New Delhi: The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved a new telecom policy — National Digital Communications Policy (NDCP) 2018 — designed to provide “broadband to all”, Union Communications Minister Manoj Sinha said.

NDCP, which replaces the National Telecom Policy 2012, aims to establish a “comprehensive data protection regime for digital communications that safeguards the privacy, autonomy and choice of individuals”, according to an official statement. It also aims to ensure India’s “digital sovereignty”.

It seeks to enforce accountability through appropriate institutional mechanisms to assure citizens of safe and secure digital communications infrastructure and services, as per the statement.

The policy, aimed at providing universal availability of 50 mega bits per second (Mbps) and attracting investments worth $100 billion, was approved by the Telecom Commission in July after the government came out with a draft policy in May.

Addressing the media after the cabinet meeting, Sinha said that among other targets, the policy aims to “provide broadband to all and create 40 lakh jobs”. It also aims at providing a “ubiquitous, resilient, secure and affordable” digital communication services, he added.

Further, the policy targets to provide 1 Gbps (giga-bits per second) connectivity to all ‘gram panchayats’ by 2020 and 10 Gbps by 2022.

As per NDCP, the government would establish a National Digital Grid and also form a National Fibre Authority. It also aims to remove barriers in approvals.

It plans to propel India to the top 50 nations in the Information and Communication Technology Development Index of the International Telecommunication Union from 134 in 2017, enhancing the country’s contribution to global value chains and ensuring digital sovereignty, the minister added. The contribution of digital communications sector would be enhanced to 8 per cent from 6 per cent in 2017 as a result of the new policy, the minister said.

Further, the government plans to expand the ecosystem of Internet-of-Things (IoT) to five billion devices and facilitate India’s “effective participation” in the global digital economy.