Pushing for continuity, the telecom industry body COAI has announced the re-election of Bharti Airtel's Ajai Puri as the Chairman of the association for 2021-22. Puri is at present the Chief Operating Officer (India and South Asia) of Bharti Airtel Ltd.
According to the COAI announcement, Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd President Pramod Kumar Mittal has been named the Vice Chairman of the Association.
The COAI statement said that Puri has been with Bharti Airtel since 2004, and has held several senior leadership positions including Director, Market Operations, and Director and CEO, DTH. Prior to joining Bharti Airtel, he served as the Business Head, Foods at Cargill Foods India.
“Further Mittal comes with a rich experience of 42 years in telecommunications. Before joining India's largest telecom operator, Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd as President, Mittal served in the Department of Telecommunications for over 37 years,” COAI said.
Meanwhile, the COAI Director General SP Kochhar has expressed his appreciation for Puri and Mittal's support and their leadership. “The past year has been one of the most eventful and also the most challenging for the Indian telecom industry. The AGR ruling of the Supreme Court added to the challenges posed by the pandemic, the nationwide lockdowns, and the multiple cyclones that battered India, the statement said. Despite these challenges, the industry has continued to serve the nation as an essential service,” COAI statement added.
The telecom body further said that it was optimistic about the future of the industry and the opportunities ahead, as 5G and allied technologies get closer to commercial deployment. Puri in a statement said: “The digital communications industry has once again risen to serve India and has kept the nation connected during this unprecedented phase. On behalf of the industry, I would like to reiterate our commitment to support the government's efforts to connect and digitize the country at large as we emerge from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Meanwhile, Mittal while expressing his happiness over his re-appointment as Vice Chairman, COAI said that he will continue to work with the industry to bring about the next level of reforms in order to uplift and strengthen the sector while initiating measures for the benefit of end consumers.
According to COAI Director SP Kochhar, the digital communications industry, with the support of the government, has emerged as the economic and social backbone of the nation, keeping the citizens connected and enabling the economy to function during the crisis period of Covid-19 and cyclones.
“As the industry continues to play its critical role, the future has a lot in store for us with the ecosystem gearing up for 5G. We are committed to playing an even greater role in achieving the Digital India vision,” Kochhar said.