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RE: Vamsi:knowing what we say



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[Topics under debate]: GOOD GOVERNANCE
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Dear Rajiv,

I would tend to agree with Vamsi on the telecom issue. While we have
definitely made progress on this front (particularly since the time of
the
Telecom Mission days) we have still probably the worst telecom network
of
any large nation. We still are largely driven by trunk and manual
exchanges
and have a very poor cable & connectivity network. Clearly the root
cause is
the monopoly status of DOT and VSNL both of these agencies are not only
corrupt to the bone but also very inefficient.

The whole issue of licence fees is amazing. Why should there be licence
fees
and permission requirements in the first place. Telecom is a business
like
any other. Why should the government be paid in advance for this?? Why
should the government be paid to set up gateways? This licence fee is in

addition to usage, connectivity charges that the operator pays DOT &
VSNL as
well as income tax and other taxes that the operator has to pay like any

other corporate. The ostensible reason is to invest this income for
developing the telecom infrastructure in rural areas, it is interesting
to
se how little of this money actually goes towards developing the telecom

infrastructure and how much goes towards fixing the huge deficit that
the
government tots up supporting the grossly under productive public sector
and
other wacky programs that achieve nothing.

Telecom is the key infrastructure today and if we do not fix this
quickly
and rapidly we are in trouble. China telecom, a government company by
the
way, has transformed China's telecom completely, by next year China
would be
the largest telecom network in the WORLD, bigger than the US and Japan!!
It
already has the World's largest cellphone network. Internet access is
easy,
inexpensive and very good despite most of the internet content being in
English. China is today adding close to 10 million new telephone lines
every
year!!! Has a first class fibre optic and Radio/ Microwave connectivity
throughout the country. This is because the government of China realises
the
critical importance of a good telecom network in a countries
development. It
is clearly seen in China as the number one priority from an economic
infrastructure point of view and is given a free hand as well as huge
resources.

Even small countries like Chile, Mexico & Venezuela have telecom
networks
that are of world standards. And this is mostly because this sector is
seen
clearly as a business enterprise and not the domain of the government.
Investment flows through in this sector due to this. Even Brazil which
already had a far far better telecom network than us privatised its
entire
telecom infrastructure last year. We are probably the last Large, non
communist country in the world where the government still controls this
area
and we are definitely poorer for that. If we do not fix this soon we are

certainly going to miss the Information technology bus. Which is
something
we Indians do not deserve.

Regards,

Bhuwan

-----Original Message-----
From: vamsi@siliconcorp.com [mailto:vamsi@siliconcorp.com]
Sent: Wednesday, June 23, 1999 12:56 AM
To: debate@indiapolicy.org
Subject: Re: Vamsi:knowing what we say


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[Topics under debate]: GOOD GOVERNANCE
___Help make this manifesto better, or accept it, and propagate it!___
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Rajeev Manikoth wrote:

> I would like to hear from you in detail of what your efforts to Indian

> Telecom are. Maybe I could do something here.
>

    Very good, I would be delighted if we can work together on this.
You
and
can begin communicating directly.

Oh regarding me saying anything positive about the Indian Technology
environment, I am afraid that I cannot - no matter how hard I try.  For
example, the US E-Commerce grew to $300 billion recently and India's is
yet
to
cross $1 billion.

    What we have to understand is this, the procedure required to get
clearances for Gateways is so unnecessary.  Indian companies are loosing

valuable time while their US counterparts are clearly establishing their

dominance.  This is a classical example of how India kills its own.
First,
the mental models of the law-makers have to change so that they give the

Economy a higher status (wealthier Indians = well we know what that is).

You
may think we are moving forward but I ask the important question: who
are we
comparing ourselves to?  Antarctica?

    Finally, you have totally ignored my point that unless India has a
strong
footing in 1st-tier technologies the growth in 2nd-tier technologies is
unsustainable!!  This is a very, very important issue.

    The fault is also with Indians like ourselves.  Even to this day, I
have
not seen you admit to the fact that GoI is the biggest evil that there
is
and
it no more different than the British Raj in oppressing the Indian
people!!
You have conveniently explained that once Gateway clearances are given
then
everything would change without realizing that Indian companies will be
stomped because there are many dominant forces in the area, already!  It
is
as
if we don't hold the GoI responsible for anything and the same attitude
is
reflected in the polls, as well.  Maybe, even before the law-makers
change
their mental models, we should change ours.  Praising a faulty and
highly
oppressive system is no good.  Constructive criticism would put us all
in a
better situation and might even help in creating the most powerful and
prosperous nation on the planet!!

Sincerely,
Vamsi M.





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