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FDI in telecom at Rs33,957 crore since 2007-08

New Delhi: The government today said total foreign direct investment (FDI) in the telecom sector since 2007-08 till August this year stood at Rs33,957 crore, reports PTI.

“The total FDI inflow in the telecom sector during the past three years and the current year (April-August 2010) stands at Rs33,957 crore,” minister of state for communications and information technology Sachin Pilot said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.

The FDI stood at Rs5,103 crore in 2007-08, Rs11,727 crore in 2008-09, Rs12,338 crore in 2009-10 and Rs4,789 crore in April-August 2010 period, he added.

Responding to another question, Mr Pilot said the number of BlackBerry connections stood at 10.33 crore as on 30 September 2010.

This is against a user-base of 9.59 crore users in 2007-08, 13.06 crore in 2008-09 and 19.25 crore users in 2009-10.

To another query, the minister said a pilot project of a Centralised Monitoring System (CMS) is likely to be started in about three months from the approval by Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA).

CMS is will strengthen the security environment in the country as it will help central and state level law enforcement agencies to intercept and monitor communication.

Asked if the government was taking steps to revive state-owned Indian Telephone Industries Ltd (ITI), Mr Pilot said, "The government has decided to continue the policy of reserving 30% work orders for BSNL and MTNL for a further period of two years."
ITI incurred losses of Rs356 crore (in 2007-08), Rs662 crore (in 2008-09), Rs459 crore (in 2009-10) and Rs124 crore (up to September 2010).

Mr Pilot added that the company has also set up joint ventures (JVs) and special purpose vehicles (SPVs)for manufacturing new products like WiMax equipment, apart from discharging liabilities to the tune of Rs2,820 crore from ITI's balance sheets.

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Kapil Sibal gets telecom portfolio as ‘stop-gap’ measure

New Delhi: The DMK today said party chief M Karunanidhi has not yet decided on a successor to A Raja, who resigned as telecom minister, and suggested that HRD minister Kapil Sibal was given the portfolio as additional charge in a “stop-gap arrangement”.

Senior party leader and former Union minister T R Baalu, who was reportedly in the race to fill the slot of telecom minister, said it is the “prerogative of the prime minister to allot a vacant portfolio” to any of his cabinet colleagues.

“No one has any say on the issue except the prime minister. As such, our leader (M Karunanidhi) has not given any name to succeed Mr Raja to the prime minister," he told PTI here.

“It is 100% the prerogative of the prime minister to allot vacant portfolios. DMK has three cabinet slots in the UPA government and with the exit of Mr Raja, one slot is vacant," he said.

“Our leader will take a decision on the successor after consultations with senior party leaders and then convey the name to the prime minister,” he said.

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