30. Another area of success is in the telecommunications sector. Almost all the policy measures announced in the New Telecom Policy 1999 regarding basic and cellular services, national long distance, Internet services, and corporatisation of Department of Telecom Services have been implemented. Competition is being introduced in all service segments.

31. By March 2001, overall teledensity is expected to reach 3.5 per hundred, about double the teledensity of only two years ago. Moreover, the new competition has already reduced prices for consumers. There are now almost 800,000 STD/ISD/Local booths around the country bringing telephone service within reach of almost all consumers, apart from generating considerable employment.

32. Looking ahead, having recognised the imperatives of technological change in this area, the Government proposes to introduce the Convergence Bill to cover telecommunications, information technology, and information and broadcasting sectors in an integrated manner.