k5e0dcg4 mobile phone generic pixabay 625x300 04 January 20

The government plans to reach out to several countries to provide them with technology stacks

New Delhi:

Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Minister of State for Electronics and IT, said on Wednesday that rising data and equipment prices are a concern for the rapid proliferation of digitization.

The comments come against the of a recent hike in the minimum monthly recharge plans of Bharti Airtel, the country’s second-largest telco, by about 57%.

“Rising data costs or device costs are a concern because they are barriers to rapid digitization. Our goal is to get 1.2 billion Indians online by 2025. Today we have 830 million Indians online. We certainly look at There is a question of rising data consumption cost or any rise in device cost,” Chandrasekhar said on the sidelines of Stack India Developers Conference.

The minister said he has yet to look into Airtel’s recent hike in rates for mobile services and will wait for it to be reviewed by telecom regulator Trai.

“We’re definitely talking to Trai, is that it? Is it short-term because of the Russia-Ukraine global problem? Is it long-term? Is it a trend or more of an episodic problem? These are the questions we’re going to ask problem,” Chandrasekhar said.

He also said that due to the Russian-Ukrainian war, global prices have been affected, and the impact of data prices needs to be studied.

The minister said the cost of data and equipment was a barrier to digitization.

“If an operator is going to pick up, then Meity will definitely ask why are they picking up? What is the reason behind it? Is it because of supply chain issues? But it is our mission at Meity to make sure that data remains affordable in India because this is the secret sauce of digitization,” he pointed out. Bharti Airtel has increased the minimum recharge price of its 28-day mobile phone service plan by about 57% to Rs 155 in eight districts including Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and western Uttar Pradesh.

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The company has discontinued its Rs 99 minimum recharge plan, under which it offered 200 megabytes of data and calling at a rate of Rs 2.5 paise per second. In Haryana and Odisha, Airtel is now offering a Rs 155 plan that includes unlimited calls, 1 GB data and 300 SMS.

Alkesh Kumar Sharma, Minister of Electronics and IT, said people should have digital inclusion, talk about digital empowerment and ensure there is no digital divide.

“We should ensure digital connectivity across the country. We should ensure data costs are affordable and create a manufacturing ecosystem that bridges digital technologies by reducing equipment costs,” he said.

Speaking at the conference, the minister said that by March, five to seven countries are expected to sign up to adopt technology platforms in India, such as UPI and Aadhaar, to accelerate digitization. There are 5 to 7 countries worldwide registered (to adopt the platform),” Chandrasekhar said. Countries in Asia, Africa, Europe and South America are expected to sign up, he said.

As part of the G20 presidency government’s mandate, the government plans to provide technology stacks (Aadhaar, UPI, Digi Locker, Co-Win, GeM, GSTN, etc.) to multiple countries and expects Indian startups and system integrators to benefit .

The minister said the Indian tech stack would be available to countries that do not want to spend billions on digitization.

Both Indian and foreign companies can participate in the development of the ecosystem, he said.

(Aside from the title, this story is unedited by NDTV staff and published via a syndicated feed.)

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