PM Wani to create up to 30 million jobs

The Cabinet last week on Wednesday cleared the aggregator-model suggested by the telecom regulator, paving the way for new categories of public data offices (PDOs), public data office aggregators (PDOAs) and app providers to deliver public WiFi services without a licence.

PM Wani to create up to 30 million jobs

The PM Wani policy which aims to provide public WIFi hotspots by unlicensed entities will provide respite to the Covid-19-stricken market resulting in the creation of 20-30 million job opportunities in small and medium-sized sectors, said independent think tank and policy forum Broadband India Foundation (BIF).

WIFi hotspots will proliferate across the country especially in rural, remote, and unconnected areas which will fuel socio-economic growth by providing employment opportunities for small, local, and village-level entrepreneurs (VLEs), the Kirana stores, tea-shops, and others, it added.

“At the PDO, PDOA, and App Provider level, this is likely to encourage large scale entrepreneurship and innovation. Additionally, the sprawling manufacturing units which would be needed to produce the millions of Wi-Fi Access Points, are going to boost the Atma-Nirbhar mission of the Government and lead to more job creation,” said TV Ramachandran, President, BIF.

Drawing analogy to the UPI interface in digital payments, the think tank body said that the PM Wani policy would democratize the public WiFi process, facilitate 'liberalization of access', and help in expediting the achievement of the government's ‘Digital India’ and ‘Broadband for All’ objectives.

“Despite being an affordable option today, mobile data tariffs are rising continuously with media reports indicating a further 30-40% possible rise in the near future. At the same time, the demand for floor tariffs on data services by the concerned players to ensure the sustainability of operations would also increase the cost differential further. Wi-Fi hotspots would therefore continue to offer a more cost-effective option for the common man and could emerge as an affordable means for mass public connectivity,” added Ramachandran.

Cabinet clears public WiFi venture to drive broadband adoption

India’s current pan-India count of WiFi hotspots is around a meager 1 lakh, which pales in comparison to the target of 10 million hotspots by 2022 set by the National Digital Communications Policy, 2018.

The policy body further said the PM Wani initiative will further provide impetus to the local manufacturing and supply chain sectors for producing indigenous Wi-Fi equipment which will be in line with the vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat. "This will offer the potential to complement the future 5G rollout in the urban areas by offering similar services and amenities to the masses at large."