“We welcome the budget as it is pro-investment and pro-growth. It will provide the much-needed impetus to economic growth post the pandemic and will set us on the path to becoming Atmanirbhar Bharat. However, we are a bit disappointed that concerns of the telecom sector, which is the backbone of digital India, remained unaddressed,” said Lt. Gen Dr SP Kochhar, DG, COAI.
COAI represents private telecom companies Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio and Vodafone Idea. The industry’s wishlist from the budget included reduction in licence fees (LF), removal of goods and services tax on those fees, spectrum acquisition charges and spectrum usage charges (SUC), besides a refund of input tax credits along with tax and custom duty exemptions.
“We were expecting a reduction in the burden of levies, such as LF and SUC on the telecom sector. The Government has also not considered the request of the Industry to exempt the GST from the payment of Govt Levies such as LF, SUC and spectrum installments etc.”
It further added that as the telecom operators are going to launch 5G services in the country, it is imperative that 5G enabled telecom equipment are available to them at a reasonable price. “Thus, there was the need for a reduction in customs duties on telecom equipment. It would have been a much awaited relief if the government provided the right incentives to the sector. We will continue to engage with the Government in these areas in the times to come,” added COAI’s statement.