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3G, MNP by Year-end, Promises Raja
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IT and communications minister -- A. Raja, said 3G spectrum auctions will be completed by 2009-end. Yesterday, Raja took office as ICT minister for the second consecutive term. Speaking to reporters in the capital, Raja said a lot of things needed to be ascertained regarding 3G. Currently, 3G services are being offered by MTNL and BSNL in select areas.

The minister also said mobile number portability, which allows users to switch between operators without changing numbers, would be implemented in October this year. The earlier deadline given for it was August.

Raja assured that he would also work towards extending tax benefits to IT companies under the STPI scheme. The STPI scheme will expire on March 31, 2010 and Raja said he would ask the government to further extend it by two years.

He also said the government would give a push to hardware manufacturing and manufacturing hubs would be promoted. "The semi conductor policy announced previously will continue to stay and is already attracting new proposals," he said.

Regarding the national e-governance plan, Raja said, "Within the next five years, paper-less governance will reach at least the taluka levels as part of the e-governance plan."
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