In a move to alleviate rising dissatisfaction among service operators, the telecom department (DoT) is said to be working on ways to resolve the contentious issue of penalties and levies on telecom industry. The sector faces penalty to the tune of Rs 6,500 crore for various violations.
Telecom secretary MF Farooqui assured the industry that they would take careful and calibrated approach. "Penalty is an issue that needs concern," he expressed. DoT, Farooqui said, would work on rationale behind penalty and look into technical flaws and consumers' interests.
DoT is also mulling formation of appellate with absolute jurisdiction. "The department is also working on appeal mechanism so that penalties would not been seen as major liability for the industry," he informed.
Farooqui also said that Preferential Market Access (PMA) norms were not a threat but an opportunity in disguise. "It's WTO complaint, and gives opportunity to foreign companies for soft landing in India. The new framework will open up employment avenues in manufacturing vertical," he added.
COAI director general Rajan S Mathews feels that EMF (electromagnetic field) norms notified in September 1, 2012 should be circulated to state-level authorities and local bodies to escape harassment. "Penalties implied for EMF violation should be revisited. Imposing Rs 5-lac on every violation is not healthy," said Mathews.
AUSPI secretary general Ashok Sud said that the telecom industry faces Rs 6,500 crore penalty, while Rs 1,900 crore alone is for alleged flouting of EMF guidelines. "Unfortunately, 64 per cent of this is levied due to late submission of certificates," Sud added.
The industry hailed DoT's nod to allow 100 per cent FDI. "In 2012, the sector has attracted FDI worth Rs 9,000 crore. The industry, already mired in litigations and government should come together for close discussions," said ASSOCHAM president Rajkumar Dhoot.