Address at the Inauguration of by kylemangan


									                 Address at the Inauguration of
       “India Telecom 2006 – Mapping the Road Ahead”
                           New Delhi
                      14 December 2006

                    Connectivity for Billion People

                                                           “Electronic connectivity
                                                            Empowers the nation”

       I am indeed delighted to participate in the “India Telecom
2006     –   Mapping     the    Road      Ahead”       organized        by    the
Department     of    Telecommunication,           Federation       of    Indian
Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Telecom Equipment
Manufacturers Association. My greetings to the organizers,
and related planners, collaborators, manufacturers, solution
providers,     service     providers,        researchers,         specialists,
regulatory authorities, educationists, students and other
participants. Above all, I would like to congratulate the users
of   telecom    systems        for    innovative         applications        and
overwhelming        enthusiasm         to      utilize      the      available
infrastructure in the most efficient manner. Indian users have
earned us the distinction as a country with the fast growing
broadband market in the world during 2006. I would like to
share some thoughts on the topic “Connectivity for Billion

                           Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam
                                                                        Page 1/24
Enabling billions to communicate

     Out of the billion population in India, 70% live in six
hundred thousand villages. We need societal transformation
and sustainable development for growth. Telecom could
contribute   significantly   to   the   societal   transformation
particularly in the rural areas by enabling our people to
communicate and reap benefits. Till recently, benefits of
telecom revolution touched mainly the cities and towns. Now
it is time for the telecom growth to penetrate into the rural
sector to democratize access and bring happiness and
prosperity, overcoming all geographical barriers.

Broadband Economy

     Four of the top ten broadband economies of the world are
in Asia. South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore have
the distinction of achieving highest broadband household
digital connectivity index of 80% to 60%. India is lagging far
behind with very few households being digitally connected. It
appears that the above four Asian countries have excelled and
grown faster than the rest of the world because of significant
utilization of local languages in the generation of software and
content on the internet. Herein there is a significant message.
Large scale utilization of local languages will enable people to

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create content with ease and authenticity which, when shared,
will have a positive effect in the growth of economy through
the benefits of telecom revolution and related Internet and
multimedia tools. The Indian E-Governance and E-Commerce
initiatives should become the drivers for the rural population
to seek information in their local language and thus give a
push to telecom penetration in the rural areas.

World Information Society day

     As you all know, May 17 was being celebrated as the
World Telecom Day. This year, May 17 was renamed as World
Information Society Day, emphasizing the importance of
telecom in the growth of information technology and people,
particularly those who have not yet reaped the benefits of
telecom revolution in a befitting manner. I would suggest the
organizers of this meet to take a note of this dynamics in the
telecom sector as a whole.

Bandwidth as the bridge for prosperity

     The world over, in the past few decades research and
development has been focusing on increasing the bandwidth
carried by copper and fiber optic cables and wireless medium
without having to change the old cables and infrastructure.

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The Copper cables that carried a few kilo bits when they were
first introduced today can carry megabits of information as a
consequence of the digital revolution. The fiber optic cables
that carried a few megabits initially today can carry several
terabits of information with the introduction of Dense
Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM). Similar are the
trends in wireless communication. Because of this exponential
and disruptive growth in the bandwidth, we have reached a
stage where bandwidth has become abundant and one can
claim that distance has died. The world has not only become
flat but has shrunk.

Bandwidth is the bridge for prosperity

     The bandwidth is the demolisher of imbalances and a
great leveler in the knowledge society. Making the bandwidth
available is like the Government laying the roads. Movement of
materials through these roads creates wealth in the industrial
economy   and   the    government   recovers   more   than   the
investment on the roads by way taxes and enhanced
prosperity of its people. In the modern digital economy driven
by knowledge products, bits and bytes traverse the network
and create wealth and this will recover the cost of investments
in the bandwidth. Thus a singular action of making the
bandwidth available to all our people will bridge the perceived

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divide. The free bandwidth will make an economic sense if we
cost the services offered using the bandwidth.         We have the
fiber infrastructure ready up to block level, last mile wireless
technologies      are   being   implemented      and    the    VSAT
technologies for the unreachable are in place in the form of
EDUSAT and other Satellite services. Hence, we are well on
our path to bridge the gap.

       The more educated one is, the less bandwidth would be
used for communication. For example, many of us may
communicate very easily by an asynchronous text based email
system, which requires the least bandwidth. Lesser endowed
persons may require slightly higher bandwidth like for
example synchronous voice communication. A person who is
less   informed    may    require   the   high   bandwidth      video
conferencing system. In case, we are trying to be inclusive,
making the bandwidth available on demand in an unhindered
way to the rural areas would be the first action required.

Convergence in Smart devices:

       Data traffic will soon exceed voice traffic, so much so that
voice and data would merge to such an                  extent that
independent reference to voice as a communication mode may
not be relevant. India and its people should leap frog, jumping

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to the most efficient, most cost effective and most useful tools
and technologies at the earliest opportunity.

     Today’s cell phone epitomizes the convergence of many
applications. For example, the cell phone today can be used as
a simple phone for voice, has the storage for address book, it
is camera, it can be used for exchanging and viewing video, it
can be used to browse the web and download data and email,
it is multilingual, it can be sued as an MP3 music player and
as a radio and above all it can be used as an authentication
mechanism for mobile e-commerce and banking. It can
understand speech and record conversations, text and video.
This convergent device is becoming smarter by the day and
soon would be able to understand even gestures and would
present a natural interface to interact almost in a human like

     The networks are also becoming smarter and       this   has
made the distinction between various service providers thin.
For example, the cable TV operators offer telephony and
internet services and the Internet service providers are making
forays into the world of entertainment.

     The telecom is no longer the monopoly of the Government
and today we see many strong private players present. The

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Ministry of Communication and Information Technology and
the TRAI together have taken many steps that would make the
telecom and hence the access to information and opportunities
in knowledge creation becomes ever-present and equitable
touching every one both in rural and urban India. I would like
to congratulate both the Minister and his team and also the
TRAI for being part of the Developed India dream. We should
become the first nation to have the fiber to every home and
become unwired bypassing the copper and become a society
on the move with wireless broadband as the last mile and be
the hot spot for development of wireless 4G.

     With these steps, India has the potential to become the
fastest growing knowledge society. Telecom, knowledge content
and connectivity are the key elements to realize this goal.
Connecting a billion people throws up multiple challenges.

The Challenges

     a. Infrastructure programme: While there is an all
round development in telecom that will become a great reality
in India, there are two important areas that should not be
neglected particularly in a country like India. India is perhaps
the only developing country which has very mature agriculture
sector, and space, defence and atomic energy programmes. We

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can today launch any satellite in any orbit, deliver any payload
to the needed region in the world and soon can become self
sufficient in energy. The country’s vibrancy in manufacture,
research and development should be fully used to make India
truly self sufficient in telecom. The number of cell phones and
access devices, routers, switches and modems that this
country would need that too in a continuously replenishable
fashion is incentive enough to start a strong manufacturing
program in telecom. We should project a goal of 70-30 by
which more than 70 % of the telecom hardware and software
should be manufactured in India by 2010.

     b. Value-added services: The great opportunity in
telecom is in innovating value added services that run on the
telecom infrastructure. With the inherent strength of the
nation in software, this should be easy to do provided we
concentrate our energies in this direction. This is also a fertile
ground for incubating many small starts up companies and
this will be a second silicon valley – just the same way the
Internet spurred the revolution, today the wireless and the
telecom can stir another. This will be a unique experience of

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Societal transformation

       Societal transformation and economic growth are closely
interlinked. Information society with innovation as focus,
transform into knowledge society. This, in turn gives positive
impacts in agricultural society and industrial society. The
whole purpose of education in a country is to develop and
enhance     the    potential   of   our   human      resource   and
progressively transform into a knowledge society where
telecom plays an important role. The knowledge society will be
a society producing, marketing and using products and
services that are rich in both explicit and tacit knowledge,
thus    creating   value   added    products   for   national   and
international consumption. The real capital of this knowledge
society will be its knowledge components which again come
from telecom. The society will be highly networked to create
knowledge intensive environment along with enabling process
to efficiently create, share, use and protect knowledge. Our
education system should re-align itself at the earliest to meet
the needs of the present day challenges and be fully geared to
participate in the societal transformation.

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Changing Pattern of Society

     When the world was moving from the industrial to
information and knowledge era, we witnessed a changing
pattern in the sectoral share of GDP and the number of people
employed in each sector. The sectoral share of Gross Domestic
Product   (GDP)    percentage   has    undergone        a    change.
Contribution of agriculture to India’s GDP has reduced from
39% to 22% during the period 1979 to 2006.              During the
same period, contribution of manufacturing sector has moved
from 24% to 27%; whereas the contribution from services
sector has increased from 37% to 51% largely because of
telecom revolution. There has been considerable change in the
employment pattern also. The percentage of people employed
in   agriculture   has   come   down       from   64%       to   54%.
Simultaneously,    the   percentage   of    people   employed       in
manufacturing has gone up from 15% to 19% and in the
service sector from 20% to 27%, again which is because of the
impact of telecom revolution. This trend has to continue and
by 2020 our employment pattern should aim at 44% in
agriculture, 21% in manufacturing and 35% in service sectors.

     The displacement of 10% people from agriculture sector
has to be facilitated through skill enabling for undertaking
value-added tasks in the rural enterprises resulting in a self-

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sustained rural economy. PURA (Providing Urban Amenities
in Rural Areas) facilitates creation of employment in the rural
areas itself. PURA achieves this by providing physical,
electronic and knowledge connectivities to a cluster of villages
thereby leading to their economic connectivity and prosperity.
Knowledge creation and knowledge utilization is the key to the
success of a PURA programme.

Characteristics of the Knowledge economy

     I was studying different dimensions of knowledge society;
how will it be different from the Industrial Economy. In the
knowledge economy, the objective of a society changes from
fulfilling the basic needs of all round development to
empowerment.       The education system instead of going by text
book teaching will be promoted by creative, interactive self
learning – formal and informal with focus on values, merit and
quality. The workers instead of being skilled or semi-skilled
will be knowledgeable, self empowered and flexibly skilled.
The type of work instead of being structured and hardware
driven   will    be   less   structured   and   software    driven.
Management style will be delegative rather than being
directive.      Impact on environment and ecology will be
strikingly less compared to industrial economy.      Finally, the
economy will be knowledge driven.         The key infrastructure

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required for this is that of telecom and all related tools of
communications, computers and software.

Empowerment through Connectivity

     The core of empowerment for prosperity of one billion
people      is   the   connectivity   and   partnership   between
governmental and multiple institutions in the public and
private domains. The fast growing telecom economy and
infrastructure have to be the primary contributors towards
this. The strength of this partnership for collaborative growth
and economic prosperity is facilitated by free flow of knowledge
and information in a seamless manner cutting across levels
and boundaries embracing all walks of life in the three sectors
of the economy such as agriculture, manufacturing and
services.        The   communication   must    be   possible   from
everywhere to anywhere at any time.

     The inter-connectivity between these three sectors of the
economy can be brought about by a societal grid which has a
Knowledge Grid, the Rural (Seven thousand PURA) Grid,
Health Grid and the Governance Grid. Each grid is a system
of multiple portals. This system of grids will bring prosperity to
700 million people in the rural areas and 300 million plus
people in the urban areas. In the process, it will aim to uplift

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the quality of lives of 220 million people out of one billion plus

Knowledge Grid

     India is now in the process of creating virtual educational
institutions for knowledge sharing, knowledge dissemination
and knowledge reuse.      While it is known that the virtual
institutions provide us with technologies of the future and the
most economic way of scaling high quality education in the
country, they are no substitute to the campus based
education. The challenge before the educational institutions is
to provide the best of breed of both the worlds.

     The three phases of learning are the lectures, library and
laboratories. They require increasing bandwidth from a few
100’s of kilobytes for the lectures to a few megabytes for the
formal digital libraries and the informal world of knowledge
from the Internet, to gigabits of connectivity for remote
laboratories in the world of high precision science and
engineering. As the bandwidth becomes cheaper and available
in abundance, we should be able to run remote instruments
and facilities as complex as NMR to Wind tunnels. These are
applications that can make a difference in how we engage in
teaching, learning, and research in higher education.

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     Thus, the bandwidth is the demolisher of imbalances and
a great leveler in the knowledge society. We have rich
knowledge     institutions   but   what   we    have   to   add    is
connectivity. This connectivity today is technologically possible
but would need creation of high band width reliable network
infrastructure to the extent of minimum 10 Gigabits per
second all through the country to provide uniform access of
knowledge in different regions leading to the creation of
Knowledge GRID.

Health Grid

     Indian Space Research Organization through their INSAT
network has connected 25 major hospitals in the mainland.
From there they are providing telemedicine connectivity to
remote areas including our islands.            Rashtrapati Bhavan
Clinic is also connected to the CARE Hospitals Hyderabad
through telemedicine facility. The mission of telemedicine with
multiple grids is gaining momentum and it will spread to all
the equipped Primary Health Centres in the country, medical
colleges and research institutions in a time bound manner.

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e-Governance Grid

     Rashtrapati Bhavan has introduced connectivity with our
citizens, institutions, universities, government departments
and multi-lateral agencies during the last four years. For
enabling such connectivity, all the important events in which I
participate   are     brought     out    in     the    website
( immediately after the function.
Today, on an average, this website has a hit-rate of over two
hundred and fifty thousand per day. On certain special
occasion like Independence Day, Republic Day, it touches
nearly a million hits. In addition, I receive over 500 e-mails
and 500 letters on an average from various people from all
over the country and abroad. I also receive 100’s of questions
from the students and children every day. We have built in an
e-Governance system to study all the correspondence on a day
to day basis, analyze, prioritize, verify and determine the
action requirements to be taken by Rashtrapati Bhavan and
other agencies of government and the relevant institutions
both public and private. We have now established a less-
paper, dynamic and secured workflow system for the file
movements. We have a Fiber broad band POP (Point of
Presence) which can connect up to 64 Mbps. We have
established within Rashtrapati Bhavan facilities for G2G and
G2C connectivity and we are in the process of establishing the

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high bandwidth broadband VPN connectivity with Central and
State    Governments      and   other   relevant     institutions   for
seamless flow of information within the existing systems and
procedures of Governmental functioning. This will soon
become the part of the e-Governance GRID. Similar Grids are
required to be developed for connectivity amongst all the
institutions in the country. Telecom sector can act as a trigger
to achieve this goal in a cost effective manner.

Characteristics of the Rural (Seven thousand PURAs) Grid

        For providing the knowledge connectivity to the PURA
complexes, Village Knowledge Centers will act as frontline
delivery system. I visualize establishment of village knowledge
center in the Village Panchayat to empower the villagers with
the knowledge and to act as a local center for knowledge
connectivity for the villagers within the overall framework of

        Village Knowledge Center (VKC): VKC should provide
the essential data required for the targeted population such as
farmers,     fishermen,    craftsmen,     traders,     businessmen,
entrepreneurs, unemployed youth and the students. It has to
be acquired by visiting the village, talking to the rural people,
by understanding their requirement and core competence.
Providing meteorological data for both farmers and fishermen
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has to be area specific, covering say 20 or 30 villages in the
vicinity of sea coast or in the farming area. Local relevance of
information offered is essential. Users have simple needs of
information but often it is a tough problem for system
integrators because of the need of updation of data. Trained
manpower with experience have to be deployed to generate
information which can explain to the people in simple terms
the meteorological data, weather data, marketing data on
marine products,    agricultural and other rural commodities.
These data have to come from various connected institutions
which provide the service to the people on a timely basis
periodically. But the transformation of data into user friendly
information on a regular updated basis is the real challenge.
The main focus of the Village Knowledge Centre should be to
empower the youth to undertake development tasks of the
villages and establish the rural enterprises which will provide
large scale employment to the youth of the village. So, it is
essential to skill enable and knowledge enable through the
Academic institutions, industry, banking and marketing
institutions. VKC should act as a facilitator. I appreciate the
Ministry of Communication and Information Technology efforts
in establishing 100,000 Common Services Centers, which I am
sure, will become part of PURA knowledge connectivity.
Blended knowledge is a better knowledge.

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PURA Nodal Knowledge Data Centre

        Ministry of Agriculture has established KISAN Call Centre
which provides valuable and timely knowledge support to the
farmers and fishermen. Similar Domain Service Provider Call
centers are required in the field of Commerce and Industry,
Entrepreneurial      skill   Development     and    employment
generation, Travel and Tourism, Banking and Insurance,
Meteorological     forecasting,   Disaster   Warning    systems,
Education and Human Resource Development and Health

        These call centers will act as a service provider to the
PURA Nodal Knowledge Data Centers located in the PURA
Complexes, which in turn will provide the area specific and
customized knowledge to the Village Knowledge Centers in the
villages in a holistic manner. This delivery will depend on the
availability of robust connectivity to different parts of the
country. This forms the PURA GRIDs which draws information
from the other GRIDS and will act as a catalyst for the societal
transformation in the rural areas.

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Connectivities: Societal GRID

       So far we have discussed the connectivities within the
various proposed grids, that is, intra-grid connectivities.
However, to maximize the synergy between the grids, leading
to maximization of GDP and productivity, there is need for
inter-grid connectivities, which may be called as Societal Grid.
As discussed earlier, Societal Grid consists of:

  1.       Knowledge GRID – Inter connecting universities
           with socio-economic institutions, industries and
           R&D organizations.
  2.       Health Care GRID – Inter-connecting the Health
           Care institutions of Government, Corporate and
           Super specialty hospitals. Research institutions,
           educational institutions and ultimately, Pharma R &
           D institutions.
  3.       E-Governance GRID – Inter-connecting the Central
           Government and State Governments and District
           and   Block     level   offices   for   G2G   and    G2C
  4.       PURA Knowledge GRID – Connecting the PURA
           Nodal centers with the Village knowledge centres
           and Domain service providers.           Since this is the
           backbone for rural development, all other GRIDs

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            will infuse the knowledge into this GRID for
            sustainable    development,      healthcare     and      good

       The societal grid with four other grids as explained will
lead   to   economic     integration   of   the    rural   and     urban

Digital divide or digital bridge

       While   telecom    technologies      have   revolutionized      all
aspects of society: industry, business, banking, government,
judiciary, defence, education, health, agriculture, they have
also introduced certain concerns. In the last one and a half
centuries of the growth of telecom sector, and the last one
century of the growth of wireless technologies, new problems
have emerged. Some talk about digital divide and brain drain.
We should see the situation positively. Can we convert these
problems to digital bridges or digital highways and brain
gains? Already some such aspects are visible in the BPOs and
even in call centres.

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Radio frequency utilization and pollution

     There are problems related to excessive utilization of
radio or electro magnetic wave frequencies, particularly
congestion on popular frequency bands, related electro-
magnetic      interference     or   pollution   and    electro-magnetic
radiation hazards.           India has adopted some rules and
regulations to control the radio spectrum but a lot has yet to
be done. Earlier, only radio operators or radar operators were
exposed    to    significant    electromagnetic       radiation    effects,
prompting regulators to introduce legislation for location and
shielding of human beings from potential hazards. In the
recent times, increased use of mobile phones, using high
power radiation towers, has brought in suspicion among the
users about the harmful effects of electro magnetic waves,
particularly for children, senior citizens and people needing
healthcare.     There is an urgent need to evolve reasonable
standards, rules and regulations and legislations for proper
use of radio frequencies for telecom operations, including
health related restrictions and interference related measures.

Reaching the unreached

     Radio and wireless provide endless opportunities for
telecom connectivity to remote and inadequately connected

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areas. Full potential of PURA objectives cannot be realized if
some areas are left unconnected. In fact, the unconnected
villages should become the prime focus for PURA related
telecom developments. The initial revenue should not be the
consideration for providing the connectivity. It is also essential
to provide infrastructure support such as quality and
uninterrupted power supply in rural areas to make the
availability of telecom connectivity 24 X 7 without which the
benefits of telecom will not fully be realized. Provision of
connectivity is one means of increasing the usage and thereby
the revenue.     Hence, the action must be to provide the
connectivity irrespective of it present economic viability.
Provision of e-Chaupal connecting more than five thousand
villages is a good example to follow.     We can make use of
technologies available through the Department of Space for
remote area telecom connectivity.     Space provides a unique
capability to connect the entire country without any specific
advantages or disadvantages in serving any specific pockets.

Ethics in telecom and privacy

     Another area needing some assessment and debate
relates to invasion of privacy.     As you all know, telecom
technologies are capable of locating the position of the cell
phone, its utilization pattern, and the particulars of the

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contactees, leaving the individual open to avoidable exposure
and exploitation by motivated agencies. Ethics for utilization
of telecom tools and technologies also need to be evolved so
that individual privacy is not intruded upon. Although some
restrictions are in place for unsolicited telephone calls, there is
a need for more effective control mechanism.

     The telecom connectivity for one billion people must
transform into a network and provide seamless access
     •     the   knowledge     creator,   that     are    educational
           institutions, healthcare institutions, infrastructure
           providers and the Government;
     •     the   knowledge     converters    such        as   R   &   D
           institutions, public and private sector industries,
           who   transform    knowledge     into    products       and
     •     and, most importantly, the knowledge consumers,
           that are the citizens.

This should be achieved through cost effective utilization of
our telecom resources such as land lines, optical fiber
networks, switching and networking hardware and software.

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Equitable     use   of   electromagnetic   spectrum   for    wireless
telecom, in a democratic and safe way, is also very important.
We should aim that 70 % of the telecom hardware and
software should soon be manufactured in India.

      Connectivity is the key to the transformation of billion
people into members of knowledge society. Connectivity for the
billion people is the connectivity of the planet; it means we are
connecting 600,000 villages and bringing 700 million people to
the urban region of the nation (300 million people). This
experience will become the foundation for other continents.
The   major    effort    should   be   towards   making     unlimited
bandwidth available on demand for a billion people.

      With these words, I have great pleasure in inaugurating
“India Telecom-2006: Mapping the Road Ahead”. My best
wishes to all the participants of this Conference, success in
their mission of making India a prosperous, happy and a
peaceful nation through the provision of coherent connectivity
to the billion plus people.

      May God bless you.

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