ALSO READNo big bang sops for telcos: IMG suggests longer payment band for spectrum Report on telecom stress likely in 20 days Department of Telecom to circulate IMG draft report among stakeholders IMG proposes to conduct spectrum auction next financial year No need for big policy intervention in telecom, growth signs visible: IMG
Inter-ministerial group (IMG) Telecom Commission is scheduled to meet on Friday to discuss the recommendations of a committee on financial stress in the sector, an official source said. Besides, an amendment in the Trai Act is likely to be taken up at the meeting. "Telecom Commission will meet on September 29," an official source, who did not wish to be named, told Press Trust of India. When asked if the inter-ministerial group's recommendations on the telecom sector will be discussed, the official replied affirmatively and said there are some other important pending issues that will come up for the discussion. Another source said that the commission may discuss a proposal to amend the Trai (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) Act. In the last meeting held on September 8, the commission had postponed a decision on measures to provide relief to the stressed industry as it sought more details on some of the suggestions, including deferred spectrum payment liability. The IMG — tasked with finding a remedy to the financial difficulties of the telecom sector — had recommended that the payments for spectrum purchased in auctions be made in 16 instalments (16 years) as against the current practice of 10 years. The IMG had also favoured a cut in interest rates on penalties by switching from PLR based to MCLR based rate, which could provide relief of about two percentage points in the current situation. The Indian telecom industry, which is in the midst of an intense tariff war, owes a staggering Rs 4.6 lakh crore to various financial institutions and banks.
Old telecom operators have blamed their declining margins to tariff war triggered by entry of Reliance Jio about a year ago. The panel is likely to discuss proposed amendment in the Trai Act. The regulator last year had asked the government to amend laws to give it powers for imposing fine of up to Rs 10 crore on operators and the jail term of up to two years for their executives. The regulator had said that there was a need to protect the interest of consumers, grievance redressal and enforcement of its regulations and orders.
(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)