework of the sector.
Objectives of the Policy
The guidelines laid down in the policy aim to create a vibrant competitive telecom market while protecting the consumer interests by providing widest range of services at competitive rates by not compromising with the quality. The objectives of the said policy are listed out as follows:
- Connect India: To promote ‘Broadband for all’ as a tool for socio-economic development, while guaranteeing service quality and environmental sustainability by creating robust digital communications infrastructure;
- Propel India: To harness the power of emerging digital technologies, including 5G, AI, IoT, Cloud and Big Data to enable provision of future ready products and services by encouraging investments, innovation and intellectual property rights by enabling ‘Next Generation Technologies and Services’.
- Secure India: To secure the interests of citizens and safeguard the digital sovereignty of India with a focus on ensuring individual autonomy and choice, data ownership, privacy and security, while recognizing data as a crucial economic resource.
By amending and modifying the structure as well regulatory mechanism controlling the telecommunication in India, the Government has introduced changes in its existing structure focussing on securing India’s economic, social and political interests in the emerging data economy, thereby protecting its ‘digital sovereignty’ encompassing the data privacy, choice and security of its citizens while participating in the global digital economy.