Communications of the IIMA


This paper traces the evolution of India’s Telecommunications policies from its colonial days to the present time. The policies have undergone major shifts. During the British rule of India, the policies were strictly motivated by the colonizer’s need to control the native population. After independence, the policies were dictated by the need for self-sufficient development and Fabian socialism, which led to other problems that curtailed telecommunications growth in India. In the last decades of the twentieth century, sheer economic survival imperatives led to the gradual opening up of India to market economies. This gave impetus to accelerated growth in the telecom sector. However, while the growth of India’s telecom sector, especially the cellular telecom sector has been spectacular in the last decade, the basic question of whether it has actually achieved the avowed developmental policy objectives of the government remains in doubt. This paper seeks to critically focus on evolution of telecommunications policies in India, discuss the philosophy behind the policies, their successes and failures over the years, current trends and the future outlook for telecommunications in India.