On 13 May 1994, India presented its National Telecom Policy, heralding India's arrival on the global communications scene. In its policy document, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) recognized that improving telephone services would be crucial for the
development of the national infrastructure and to lure foreign direct investment. It also pledged to provide universal, affordable telephone services to all Indians by 1997.
At the time, India needed an estimated Rs. 23,000 crores (US$ 676 million) to bridge the gap between supply and demand, an amount that could only be raised by throwing open the doors to independent service providers, for both the basic telephone services and value-added services like cellular telephones and paging services.
To make investment attractive to private companies, the Department of Telecom promised to do away with complex licensing and other bureaucratic red-tape.
The policy also promised to inject funds into domestic research and development so that India could meet its own growing demand for telecommunications hardware and compete globally.
Unfortunately, the plan to de-regulate the Department of Telecommunications monopoly is mired in controversy. India still has a mere 10 million telephone lines for its population of over 900 million while the Telecom Policy is on hold until the 1996-97 National Budget.