Rakesh Kumar Bhatnagar has had a long association with the telecom sector, having spent over 40 years in the industry in diverse areas and functions such as technical, regulatory, finance, training, research and development, standardisation and planning.
As an ITS Group A official, he was part of DoT from 1976 to 2013, his last position being adviser, technology. He has also been associated with TRAI and has spent several years in various countries as an international expert on telecom. He has served as chairman, the International Telecommunication Union’s (ITU) project group on interconnection and worked for a few years as technical adviser to Oman’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority. In his current role as director general of Telecom Equipment & Services Export Promotion Council (TEPC), Bhatnagar provides support to the export initiatives of the telecom industry. “During the past few years, Indian telecom equipment exports have declined. The existing duty structures and limited incentives for manufacturers are the key challenges. In the past few months, we have developed projects in several African and ASEAN countries. Based on these projects, the government, in September 2016, announced a credit line of $1 billion for ASEAN countries,” he says.
To choose a single memorable assignment from an illustrious career spanning four decades is obviously not easy, and so, Bhatnagar shares a few of them: his involvement in the conceptualisation of an internet exchange 17 years back while he was at the ITU; designing of the national number plans of Mongolia, Bangladesh and Fiji; and the development of computer-aided network planning software at Beijing University of Posts and Telecom, which was later distributed as ITU’s network planning software to 23 countries in the Asia-Pacific region. “I was also involved in the finalisation of the preferential market access policy in India and the development of India EMF standards in 2012-13,” he adds.
Bhatanagar is an electrical engineer from the Delhi College of Engineering. He likes watching cricket, news and Hindi serials on TV for relaxation, and enjoys catching a movie on weekends. His family comprises his wife Mamta and their two children. “My wife has always provided excellent background support. When I was on assignments at different locations around the world, she was providing the right kind of support to our son and daughter.”s