Ashwini Vaishnaw, the newly-appointed telecom minister takes charge

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Ashwini Vaishnaw took charge as new telecom minister on Thursday. Ashwini Vaishnaw is a lawmaker from Odisha and former 1994-batch Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer.

Vaishnaw held a meeting with telecom secretary Anshu Prakash after taking charge and discussed priority industry issues.

Vaishnaw will be facing some of the immediate challenges including holding fifth generation (5G) spectrum auctions, bringing back industry’s confidence, and clearing some of the regulator’s recommendations to improve sectoral health.

One of the toughest challenges for Vaishnaw would be to keep Vodafone Idea afloat in the existing telecom landscape which is now reduced to a three-player market.

One of the key tasks would also be to revive the two state-owned ailing operators – Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) in line with the Cabinet-approved relief package approved in October 2019.

Having a diverse experience including in bureaucracy and executive leadership in multinationals, Vaishnaw, according to industry insiders is better placed to allay industry fears, and promote healthy competition amongst telecom companies.

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