Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Minister of State for Electronics and IT, on Wednesday, said rising prices of mobile data and devices are an impediment to the rapid spread of digitisation.
This comes in the backdrop of Bharti Airtel increasing the mobile tariff by around 57 per cent in the minimum monthly (₹155) prepaid recharge in seven circles, including Karnataka, Bihar, North East, Himachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh ( U.P. West.
“Rise in cost of data or cost of devices are of concern because they are impediments in rapid digitisation,” said Chandrasekhar on the sidelines of an event here.
He said that he is not exactly aware of the hike in mobile services rates by Airtel, and the Ministry may approach telecom regulator TRAI to examine if the hike will have a short-term or long-term impact.
Chandrasekhar said there has been an impact on prices across the world due to the Russia-Ukraine war, and the impact of data price needs to be examined.
Airtel on Wednesday has added seven more circles including Assam, Delhi, Mumbai, Jammu & Kashmir, Tamil Nadu, UP East, West Bengal and Punjab. The company is expected to roll out the same tariff plan pan India very soon.
“In line with our focus on providing better customer experience, we have discontinued the metered tariff and introduced an entry level plan of ₹155 with unlimited voice, 1GB of data and 300 SMS. Customers can now use this plan with no constraints. We believe this plan will provide greater flexibility, convenience and superior value,” said an Airtel spokesperson.
The company has stopped its minimum recharge plan of ₹99, under which it offered 200 megabyte of data and calls at the rate of 2.5 paise per second. In Haryana and Odisha, Airtel has now started offering the ₹155 plan with unlimited calling, 1 GB of data and 300 SMSes.
Meanwhile, Chandrasekhar said that the government expects five to seven countries to sign up for adopting India-developed technology platforms (Aadhaar, UPI, Digi Locker, Co-Win, GeM, GSTN) by March for accelerating digitisation.
While speaking at India Stack Developer Conference, he said that the Prime Minister has decided to offer India technology platforms to countries to help them accelerate digitization.
The government plans to reach out to several countries to offer them technology stack as part of its responsibility as G20 Presidency and expects Indian startups and system integrators to gain from the exercise.