Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said the full potential of telecommunication in enabling higher growth would not be realised until the use of telephones spread much wider in the rural economy of India as well.
"The exponential growth of the telecom sector has been primarily driven by growth in the use of telephones in urban areas," he pointed out at in his inaugural address at India Telecom 2012 here.
"While urban India has today reached a teledensity of 169 percent, the teledensity in rural India stands at only 41 percent. Not only this, the bulk of the 59 percent people who do not use phones in rural areas is perhaps from the socially and economically backward sections of our society," he said.
Dr Singh said the country must address this rural-urban divide if it had to achieve its goal of socially inclusive growth.
"Today, network coverage is there in most parts of our country and the bulk of the population is already covered. It is possible that there are economic or other barriers preventing the spread of telephone usage. There is also an economic case for investing in business at the bottom of the pyramid. I urge industry, which has shown great innovation in the telecom sector, to come up with strategies to expand teledensity in rural areas," he said.