New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said that connectivity in the 21st century will determine the pace of India’s progress and so it has to be modernized at every level. He was virtually addressing the silver jubilee celebrations of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India where he launched a 5G Test Bed, developed as a multi institute collaborative project by eight institutes led by IIT Madras. “Our own indigenous 5G Test Bed is a critical step in our Aatmanir Bharat in advanced and critical technology. 5G technology is also going to bring about a positive change in the country’s governance, ease of living, ease of doing business. This will boost growth in every sector, including agriculture, health, education, infrastructure and logistics,” he said. Modi said that this will also increase convenience and create many employment opportunities. Modi said that India’s telecom sector was a great example of how self-reliance and healthy competition creates a multiplier effect in society and economy. “Coming out of the of 2G era, the country has moved rapidly from 3G to 4G and now 5G and will continue to move towards 6G as well,” he said. The Prime Minister said that in the last eight years, the government has infused new energy into the telecom sector. TRAI has played a very important role in the process, he said. “The country is now moving forward with the whole of the government approach. Today, we are expanding fastest in the world in terms of tele-density and Internet users in the country. So many sectors including telecom have played a role in it,” he said. The Prime Minister said that India was the biggest phone manufacturer in the world today. “India used to rely on other countries to meet the mobile demand, now we are making new records in mobile exports. To ensure mobile phone penetration across the country, we have focused on indigenous manufacturing of mobile phones, leading to an increase from 2 to 200 units manufactured in the country.” He said the government was working on connecting every village in the country with optical fiber. “In a major milestone, broadband connectivity has reached approximately two lakh gram panchayats,” he said. The 5G Test Bed has been developed as a multi institute collaborative project by a total of eight institutes led by IIT Madras. The other institutes that participated in the project include IIT Delhi, IIT Hyderabad, IIT Bombay, IIT Kanpur, IISc Bangalore, Society for Applied Microwave Electronics Engineering and Research (SAMEER) and Centre of Excellence in Wireless Technology (CEWiT). The project has been developed at a cost of more than Rs. 220 crore. The Test Bed will enable a supportive ecosystem for Indian industry and startups which will help them validate their products, prototypes, solutions and algorithms in 5G and next generation technologies, the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.