Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Monday, Feb 09, 2004
Regulatory Bodies & Rulings
Info-Tech - Telecommunications
DoT to split, shed engg centre Part-merger with BSNL, standards institute planned
New Delhi , Feb. 8
WITH a view to withdrawing from all "non-policy" related activities, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) proposes to spin off the Telecom Engineering Centre (TEC) into two entities.
One entity will be merged with Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and the other will be set up as an autonomous institute to deal with all standards relating to information, communications and entertainment electronics.
At present, the TEC is a nodal agency of the DoT without whose green signal, no operator can set up a telecom network and start offering services anywhere in the country. Its primary responsibility is to harmonise the telecom networks across the country and provide the Government with technical and advisory support. It sets standards and specifications as well as evaluations of telecom equipment and services.
The centre also conducts field trials for new equipment and services, accords approvals for connectivity, equipment, technology and services, studies new technologies and gives technical advice to DoT for their introduction in the network
According to official sources, as per the proposal, the various wings of the TEC dealing with networking engineering, type approval, generic requirements etc would be merged with BSNL and the wing dealing with standards will form the nucleus of a separate standardisation body. The new institute will be named as Telecom & Multimedia Standards Institute (TMSI).
"Since more than 80 per cent of the activities of the existing TEC are operator-specific like preparation of generic requirements, issue of type approvals, helping PSUs in procurement of equipment, it is imperative that these sections get transferred to BSNL. The balance staff will remain with the new institute which will deal with standardisation, interface approvals and fundamental technical plans", they said.
The sources noted that the five regional centres of TEC at New Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Bangalore and Hyderabad and the two sub-centres at Chennai and Pune would also get merged with BSNL.
The institute, they pointed out, would be granted full autonomy on the pattern of science and technology organisations and the telecom engineers would be granted the flexibility as is available to scientists in CSIR and DRDO. It will not only set standards of networks and services but will also provide user requirement specifications for the next generation products. The other responsibilities include technical support to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India and the Telecom Disputes Settlement Appellate Tribunal.
"Funding of the TMSI will be initially by the Government. However, the institute will also draw up a business plan so that within five years, at least one third of its budget can be met from services and products that are given to the industry," they noted.
An executive director who will be drawn from the field of telecom will head the institute. His appointment will be for a term not exceeding five years and a team of directors will support him. Other human resource details would be worked out depending upon the requirements, they said.
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