Will focus on establishing broadband highway: Prasad

New Delhi : Bharatiya Janata Party’s Ravi Shankar Prasad assumed offices as the Minister of Law and Justice and Minister of Communications and Information Technology, replacing Congress leader Kapil Sibal in both his portfolios.

He mentioned that the new government will have a big focus on establishing a “broadband highway”, give priority to Northeast states as well as give impetus for manufacturing of electronic products.

In his inaugural media briefing after assuming charge, Prasad said the new government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi will prioritise restoring investor confidence.

Prasad stressed that the retrospective decisions taken by the government in respect to investments by foreign companies have had a negative effect, and said the new government will focus on providing a stable fiscal as well as legal regime in the country.

The Indian government is currently in a tax battle with Vodafone Group Plc, wherein authorities have imposed tax claims to the tune of 200 bln rupees, arising out of the telecom company’s acquisition of Indian telecom assets of Hutchison Essar in 2007.

Vodafone had received a favourable judgement from the Supreme Court but thereafter the government had changed the tax laws with retrospective effect. Prasad also said the foreign direct investment process in telecom sector must be quickened indicating that there should not be bureaucratic hurdles in implementing the same in telecom sector.

n To restore investor confidence in sector
n FDI process in sector should be quickened
n To improve quality of services
n Want India to be hub for arbitration, conciliation
n Will look into Vodafone issue
n Law minister on Vodafone issue: Want stable fiscal, legal regime
n Retrospective taxes should be avoided

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