ABSTRACT

Ashok Desai (2007), an economist and former advisor to the Government of India on economic reforms, described the state of India’s telecommunications sector as a “placid backwater” until the 1990s. It was only when the government started to relax policies on the import of technology and capital during the reforms of 1991 that economic interest started to stream toward telecommunications. Until this point, state-owned and highly regulated monopolies governed national economic policy making. Railways, electricity, fuel, and telecommunications were held by a restrictive licensing raj, which restricted private investment. The lack of competition and powerful, politicized trade unions, Desai emphasized, was responsible for retarding the growth of telephone connectivity since market pressures were not permitted to enhance service or allow for technological innovation.