5G Current Affairs - 2020

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Ministry of External Affairs creates “NEST” to increase investment coordination

The Ministry of External Affairs is to set up a new division called NEST-New and Emerging Strategic Technologies. The division will work to increase investment coordination among the states of the country and also with the foreign countries.

Highlights

The NEST will act as a nodal point to exchange views with foreign governments. This will help in confronting emerging challenges and scenarios in new technologies. With India coping with issues of security implications in 5G and artificial intelligence, NEST division will help India spread emerging technologies among the states. It will also aid in coordination among domestic ministries and departments.

The division will also hold responsibility for matters that involves negotiations with multilateral fora like United Nations, G20. This will help to safeguard India’s interests as such forums govern the rules of access to such technologies.

The Emerging Technologies

The top Emerging Technologies in India are Artificial Intelligence and Internet of things. The emerging 5G technology will improve the performance of IoT platforms.

3D printing finds its application widely in areas such as defence, aerospace, automobile, engineering and medical. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is yet another emerging technology that finds its application in supply chain management and customer services.

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BSNL Revival Plan

The Union Cabinet on October 23, 2019 approved the proposal for revival of BSNL and MTNL. It allotted the 4G spectrum to the institutions. The MTNL will act as a subsidy to BSNL. A four-step revival plan has been announced for BSNL. Also, the GoI plans to raise Rs 15,000 crore through sovereign bonds.

Significance

Both BSNL and MTNL were making losses for the state since a long time. MTNL is Mahangar Telephone Nigam Limited, a state-owned entity that provides telecom services at New Delhi and Mumbai and in Mauritius. It was founded in 1882. There are around 25,191 employees working with the company.

The BSNL loss is estimated to be around Rs 14,000 crore with a decline in revenue of Rs 19,308 crores during 2018-19. The loss of MTNL was around Rs 755 crores (in Q4, May 2019). The companies hold salary dues and pension dues for the employees. The total debts held by the companies amount to Rs 40,000 crores.

With merger under Rs 70,000 crore plan and 4G spectrum offering will help the entities in monetizing their assets. They can raise capital expenditure required to roll out the network and bring in efficiency in their operations.

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