On September 24, Union Minister of Communications Ravi Shankar Prasad said that India requires additional foreign direct investment in the telecommunications sector. He noted that the country is the second-largest telecom market in the world. Prasad also said that India needs a blend of “data availability, data utility, data innovation, and data privacy” as this will showcase India as a ‘good country’ for digital commerce and this, in turn, will attract more FDI.

Prasad noted that India had FDI worth US $64 billion (Rs 4.5 lakh crore) in FY2019 of which the telecom sector received US $2.67 billion (Rs 18.9 thousand crores), and electronics, computer software, and hardware received US $6.4 billion (Rs 45.4 thousand crores). The minister had previously said in a written reply in the Lok Sabha that FDI in the telecom sector went down by 43% in FY2019, but he did not give any reason for the decline.

Global players should work with Indian brands: Comparing the Indian tax regime to Vietnam and Thailand’s, Prasad said that India offered a huge market and manufacturing site to companies like Apple. He further noted that Apple has started production in India. Apple is planning to invest Rs 1000 crores in the Indian market. At the roundtable discussion with handset manufacturers earlier this month, he said, “I want a robust presence of Apple and a super robust presence of Samsung in India.”

AI, ML and IoT to contribute in the economy: On the importance of emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and IoT in the Indian ICT sector, Prasad said that they “will contribute over  $1 trillion to the overall planned target of $5 trillion economy by 2024”.

Prasad was speaking at an event organised by the National Institute of Communication Finance (NICF), Department of Telecommunications (DoT), Ministry of Communications in association with Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industry (FICCI).