Former top bureaucrat from Odisha, Ashwini Vaishnaw on Thursday assumed charge as a new IT and Communications minister. Vaishnaw, a former 1994-batch Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer after assuming office, held his first meeting with telecom secretary Anshu Prakash and discussed priority industry issues.
Some of the immediate challenges before Vaishnaw include holding fifth-generation (5G) spectrum auctions, bringing back industry’s confidence, and clearing some of the regulator’s recommendations to improve sectoral health.
In addition, one of the peculiar challenges for him would be to keep Vodafone Idea afloat in the existing telecom landscape which is now reduced to a three-player market. Also, other key tasks for the former bureaucrat would be to revive the two state-owned ailing operators — Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) in line with the Cabinet-approved relief package approved in October 2019.
Having a diverse experience including in bureaucracy and executive leadership in multinationals, Vaishnaw, according to industry insiders is better placed to allay industry fears, and promote healthy competition amongst telecom companies.