THE Indian government will decide on granting licences to private firms for operating basic telephone services in the country within a week. 'The process of selecting the bidders is in the final stage,' R.K. Takkar, secretary at the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), told a gathering of telecom experts in New Delhi at the weekend. Mr Takkar, quoted by the Pioneer daily, said some of the bids submitted by the private firms were lower than expected and this was one of the reasons for the delay in the finalisation of the tenders. He did not specify what the government's expectations of the bids were. Mr Takkar said the government was keen to find out the viability of offers made by each company besides keeping up the deadline to provide quality service. The DoT, in its National Telecom Policy 1993, has promised telephone on demand by 1997.