On 22 March 2023, the Prime Minister(PM) Narendra Modi inaugurated India’s new International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Area office and Innovation Centre at a programme in Vigyan Bhawan, in New Delhi, Delhi.
- The PM unveiled the Bharat 6G (6th Generation) Vision Document and launched the 6G Research and development (R&D) Test Bed.
- PM also launched the ‘Call before u Dig’ App, which will reduce the instances of unnecessary digging and damage.
ITU Area office & Innovation Centre:
i.Background: In March 2022, India signed a Host Country Agreement with ITU for establishment of an area office.
- It is the United Nations’ (UN) specialized agency for information and communication technologies (ICTs).
- ITU which is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland has a network of field offices, regional Offices and area offices. It was founded in 1865 as International Telegraph Union, the ITU is the oldest existing international organisation.
iii.The uniqueness of India’s ITU Area office is, it is also envisaged to have an Innovation Centre embedded in it.
iv.The area office, which will be fully funded by India, is located on the Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DoT) building (2nd floor) at Mehrauli in New Delhi, Delhi.
v.The area office will serve India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Afghanistan and Iran, enhancing coordination among nations and fostering mutually beneficial economic cooperation in the region.
Unveiled Bharat 6G Vision Document, Launch of 6G R&D Test Bed:
i.The PM also unveiled the Bharat 6G Vision Document and launched the 6G R&D Test Bed.
ii.Bharat 6G vision document is prepared by the Technology Innovation Group on 6G (TIG-6G) that was constituted in November 2021
- TIG-6G has members from various Ministries/Departments, research and development institutions, academia, standardization bodies, Telecom Service Providers and industry to develop a roadmap and action plans for 6G in India.
iii.It will provide academic institutions, industries, start-ups, MSMEs etc. a platform to test and validate the evolving ICT technologies.
- ITU Area office will also help in creating the right environment for 6G
iv.The Bharat 6G Vision Document and 6G Test Bed will provide an enabling environment for innovation, capacity building and faster technology adoption in the country.
- The 5G service which was initiated on 1 October 2022 rolled out in more than 125 cities in just 120 days and 5G services have reached approximately 350 districts in India.
- The World Telecommunications Standardization Assembly of ITU was scheduled to be held in October 2024 in Delhi where representatives from all over the world will visit India.
- The number of internet connections in India has now reached more than 85 crores compared to 25 crores before 2014.
- The number of internet users in the villages has surpassed the urban areas indicating the reach of digital power.
- India’s broadband connectivity users increased from 60 million (before 2014) to more than 800 million (2023).
Launch of CBuD App:
i.The Call Before You Dig (CBuD) app is a tool created to prevent the damage to underlying assets like optical fiber cables.
- Due to uncoordinated digging and excavation, the optical fiber cables are getting damaged leading to loss of about Rs 3000 crore every year.
ii.The mobile app CBuD will connect excavators and asset owners through SMS/Email notifications and click to call, so that there are planned excavations in the country while ensuring the safety of underground assets.
iii.The app comes under the PM’s vision of integrated planning and coordinated implementation of infrastructure connectivity projects under PM Gati Shakti
- CBuD, which illustrates the adoption of a ‘Whole-of-Government Approach’ in the country’s governance will benefit all stakeholders by improving the ease of doing business.
- The app will save potential business loss and minimize discomfort to the citizens due to reduced disruption in essential services like road, telecom, water, gas and electricity.
Note – Around 25 lakh km of optical fiber has been laid in India by the government and private sector in the last 9 years.
i.PM conveyed his greetings for Vikram Samvat 2080, the new year of the Hindu calendar (On 22 March 2023).
ii.The PM has stated that more than 800 crore digital payments are made every month in India through UPI and more than 7 crore e-authentications take place in India every day
iii.He also mentioned that India has transferred more than 28 lakh crore rupees to the bank accounts of its citizens via Direct Benefit Transfers.
Other Participants: Union Minister for Communications, Shri Ashwini Vaishnaw, Union Minister for External Affairs, Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Union Minister of State for Communications, Shri Devusinh Chauhan and Secretary General, International Telecommunication Union, Ms Doreen-Bogdan Martin were present over the launch event.
Recent Related News:
The United Nations(UN) World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) is annually observed on 17th May to create awareness of the possibilities of the use of the Internet and other information and communication technologies (ICT) in societies and economies.
About International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
Secretary–General– Doreen Bogdan-Martin
Headquarters– Geneva, Switzerland
Member– 193 member states
It was founded in 1865 as International Telegraph Union, the ITU is the oldest existing international organisation.