The National Security Council Secretariat wants to make it mandatory for Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd to invest in R&D to reduce dependence on imports and also develop a vibrant telecom products ecosystem in the country.
The NSCS is India’s apex security agency that looks into the country’s political, economic, energy and strategic security concerns.
“Telecom research efforts in India are sub-optimal and it could be considered whether expenditure on R&D could be made mandatory and eligible for tax benefits, which would be particularly relevant for public sector entities like BSNL and MTNL,” says the NSCS in a confidential note seen by ET.
A senior BSNL executive said “there is currently no compulsion on either BSNL and MTNL to spend money on product development research”.
At present, bulk of the telecom R&D activities by government entities in undertaken by Centre for Development of Telematics Ltd (C-DoT) and ITI Ltd, while the telecom department’s technical wing, the Telecom Engineering Centre (TEC) plays a coordinating role.