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Odisha rejects COAI plea to include tele services in ICT policy

The state IT (information technology) department has turned down the proposal of the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), the industry body representing GSM operators, for inclusion of telecom services in the ICT (Information and Communication Technology) Policy-2014.

The association has asked the department to include the services in policy so that telecom services can be treated at par with the IT (information technology) and ITes (enabled services). COAI, which has telecom majors like Bharati Airtel, Idea Cellular, Reliance Jio Infocomm, Telewings Communications Services Pvt. Ltd, Videocon Telecom and Vodafone India Ltd as its members, is the official voice for the Indian telecom industry and interacts directly with ministries, policy makers, regulators, financial institutions and technical bodies.

The state IT department has rejected the offer of the association on the ground that the telecom services are governed by the Government of India and the state has no role in this regard.

“We have sent COAI a regret letter for its proposal to include telecom services in the state’s new ICT policy”, said a government official.

For promoting the IT/ITes and Electronic System Design and Manufacturing Sector (ESDM) companies, the new ICT policy promises host of incentives. Recently, the state government has included the ESDM industry in the lists of first schedule of Industrial Disputes Act 1947 paving way for the eligibility of ESDM units to be declared as public utility services. The industries list of the first schedule already included IT/ITes.

Similarly, the IT, ITes and ESDM units are given operational ease after a recent state government notification allowing the sector specific companies to work on a 24×7 model, in lines with commitments made in the new policy.

In its vision 2020, the policy targets to attract ten leading IT/ITes and five leading ESDM companies to the state and a gross ICT turnover (including exports of software and IT services, ESDM, domestic consumption and training) of about Rs 24,000 crores.

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